So here’s the thing… You’ve got an internet connection. Everyone knows you have the ability to discover and explore websites and their material. There’s all sort of stuff out there! Especially hidden in the darker corners of internet. Yes I’m talking about all those photoshopped Nicholas Cage memes. You find something cool or funny, you share it; it may be something funny, an article, news or a quotation with ambiguous references that you want your friends to know about. Totally makes sense.
But then statuses and tweets turned in 160 lettered rants full of exaggerated opinions which are usually copy-pasted or rephrased versions of something they read. I mean, you know shit’s gotten real when a Facebook status shows the “…see more” option. You don’t have that liberty on Twitter so Hashtags and emojis are abused upto the extent of atrocity, raping grammar in the process.
Usually people do this for the sake of being a part of some mainstream trend or “social media approval”. This is no different from that awkward kid at school trying to convince the other kids that they’re cool. But goddammit the amount of people posting absolutely stupid stuff online, trying so hard to be philosophical or funny for the sake of social media popularity, is too damn high!
Yes, I contradict with my own words and I am posting this long-ass rant on my blog. I shan’t even defend myself because when I speak about others, I openly admit I am a part of the whole frenzy too. So what is my point? I need to let it out. Why? Because I can’t post much on my personal social media website…
Welcome to the other side of virtual popularity!
I am thankful to Mr. Zuckerberg for the platform he’s given us regardless it’s controversial policies (privacy settings; get your shit together!) The problem is, unless and until you change your name to something like “Angel Sweet” or “Attitude Pwince” (I actually saw someone with the name “Red Apple”) most probably people who know your name will find you and add you! (Ahh Liam Neeson, you great SoB) That’s basically the point of such social media websites, right? Realistically you cannot contact each and every person you know. So it’s convenient to just browse your newsfeed and see what they’re up to, right? WRONG!
Those check-ins are to remind you how deprived you are. It’s a way of rubbing it in your face that hey, I bet you can’t get yo’ ass even near this place/event, eh? Oh and thank you for also reminding us that not all of us are able to take a half-decent picture. If only a donation would be made for every pout, this world would be a better place! When it’s not a selfie, it’s a picture of whatever that person is eating. Bro, I’m broke. I can’t afford going to that popular fast food place every weekend. But I’m happy with my massar ki daal, achaar aur chaawal. For not every day is a shaljam gosht day! (Hashtag Say Yes To Bhindi!)
I know there are moments of pride and happiness are definitely worth sharing. They definitely make your friends and family happy. People might even be inspired by your narcissism. But sometimes we don’t realize what sort of impact, positive or negative, it may have on the other person. I’m talking to all them people getting engaged, married and having kids! I am as happy for you as I am sad for myself.
Here’s the thing, respected monsieur/mademoiselle… Everyone’s got their own life to deal with. Some people have more opportunities and moments to share. For others, this is a constant source of catharsis. But honey, you’re driving us crazy! Seriously! And I won’t even bother to comment on your post for the following reasons:
- People on social media are easily offended
- Probably someone from your friends list is randomly going to send me a friendship request
- Comment wars are directly proportional to the rise in one’s blood pressure
On one hand there’s plagiarism of other’s ideas, pictures and article, then there’s thirty feet of shit and then there’s pseudo-intellectuals/liberals with an identity crisis updating their statuses. Do not get me wrong, I really respect those people who genuinely vocalize their opinions on social media with good content but I’m sorry to say that posers are successfully drowning your voice with their arguments for the sake of arguments. Mostly the debates online are like ego-defensive bullies trying to punch people in the face via their wifi connection. We’re not arguing for an outcome or a solution, we’re arguing to prove that we’re superior and the other is inferior.
What about those people who can’t or choose not to be a part of the social media frenzy. If someone reserves their judgment does not mean they ignore things or they’re dumb. Economy of words does not entail scarcity of ideas. People need to know that it is okay not to be a part of mainstream trends and do what everyone else’s doing just for the sake of it! Just because one is unable to advertise himself on social media, does it make him any less talented? Maybe not. But it does become an automatic disadvantage as compared to those who use social media as a promotional tool.
I thought running a Facebook page for the stuff I write would be a good idea. It wasn’t. I wasn’t virtually apt enough to constantly post things and badger my friendslist with shameless promotion, even though in real life I am fairly good at social interactions. With the passage of time, I felt like I was writing for the sake of likes or virtual approval. We all want that self-esteem boost, right? Maybe. But unfortunately I couldn’t and I’m okay with that.
Sometimes, a page of a website or blog or an account on some social media website gets more recognition than the actual person. Often and a lot, these websites tend to gain popularity on the basis of the material they share instead of the institution or idea they represent. Platforms like tumblr, pintrest and 9gag are social media sites that particularly aim to serve the purpose of sharing the things you like. You’re able to share whatever the hell you want without your mom knowing. You can “fraandship” with people who share common interests ranging from a heart-warming story to extremely disturbing fan fiction, memes to tutorials, whatever floats your boat.
Unfortunately, we’re unable to draw a line. Is it that difficult to use a website for the purpose it was created? No it is not. I’ve got people from my family added on my personal social media accounts, senior colleagues/teachers, people I know from my social activities and events to old classfellows, school fellows and acquaintances etc. They all are NOT the same to me even though they’re all a part of one list called my friends list. I cannot share the same things with my colleagues that I share with my close friends. My social event buddies might know things my classmates don’t. I try to share things but believe it or not online messes permeate offline too. If I got a dollar for every time someone confronted me about my online presence in an offline situation, I’d definitely have gone back to Minnesota by now. But at least the website serves the purpose of being a unified platform where I can easily contact my “friends” whenever wanted or needed.
So, is virtual social media popularity actually worth the hype? Is a major online following worth creating a gulf between your online presence and your life offline? Or does online popularity equate offline popularity? Is it justified to lead two different lives? Is it healthy or hazardous? Don’t give me that clichéd answer that it depends on the user and how they use social media because they’re downright boring.