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Monday, 23 January 2012

Facebook comments

Facebook comments

Today was a beautiful day - less traffic on the roads, clear skies and beautiful music on the radio. Shattering the bliss, a very enthusiastic radio jockey warned her listeners to drive carefully, do office chores carefully and to not 'waste' time on Facebook (fb). Since when did radio channels hire nannies for office-going adults? I changed to another channel that just played good music.

This article is not only for radio jockeys who say what they please, but many others who make anti-fb comments. Some think it’s fashionable to say ‘Oh! How I hate fb though I have an account’. Then there are some who have no idea what facebook is actually all about, but still may have an account. There are also some who keep everything an open book, giving a prospective employer a chance to peep in.

Pardon me if you are one of those passive facebookers who do not trust your fb contacts or do not reveal your regular selves through fb updates. We can categorise passive facebookers into those who are genuinely not social enough to see the need to network on Facebook, and the ones who want the world to believe they have no time, inclination or the need to record their moods/thoughts/events through status updates but keep a watchful eye on you anyway. These also include fb-voyeurs who have a ball scanning their friends’ pictures or tracking their updates only to generate negative gossip about what they found on everybody’s ‘wall’. Some of them don’t even spare ‘friends of friends’. They love jumping from one profile to the other. I call them fb profile jumpers. I confess this plays on my mind when not-so-close associates send me a ‘friend request’.

In my experience, Facebook is very helpful on a daily basis. It lets me stay updated with regular news feeds from various sources – local and international. As a journalist it’s quite handy when I need a reference or contact and sometimes, with the help of proactive friends, a story is done in a matter of minutes. Facebook is truly a friendly cousin of Google. It is important to understand its intelligent and logical applications before getting judgemental about anybody’s Facebook presence.

Like with everything else, an addiction to Facebook can be bad. I know of working parents who unwind by playing games on Facebook after work and ask their children to order takeaways. I know of young teens obsessed with changing profile pictures all day when they are on study leave. Even some supposedly mature friends are obsessed with their Facebook profile pictures, even when on a supposedly relaxing getaway.

Similarly, fb can be an obsession if you are unable to meet work deadlines and are found ‘wasting’ time on Facebook. But some people are irresponsible, whether or not they are on Facebook.

I confess having eavesdropped on a conversation at the office pantry between two fb users. They were gossipping about a common fb friend who posts 'such weird' updates all day. As I headed to the coffee machine they continued making comments such as ‘some people have nothing better to do in life than update their status every now and then’, ‘fb is such a pest’, ‘such a waste of time’ and so on.

Usually I don’t join such groups but this time my curiosity got the better of me and I asked who they were talking about. The fb users felt threatened for no reason and made a hasty escape. Maybe they were just having an innocent conversation and I was being silly.

My question is this, if somebody is updating their status every now and then, what are you doing keeping track? Stalking them? If I were like one of them I could have said something about having work to do unlike some people who have fun on fb all the time. But I am not malicious. And neither am I confused when I give a thumbs-up to acknowledge what I ‘like’ or post a :) on fb or otherwise.

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