Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Fb-ing

Of late a constant thought has been hovering over me. What is the logic behind us sharing our personal and intimate happenings with the world? Be it photos or incidents or Newtonian thoughts that strike us in the most bizarre moments. And it’s not really the world – but just to our so-called friends and their friends and their friends in the bookish world of Faces!

On the face of it, it is an absolutely terrific idea to have your connections accessible in such an easy and fun manner. Contacts once made can forever be nurtured with a few clicks. You meet a random person, have a conversation, and then add them to your connections. After ages, you are instantly able to access every tiny bit of their life (Of course whatever they have shared or their friends have shared about them – which is a lot nowadays)

For instance, I was thinking of updating my profile photo on Fb. Then I thought, why am I doing this? Just to let the world know how I am looking? Nay… that’s a trite point. Is it more about showing off how young I am (Courtesy of course Photo editing tool) in spite of what the numbers read against my birthdate? But then looking young does not make me any richer or happier. Or is it just to let a friendly beep to all my “friends” saying I got something to show you- which is nothing but my photo clicked in some exotic location? Then again save the very close friends whom I am anyway in touch with, why would others be interested in knowing about how I look like? Curiosity? Frankly, beats me…

It’s a funny world we live in today. We can boast of 1000+ connections in our friends list but how many will genuinely care? That’s a clich├ęd question now! Sometimes I ask - Is caring a word stretched too far when it comes to friends? Is it being too idealistic and utopian? Is it not possible to share bonds of friendship where we don’t do anything for each other and not really care about how the lives are going but just happen to accidentally browse on each other’s lives as we scroll through the virtual “Walls”? Perhaps cross each other one fine day to shake hands or say hello? 

On the other side, what is interesting about FB is that with the zillions of multimedia content that it circulates, it creates a platform for interaction. Even with “friends” whom you are not so close with, sometimes a random video maybe a way to interact. A press of a button is maybe a way of acknowledging you exist. Perhaps a one worded comment will help establish a long lost bond again. Can we call these as modern ways of being connected with friends?

Personally, I have not been too active on Fb. When it began as a photo-sharing website, I didn’t have pics that I deemed fit to share. Then the whole effort of transferring camera pics onto the PC and then uploading it to the internet was too tiring a task for me. Most importantly, the thought of updating “What’s on your mind now” or “what am I up to now” or “Where I am checked in now” wasn’t too appealing to me. Then one day I started sharing my blog links on Fb. To my surprise, this gave my blog a phenomenal number of hits. Earlier I had only fellow bloggers to access my blogs but through FB, I was able to cater to 100 times more the crowd. I then tried my bit at the profile photo - updating it once in a while and then waiting to see the no: of likes or comments it generated. But the idea was very insipid. Even now, whenever I happen to browse Fb (which is mostly when my wife tags me over things she wants me to look into), I see a great no: of profile picture updates. The funny part is no matter how the pictures are; compliments will always flow! Perhaps it’s just humanity being nice.
Of the things that I find most intriguing is when people share pictures of their personal events. Life events, outings, and not to mention trip photos. It is amazing to see the lengths people go in order to show how splendid a trip they had with their family. How joyous and how absolutely terrific the place they visited was. Through the pictures and videos, a virtual free tour is provided to onlookers. An ad agency perhaps hit it right with a satirical ad on the whole episode where a travel agent was convincing his clients about how a virtual studio tour – photoshopped pictures, custom social media updates is a much better and cost effective way of making their trip rather than actually visit the place.

A friend of mine remarked in the early days of Fb that he finds it disgusting to share his marriage pictures on FB. His logic was simple – why would I expose my most personal life event to the general public rather than to people whom I am very close with? I found him to be extremely pre-historic then. But now with the way a picture circulates, his comments make a lot of sense. Perhaps a crude fall out of this phenomenon is when a person is no more. The first place that is scavenged is their FB wall. 
All said and done, Facebook manages to get the attention of the world with numbers that are the envy of every marketer. From retailers to researchers, everyone is present on FB. And we have no dearth of success stories of FB marketing from the most rural of world cities. It has perhaps mixed the world of business and personal, intermingled both in such intricate ways that we are at times left wondering about what really is happening and who really are we talking to?

Tomorrow is unknown. But for today, Fb reigns supreme. An invention that has created a revolution in almost every part of the world. How their whole Free basics and other virtual reality offerings play out will be interesting to watch out. As for my photo update, I guess I’ll just hold it for now! But then I’ll update with my blog link :P

1 comment:

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Entire generations thrive on the thought of wanting to check in on Facebook the places they go to (I've succumbed to the thought once). Airports and hotels are a norm that cannot be missed. You'd be crucified if you did. Pouting is a religion. Getting those likes, or the quest for those likes can make empty sleepless nights.

And here's something; At a certain 'gathering' with a strict dress-code, about 20 guests are seated facing each other and the meal is served while polite conversations are ongoing. The food is an absolute head turner - compelling enough to prompt more than a dozen of them to whip out their phones, click pictures, apply the right filters and ........post them online!

Sigh!