Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Facebook Fear

I was always wary of opening my facebook account. In the beginning it used to make me dizzy with all its many requests for friends and people saying some cool stuff in their statuses and walls (I still haven't figured out what's what) and putting up pictures of their cool lives. I had just about figured out what to do to accept friends requests - and there were a myriad other features that were bombarded on me. Games like Farmville where everybody sent me all sorts of requests, likes and dislikes, comments and pictures and videos, everyone's private information and sometimes my own was there without me knowing it. People tagged me here and there, on pictures and slogans I did not subscribe to, and it all stressed me out.

In the second phase I got wary of random people suddenly popping up and saying Hi and starting a conversation with me. There I was, harmlessly accepting a friend or checking out his profile or figuring out if we had any friends in common, and someone I do not remember (I'd need to research my list of friends to find out whee they come from) would start a random conversation. I am old fashioned and go in a gradual way from the Hellos to the Good Byes. I carefully answer and ask questions, do not use abbreviations and do not know how to end conversations I did not want in the first place. It took me a while to develop the hide of a rhino and quietly log off while the other person was still going on about something. Obviously no one cares if you are there or not.

In this third phase I have more serious problems and I am really scared to open my facebook account. There is an amazing amount of crazy stuff that people have got hold of and are sharing with everyone. I have not seen such traumatic pictures, videos and messages and thoughts in any other medium as I have seen here. All disguised as well meaning or intelligent threads of information that we all need to know. Gory shots of accidents, heads split open, blood flowing on the road (Unbelievable accident, share), pictures of people who committed suicide and hanging on trees (please don't do this for love), babies grotesquely deformed due to some dreadful disease (share if you care for the babies), some political statements that are totally outlandish as the one glorifying Godse - could be Hitler or a Bin Laden next, health warnings with pictures, doomsday warnings, factually incorrect information and quotes - the list is endless. This page of horrors frightens me most these days and I really pray and hope that I don't happen to glimpse any of these when I open my facebook page. I do that rarely anyway.

One reason why it bothers me is that even discounting the many unknown 'friends' that I have, there are many known ones who choose to show their dark sides and their ignorance and stupidity on facebook. Not to say that facebook is all bad. I love the rare good message, the joke, the funny video, the popular song, the motivational speech, the original idea, the interesting fact and I share it. But I absolutely detest this nonsense which forms a good part of the page these days and spoils the entire day or week. I have unfriended some rather radical 'friends' quietly and have identified many more. But even to unfriend I have no courage because someone might spring a surprise picture of someone blown to bits in an explosion, a dead mother under a landslide or some such.

I guess it all boils down to my 'friends'. I truly deserve what I get because of my 'friends'. And then I think of the wisdom of the fine quote that says 'who needs enemies when we have facebook friends'.

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