There are gripes about how Facebook has turned ‘to friend’ into a verb and within the social media land, it’s become a passive act. I don’t know about surveys or studies being conducted by reputed universities on the fallacies of Facebook friendship. So, one can’t say that my simple ruminations provide greatest insight about social networking. If I ask myself: ‘what’s Facebook?’ the answer would waver between ‘playground for narcissists, trolls’ to ‘ sharing of ideas’ to ‘meeting place for like-minded individuals’. Yes, the answer differs based upon the acquaintances I have made. A ‘friend’ is important in all our lives. It used to mean old school or college mates or supportive colleagues, but now it also includes complete strangers. Yes, some of these strangers turn out to have great, humble heart & mind with whom we can develop friendship, in the truest sense. But, still the word ‘Facebook friend’ or ‘social media friend’ isn’t devoid of its flimsiest nature.
Are we confusing acquaintance with that of friendship? We have plenty of acquaintances in our day-to-day physical life. To be truthful acquaintances (at least for me) are just some passersby. We know them and express a hint of sympathy when something bad has happened in their life and go on totally forget about this person. In social media, superficiality is added to acquaintances, and voila! They have become close friends. Of course, not every friendship in the digital scape is superficial. I have certainly gained quite a few friends, known only through social media, with whom I happen to engage in deep, profound talks. People might say that your Facebook friends won’t empathize with you when you are facing a crisis in real life. To which I want to say, ‘even friends we meet often, sometimes don’t care what the heck happens to us. So, why lament over the numbness of a Facebook friend?’
I have just 200+ friends in Facebook and at least 170 persons I have met in real life or had a face-to-face conversation. But, apart from the strangers who had transformed into a good friend, there are quite a few people who share the same tag ‘friend’. Sometimes I used to wonder why I accepted the ‘friend requests’. I would certainly have a reason to send ‘friend requests’ or accept them (like the ones who share my passionate love for cinema). Nevertheless, when I sent a simple ‘hi’ to this stranger on ‘fb friends’ list, more often than not , there would be no reply. The ones who reply would feel reluctant to chat with a complete stranger. Yes, it is understandable to feel reluctant to chat with a complete stranger. But then all I want to ask is ‘why the hell do you send or accept friend requests?’ (I don’t think any person who is constantly using Facebook is busy all the time). I am eager to add some great persons with a busy social life as a ‘friend’ to just gain knowledge from the things they share. But most of the social media patrons think they have a cracked the key to a fulfilling life by sending ‘friend requests’ in all directions.
It’s like a competition where they think someone would say ‘Oh God! Look at the no. of Facebook friends! What a great life, heart &mind this guy/girl should have’. At times, I think that there’s an answer to why people send or accept friend requests from complete strangers without caring who they are or what they do. May be it’s all about gaining the ‘likes’ or promoting something. I often hear that people are driven to jealousy and depression by Facebook friend’s bragging about his/her awesome life. It is so stupid to feel depressed over such a trivial thing. As I said Facebook is the recreation spot for narcissists, who masquerade their lousy parts of life and only embellish the charming aspects of life. Everyone on this planet must have felt the tedium of the routine life. So, it’s abominable to feel jealous over someone’s decorated ‘wall’. And, I’d humbly ask the narcissists or the ones who feel a craving need to take dozen selfies a day or the ones who feel the constant need to even update their ‘feelings’: to not put out a twisted mirror image of your life (you might be even doing it unconsciously). True nihilist, Tyler Durden of “Fight Club” would simply say: “You are not your selfies. You are not your check-ins. You are not the facebook-induced thoughts. You are the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world” (of course, it is their life and they are free to do whatever they want).
Yes, I do believe that social media connection could result in meaningful friendship and true sharing of ideas, but we should be aware of crossing a thin line and not get trapped among the circus of social media, which is riddled with jugglers of different kind.