Thursday, December 2, 2010

To Social Addicts, with Love

All instances mentioned in this post are based on real people (whom I have met in the journey of my life) and there is nothing fictional about it. This post is not for those of you who are die-hard fans of networking and are living your lives through the much talked about web pages on the Internet. If you know how to live your life with a pinch of salt and can manage to look at its farcical aspects then you can enjoy the pricks and thorns attached with this post albeit in a good humor – Read, compare and laugh at yourself!

Dear Faceple & Tweeple,

Hope you are enjoying the dynamic life of your metaphysical electronic world and sharing some very insightful thoughts with its not-so-connected real section. I have always admired the unceasing enthusiasm with which you live and spread your infectious effervescence while clocking the time.

From past few days I have not being feeling well and I blame it all on you. With your unfading energy and much happening life my enthusiasm and optimism levels seems to have fallen below the quintessential mark and hence it’s now that I have decided to pour out some of my precious and highly confidential thoughts before you.

I have often wondered about the almost mass hysterical impact created by certain sudden phenomenal things in life. It seems as though we have all been born on earth with a single minded dedication to endorse that thing and eat, sleep and drink it with every passing moment of our life.

Few days back I was asked by a very dear friend of mine, via an email, if I was enjoying a good health or not. After my assurance that I was hale and hearty I became curious to know what made him worry about my health and his plain and unpretentious reply came as “You have not been active on Facebook for a while so I was wondering if you have fallen sick!”.

Someone had once said that the world is shrinking, but who knew that the wide network of webs will act as catalyst in further hastening this process. There are millions of websites on Internet today and now almost every tom-dick-harry can boast of a web page belonging to him and her!

I was under the impression that social networking sites were meant for connecting with our friends and keeping the concept of “keep-in-touch” alive in a less formal manner. But I was hopelessly wrong. My silly brain did not know that these websites are more casual form of “Aaj Tak” and need reporting of everything I do or think in my day – or I would be categorized as either orthodox, introvert, antisocial or a distasteful combination of all.

In your world one’s degree of affability is measured against how many friends you have on Facebook or how many people are following you on Twitter, whether you actually possess a charming personality with a pleasant demeanor is of course entirely immaterial. Suddenly the whole equation of relationships gets changed measured by your status on these websites. If you are seeing someone but are projected as single on Facebook, then it is only a matter of time when your love life would either get exposed to the world through some highly excited (read: bean spiller!) friend of yours or it would succumb to its natural death due to your inability to accept it in the public (so would your partner feel).

Don’t you dare think that this networking bug has infected only our social life. While Facebook and Twitter rule the roost in our social circles the corporate world isn’t far from being sabotaged. LinkedIn has opened up platform for people to display their professional credentials, achievements and aspirations in full public glare. For centuries what was considered personal and confidential is now being flaunted with a dash of arrogance. This website also allows you to massage your ego by showing off the recommendations from your colleagues, clients and bosses! Whether you are actually hard worker with passion to learn new things and are also focused and detailed oriented is again reduced to the puny status. Your recruiters are happy as long as their senses are cajoled with your recommendations oozing perfection (read: manipulations).

Some nincompoops are so smitten by social media that a day or two away from these would certainly put them on life saving ventilators. At times it becomes difficult to figure out whether people are actually dumb or are simply unaware of the absence of other people’s interest in their life. How else would you explain situations where they blurt out every single thought cropping up in their minds or slap every picture of their holidays and vacations on our face! I don’t care whether you went to Honolulu or Bermuda triangle with your girlfriend or bought a sexy dress at discounted price from DFO or had a new hair cut. How on earth would your home grown tomatoes or garden peas stir up my soul when a picture of your latest tequila shots in some glitzy pub could not invigorate my mind to say the least?

It is quite amusing when people report every breath that they take on such websites and then cry foul about the privacy issues haunting them. Gone are the good old days when mails or even emails formed the basis for exchanging pleasantries and a phone call would just be a gratifying event. If you have not wished your friends on their birthdays, anniversaries, promotions and weddings on these sites then you certainly don’t care for them! So what if you wished them in person, a public display of affection is a must to reaffirm your continuity in that relationship.

How much is too much is yet to be defined for majority of us especially for the class of people who aren’t yet clear about the boundaries of networking and bombarding!

