Unfortunate victims of globalization that we all are, it has made us part ways, relocate and consequently misplace our bonds that we nurtured at some point of time in our lives. Staying in touch with the silver age ones, reconnecting with the golden ones and building brand new sparkling ones gave birth to a few web-based social communication mediums about less than a decade back. These networking portals enabled people establish “connections” with others, not in a professional setting like LinkedIn, but strictly on a personal level – where a membership into the social system would enable us to find others with the end result to maybe regain a once but forgotten golden bond.
Social networks were gaining their well deserved attention and then came a time around seven years back, when I was pestered by my friends to join yet another social media site – Facebook – a Harvard university bi-product. How I was dreading dislodging myself from my cozy little world that I had created in Google’s Orkut and debuting in a brand new social cosmos. Sadly, Orkut never seemed to gain any momentum apart from India and Brazil (but who was I interacting with anyway?) My initial notion of Facebook was that it was primarily designed for college going kids and I was technically and unfortunately too old for it. But social pressure makes one succumb to whims of others, and I hesitantly hooked myself into it. The transaction was a bit difficult and I clearly remember saying that I find it cumbersome to use! Now I laugh at myself as I remember my confused state – that too coming from a Masters in Computer Sciences. Well, when was the new ever easy to adapt to?
The way Facebook infected the world is another story all together. Old and young, village and city, remote countries and developed: it knocked on everyone’s door; it touched everyone’s heart. The world got connected, started feeling even smaller. I reestablished my old-but-gold contacts, reconnected with relations that were a no-no otherwise. I built brand new and ever-lasting social and real friendships. Facebook totally won over my heart!
There was some initial reluctance in sharing personal information and photographs and I clearly remember how we all were apprehensive in putting our picture even as the profile pic. Gradually we all overcame the unwillingness as a society and embraced the unfamiliar uneasy public social life.
Comfort and ease settled in and made us genuinely accustomed to our newfangled lifestyle on Facebook. We were literally living Facebook in the moment. Every happy detail of our personal lives was being readily logged and shared to the vast kingdom of followers we had assembled. Traveling through it became an exercise in virtual reality. We got to visit places that we had either just dreamed of or had never ever thought about. Facebook was doing a better job selling tourism than a Lonely Planet or Costco Travels could ever imagine.
Buying a brand new wardrobe every so often, and then photographing oneself in it became a dire necessity as the photo shoot would eventually be shared. How could we “post” without the “pose”? All of us regular folk became celebrities and our photo shoots were no less than a session for Vogue. The ordinaries starting looking extra-ordinary, the already beautiful became the prettiest damsels in town. Only the geeks were left behind – but they inherited the world anyway.
The notion of expressing ourselves and consequently being noticed by others was novel, exciting, and like a drug. The explosion of mobile devices all over the world propelled Facebook’s exponential growth further. The ease of accessing it anytime, anywhere made Facebook a wondrous miracle better than sliced bread.
Facebook gave us all a unified mission, a sole purpose, a deep narcissistic desire to login into our computer systems first thing every day. The red-flashing-notification-number on messages or comments started giving us an ecstatic kick. A new message flashing was far more exciting than any email we had ever received. Pouring comments and Likes on posts were way more ego boosting than any honest verbal appraisal.
Our phones in our hands and our Facebook app on our phone we ventured into the real world donning virtual rose (or blue) colored glasses. Who needed to talk to the person right next to them when we had our friends waiting for us on the other side of the under-sea link. Life suddenly became so satisfyingly purposeful. Facebook had created a euphoric la-la land for a billion of us around the world.