Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My date with Facebook


“I have wished you a Happy Birthday. Did you not see it on your wall?”
This was my brother-in-law (cousin!) from Philadelphia. How did he reach my wall in Bangalore and why deface my wall to remind me of the passing of another of my dwindling stock of years?
“Your wall on Facebook!”
Ah! In the bygone years, I had suddenly acquired something called a Facebook page, of which I knew for the first time when I started getting ‘Friend’ requests in my mail. I have always been moved by the fact that people wanted to make friends with me and, thus, had acceded to every single one of them – which was about my only activity on Facebook. It will always be a mystery to me as to how I got a Facebook page in the first place considering that I had never shopped for one in my life. One of the unfathomable mysteries of the online world!
I felt impelled to see what Facebook was all about. After all, I could not let someone, a decade-and-a-half my senior, upstage me!
“I had a great upma today for breakfast”
Who was this Varun and why did he think that I was spending sleepless nights worrying about what he had for breakfast and whether he liked it? I racked my brains and only ended up developing a dizzy feeling north of my neck. I proceeded to read the comments and found myself deeper and deeper at sea. “Reminds me of my mother’s upma” said one. Was the mere mention of the dish sufficient to send the commenter into transports of reminiscence about good old Mom’s upma or was there something – what was it that the youth keep talking about? Apps, or some such thing – that actually transmitted the smell and taste of the upma Varun had?
 “I love aloo parantha for breakfast” said another.  Ah! Well! Precisely what Varun wanted to know, I suppose, but why tell the world? Information to all potential hosts? I scanned through the rest of the comments but when it got to a link that lead me to a post comparing upma, aloo poha and paranthas as breakfast foods, complete with nutritional details and health hazards, I gave up. I was well in over my head and did not know swimming.
I could have pressed the Like button to register my presence, I suppose, but I did not know whether that meant that I liked Varun or I liked the upma or whether I liked Varun enjoying his upma. Not knowing Varun or the upma was a grave handicap in choosing to ‘Like’ it, so I played it safe and skipped to the next message.
“I just love this Avril Lavigne song” was the next one, complete with a link to Youtube.
Who was this Shilpa and who was Avril Lavigne? A scan through the comments intensified the rotary motion of the insides of my head. So many singers in the world and I had not heard of even one. I clicked on the link and found that I could not ‘Like’ the song! When had I become so hide-bound in my musical tastes that I had ended up preferring the songs of my youth, much like I used to blame my parents of being when I was young? I sighed feeling unutterably weary and feeling every one of my forty-nine years in my bones.
Could I add a comment, at least, even if I could not ‘Like’ it? Much as I would have liked to I had a faint suspicion that a comment about how much I liked Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi in Carnatic music would not be a welcome addition to the feast of reason here. Regretfully I passed on to the next message.
“I am feeling blue today”
Really? Having never noticed the existence of Akash, I could not bring myself to care deeply about what color of the rainbow he felt on any given day. I went over to the comments to see if I could add to the gems of wisdom there. They ranged from a curious “Why?” to the scintillatingly original “Cheer up!” to the companionable “I am feeling blue too”. This last, I think, would have cheered up Akash no end. After all, misery loves company and when you are in good company you cannot help cheer up, can you?
But, wait! Twenty-seven people ‘Liked’ this? And they called themselves ‘Friends’? I had always thought of people who rejoiced in my misery as enemies! Apparently, now, people who liked the fact that you were miserable are friends and people who do not like the fact that you are miserable are not! Never had the generation gap yawned wider than now! This very thought made me feel gloomy and the only thing that stopped me from plunging into the depths of despair was the fact that forty-five people would, probably, ‘Like’ it!
I wearily switched off the PC, tottered to my feet and groped for the walking stick that I never possessed but desperately wanted then. One minor brush with Zuckerberg’s world had left me feeling aged and decrepit. I do not think that I can survive another!

26 comments:

  1. oh, even i feel the generation gap too. cheer up, clicked the like button :D

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    1. Ha! Ha! So you are feeling blue, too?:)

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  2. loved it. i can identify with much of the post, in spite of using the social networks quite widely myself. i worry a lot about the future especially when i see what the younger generation is doing on facebook, these are the people who will be leaders of society two decades from now. maybe we will see passionate speeches and social appeals or government ordinances written in the style of facebook status updates. roflmao gtg cul8r.

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    1. The lawyers will have a field day with such ordinances:):)

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  3. Dear Suresh,

    Quite a few Tamil blogeers, in their extra 'josh', translate Facebook as 'mugap puththagam' or 'muganool'!

    So far, I have steered clear of Facebook or Orkut!

    Bye!

    Cinema Virumbi
    http://cinemavirumbi.blogspot.in

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    1. My FB exposure is limited to letting networked blogs post links to my posts on FB.

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  4. Hahaha, I can so relate to u man.. I once saw a guy who pinged that he was just going to the loo and will be back in 10.. think that kinda did it fr me n ever since I stopped updating random nonsense on fb :)

    But yet, I still post enuff stuff tht a lot of people still call as 'junk' :D

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    1. It is not merely what gets posted but the sheer volume of msg.s per diem that undoes me:)

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  5. Making friends was never this easy. All I have to do is stalk people and send them moony messages. If they refuse to respond,I can always poke them. Plus its a great place to show that you care -just click like, okay!

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    1. Quite Purba! To think of all the things one ends up 'Liking'

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  6. We should be thankful to Facebook for pulling away some of the epics like “I had a great upma today for breakfast” from being a popular blogpost, although there is no guarantee they will not go ahead and blog about it as well. I was disappointed you did not submit it for the 'Internet is Fun' category!

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  7. :):) I did not think it was quite what Vodafone wanted there:)

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  8. FB is the place where everyone is interested in what everyone else is doing and they call old women as being nosy and gossipy! However. unless you have all those likes and comments, you can never become a popular cyber person or blogger. I agree with Umashankar. This would have made a great entry to the contest. And it is not about the benefits of internet. If it is not too late, do submit it.

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    1. Accounts for the fact that I am not popular, I suppose. I'd rather believe that it is so than to admit that I don't write well enough to be popular:):) And, yes, it is too late for the contest.

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  9. Great post. You made my morning :)

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  10. You are posting this too late, Suresh. You have already been assimilated into the Facebook fold.

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    1. Don;t I know it? :) This one was an old post and posted in the days when I was not :)

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  11. Now this post is too late as you are a FB veteran now ;-) but hilarious nonetheless.

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  12. Suresh, I too like upma and all the rainbow colors :D

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    1. I like Upma too but being on FB has still not enabled me to enjoy an upma that someone is eating 300 KMs away :)

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