Monday, March 30, 2009
Facebook...an alternate reality?
People are constantly looking for some sort of change. Some place, time or environment that takes them away from their everyday routine of life. A place where they feel important, cared about, loved and heard. A place where opinions and feelings are shared without fear of reprise, personal moments made universal without fear of being over-publicized, a place where friends and people can be explored with minimal interaction, and perhaps in the process explore oneself.
Some people resort to drugs. Drugs offer an alternate reality, a world within this world where everything feels pleasant, care-free life, elevated perception, eccentric interactions, a sense of elation and freedom.
Facebook has offered an alternate life to normal individuals allowing them to be "famous". Shared status, news and pictures are plastered on a hundred walls, you're famous by choice and you get to choose what to post and what to withhold. Facebook has created an alternate medium that is by far unconventional, it challenges emailing, chatting, blogging, even calling on the phone. It's like a super-image & sound-embedded-conference calling-real-time-syndicated multipurpose email! It's got it all. People are not only sharing their own news, news from around the world is also shared using Facebook.
Facebook has become a medium where a heavy user, like myself, indulges in some sort of an alternate world. I am communicating with friends who I didn't necessarily know that well when I actually knew them in person. I'm discovering also that many of these friends are rather interesting and outspoken. I have a total of 327 friends, spanning across a geographical area that is literally equal to the World! I know what they like, love, hate, feel like, live for, live by, and listen to. I know what they did last weekend even though they live thousands of miles away. I know their relationship or marital status, who they hang out with, who they have a crush on, what is their favorite drink, which country they visited or like to visit and what their interests are. The amount of information that is so readily made available on Facebook is astonishing. And I'm sure many of you would be lying if you say that you're not interested or you don't care to know.
Here's when you know that you are actually living in an alternate world when you engage Facebook:
1. When you interact with your Facebook friends more than you interact with the ones who live next door!
2. When you get all the gossip about your friends or friends of friends from Facebook and not from the daily call with your best friend.
3. When you know that your friend is attending an event in town through Facebook and decide to meet up there using Facebook to communicate.
4. When the first thing that comes to your mind when you take pictures in an outing, is which ones will be posted on your Facebook profile the next day.
5. When you get more Facebook notifications and messages than personal emails on your usual hotmail/yahoo/gmail client.
6. When the first thing that knows how you feel is Facebook!
7. When you believe and fight for a cause and you dedicate all your energy in that fight doing it through Facebook.
Even in politics, some parties are calling for strikes or demonstrations using Facebook, utilizing its reach to get the message through. Obama has a Facebook page which he extensively used during his campaign to promote his presidency bid. He still uses it today to get the people's backing to his plans and ideas. Does Obama live in an alternate reality? No, but at least he acknowledged that some people do, and he reached out to them through what seems to be their only means of communication!
Can you think of more? Now tell me, which reality do you live in? :)