While I am confident that the population from my part of the world would continue to drift towards your part, I am also hoping that few crazy souls from your world would get some sanity into their heads and join our side of the world to echo my sentiments and prevent the concept of real from blurring into surreal.

Look forward to hear from you soon (not immediately).

Yours Sincerely,
Reaple (Real People)


  1. Ok, posting this immediately.
    I defo agree with you that the social networking sites has infected most of them on the internet. I couldn't agree more with you when you say "In your world one’s degree of affability is measured against how many friends you have on Facebook or how many people are following you on Twitter".Putting out each and everything that just crosses ones mind is IMO silly. The infected ones post an update saying "Oops I ran out of toilet paper".

    However, sometimes the social media will help people in establishing a community itself. Corporates usually have a twitter account through which they would like to communicate news\releases, or a news channel reporting something that might be of your interest.

    A few set of link minded people would actually love to hear what their friends are upto. A trip, a job change or a relationship status update certainly let others know what you have been upto these days. However, this doesn't mean one should poll for these updates continuously. If you observe the social media is very catchy and people have the tendency to get attracted to something new. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are one of it's kind and people do find it fun. There were days when none of these existed, and at that time people were used to send letters, then came the email, chat, online gaming and what not. This is how communication has evolved. All n all I would like to conclude this little post of mine with "great post beta :), keep it up".

  2. I would like to say that I am one those active faceple that you have talked about in the post and I certainly agree to what you have said, its mere 'ADDICTION'.

    It took me a while to realise that and I have started to remove few things to make my life more personal then a public affair :)

    However, I also feel its a great platform to keep in touch with those friends whom you had lost touch with and never in your life would have dreamt of meeting them for that matter your family members too. Its good to see pictures of those loved ones, their updates on their lives, etc. But certainly there are people who have added each other for mere information. This I consider is nuisance.

    I guess its about perception and about the way you look at it. If used properely, its a great platform for expressing yourself and knowing about others (Close circle) but one should not misuse or overuse it for other purposes like most of the people do.

    All in all its a beautiful way of putting across your opinion. Loved every bit of it Maddy...

    keep up the good work...


  3. A candid Piece!!!
    Some hard facts mixed with Some strong opinions;

    I liked it a lot. Thoroughly enjoyed!!!

    Imagine, having a "like" button for blogs. A click and Over. Coming soon from GOOGLE :-)

    I guess , we all would like to hear more from you (Would be happier, if its immediate)

  4. I am proud to confess that I am a heavy user of FB not an addict yet and I just love FB...also that I am now outside of India its a great way to being in touch with friends...and I have a huge network so its impossible to be in touch over the phone with each othewr all the time...

    plus one cant talk to everybody at one go...things like Twitter & FB have made it easy for us...

    and Blogspot is one of them...where you write so often !!! so you are also one of cant talk to everybody abt ur thoughts thats why you blog...isnt it ???

    I have regained contact with so many lost & old friends, have made so many new friends...infact strangers have become amazing buddies of mine through FB due to common interests...

    I know it has its pitfalls, one which comes to my mind immediately is forgetting birthdays and depending on FB reminders...and if somebody hasnt listed his/her birthdate then forgetting it all-together....and it happened just recently with us...

    now to LinkedIn, being a recruiter myself I have made immense use of it and have hired some key leadership candidates through its help...its a free tool to hire...and believe me some recommendations really matter...not all but yes some of them are vital for us recruiters and we give them weight...

    I know my better half is a FB-Hater & I am sure I wont be able to convince her but yes for me I love FB and would keep at it !!!

    You keep writing...and cheers to life...


  5. Dear All,

    Thank you so much for sharing your valuable inputs with me on this post. It's always enlightening to know the other side of the picture :)

    While the positive impact of online world cannot be gainsayed, it is fun to view it from the eye hole of the opposite door too..
    Like I wrote in the disclaimer this post is ONLY about those people who are obsessed with networking websites and do not draw a line between sharing and reporting. While those who use these sites for their right purposes (networking and connecting)are hopes for existence of the face-face interactions :)

    And JJ, as you rightly pointed out that I too am a big fan of online websites, I am more than happy to be a part of this community as long as the world does not get a peek of my life on hourly basis...lastly but not most importantly this post is written in a good and light humor, so guys put down your glasses and just share of moment of laughter with the world :-)

  6. Oops! I meant lastly but most importantly... Ignore the word NOT guys :)