The other day someone, a virtual stranger, invited me, via SMS, to Facebook. Why would anyone, who was not a close friend or relative, want to include my mug shot in his album? Friends and relatives had little choice in the matter . I had tried to be off from this social networking stuff . I had asked my wife, what do you post on FB ? She advised me that tell things about yourself. What sort of things: my BP, my blood sugar count and my PAN card number? I asked. But apparently it wasn’t my BP or my PAN number people wanted to know about. It seemed that on Facebook people told each other what they did each day, every day. You get wished on Birthdays by whole lot of people whom you don’t know well, they are prompted to do it. It is efficient at displaying virtual empathy.
I opened an account with Facebook and soon had 100 + friends..So many were waiting for me. I always thought I was a loner. We don’t need to gussy ourselves up. We don’t need to take baths or wear perfume or use mouthwash. You can’t smell anyone on Facebbok. Everyone is attractive, has picked a good profile pic. Dolly auntie looks so beautiful and see the comments she have made to the comments posted. I knew she had that narcissist tendency earlier – Simba, my pet dog, doesn’t like her whenever she comes to visit us as she doesn’t cuddle her, lest her hairdo becomes unkempt. Oh ! Look Pankaj had such a fabulous dinner last weekend and Anjan is in Bali. I am feeling left out. So my wife is correct that I am an extremely boring person. Are there some like me on Facebook ?
Let’s see what exciting things I did every day: Got out of bed. Went to loo. Brushed teeth. Shaved. Had shower. Went to office. Dozed at desk. Was woken by cleaning-up personnel and told to go home; I was getting in their way. Went home. Tickled Simba under chin. Simba wagged her tail. Had dinner. Went to sleep.
And by this time, I was falling asleep. Just by listening to myself telling myself what I did day in, day out. If what I did bored me to sleep, what effect would it have on others? Zombie time. But maybe people who socially networked on Facebook led more exciting lives than mine. Maybe as a matter of everyday routine they climbed mountains higher than Kilimanjaro, discovered Atlantic, or invented a Botox substitute made from 3D printing.
So then what was this social networking about if everyone who did it, did things which were as boring as everyone else’s? And then it struck me. If you were boring on your own, you were a loser. If you were boring with a whole lot of other people who were as boring as you, you weren’t a loser. You were a loafer. Only some take it too seriously. Then you have to go to FAC ( Facebook Addiction Centre).
Since I don’t have much to do, I visited this FAD Centre at Forti Hospital. There was a twenty-something man was prone on the floor, his face buried in his hands, while a curly-haired woman comforted him. “Don’t worry. It’ll be all right.” “I just don’t understand it. I thought my update was LOL-worthy, but none of my friends even clicked the ‘like’ button.” “How long has it been?” “Almost five minutes. That’s like five months in the real world.” A 36-year-old woman waited until her name was called, then followed the receptionist into the office of Dr Tehran , Facebook Addiction Counselor. “Please have a seat, Anitaji,” he said with a warm smile. “And tell me how it all started.” “Well, it’s all my sister’s fault.She sent me an invitation to join Facebook. I had never heard of Facebook before, but I thought it was something for me, because I usually have my face in a book.” “How soon were you hooked?” “Faster than you can say ‘create a profile.’ I found myself on Facebook at least eight times each day — and more times at night. Sometimes I’d wake up in the middle of the night to check it, just in case there was an update from one of my new friends in US. My husband didn’t like that. He said that friendship is a precious thing and should never be outsourced.” “What do you like most about Facebook?” “It makes me feel like I have a life. In the real world, I have only five or six friends, but on Facebook, I have 774. I’m even friends with Akshay Singh.” “Who’s he?” “I don’t know, but he’s got 6,000 friends, so he must be famous.”
“ When did Facebook become a problem ? “ “I realized it last Sunday night, when I was on Facebook and saw a message on my wall from my husband: ‘I moved out of the house five days ago. Just thought you should know.’” “What did you do?” “What else? I unfriended him of course!”