I am the sort of person who is in and out of Facebook. It’s a love and hate relationship I have with FB and I blow hot and cool according to whom I meet there.
I like the intellectual companionship I get there, the introduction to new books, places, music and thoughts, and at times discussions on current issues. I am there as a part of my profession as a journalist, so personal interactions are limited to those I do know personally, like family, or school friends who suddenly popped back into my days through the FB window, or even neighbours. Often, FB serves as a reminder for birthdays, informer of bad or good news, like someone passing away or someone getting married or someone becoming a parent.
Once in a while I get into a vicious circle where intentional stupidity irritates me, and over the years, (not so many, I have been on FB only since about three years) I have learned not to react, not to expose my persona’s ugly potholes. Still, the more your number of friends, the more statuses one has to wade through to get to a wall post that makes you sigh and say ‘ahhh, here’s my world’. The others, you tolerate on most days and unsubscribe on the odd day you are bounced off the rocks.
Relationships have blossomed or dried up or soured through Facebook. There is this friend who was quite a companion when we were in Delhi; I just discovered that her companionship is not so enjoyable once we talk to her more. This was after I shifted to my home town and reconnected with her on FB. As a person, she doesn’t like to be contradicted, and she takes comments on her statuses she posts rather personally.
On the other hand, there is this neighbour of mine with whom I was on just nodding terms, and didn’t know any more about her, I discovered that she has a wonderful sense of humour and a heavenly taste for music. I still don’t drop into her house or anything, but our interactions on FB have ensured that we do more than nod and smile when we meet on the street.
Then there are the celebrity Facebookers, who are there just for the adulation, and applause. They could be stars of the local scene, sometimes appears on TV, or publishes a sorry poem once in a while, or be one of those miserable failures on the silver screen. Nevertheless, they all pole vault into celebrity status, and soon graduate into fan pages, Facebook does not allow more than 5000 ‘friends’. Once you have more than the specified number of friends, you have to open a different account or better still, open a fan page which has no limits.
There are others whom you meet casually on the virtual street, a hi or good morning on the cyber highway will keep the relationship in place. But at a time when you least expect, like when someone at home needs a kidney of a certain donor group, or you want a particular medicine which is not available in your country, these friends prove a god-send. You understand why the Almighty has prompted you to keep in touch with this apparently low profile guy.
There are others who arrive in intellectual splendour, and post stuff left and right which makes you drop everything else and buzz around their page. On a bright day, the person approaches you with a request to ‘read’ something or ‘like’ something, which comes from their pen. And thereon starts the hidden drama. You end up unfriending the person or resign yourself to be the silent sufferer.
Then there are the ‘braggers’ , Mommy types, Daddy types, son-daughter, brother-sister types, they have wonderful families who put up class progress reports of their 7 year olds, you tubes of err..GRRReat singing, tap dancing and so on. Oh, yes the shouters-from-the-roof-tops too.
There is someone I know who poses in a different coloured dress and matches the background with suitable natural scenery, of course you always get to see the photograph. I am guilty of ALL the above crimes, but I go easy, and not too often. 😀
Drama queens are the worst lot. I say queen, because gender apart, it’s a very feminine drama they enact on their sufferings. One particular drama queen I met is the sort who likes to slander people. These folks collect stuff about you through fond messages, even calls you across the globe, and then one fine morning, they drop you like a hot potato. The next you see is a status message, sometimes even Facebook Notes (longish status messages) that has lifted parts of your conversation with the person over the years. Once I watched one FB friend do this to others, I have been very careful about messages, but what has been done is done… your past can always catch up with you.
I leave you with that thought, and tell me, what has been your Facebook experience?
(27 June 2012)
Suneetha is a writer by passion, profession and hobby. She writes fiction in English, poetry in her native tongue Malayalam and journalistic features in both. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org