The Nasty Effect Of Facebook Overload

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's funny how familar faces become disconcertingly foreign while foreign faces appear to gradually ease into the mould of the mind's familiar territory.

With the advent of social media - and the hype of Facebook - and the whole trumpeting of every mundane, obnoxious and sometimes, at times, worth-sharing news online, it is hard to ignore these silent (yet noisy look/listen-to-me-oriented) status updates and comments as they jump right in our faces.

I used to like, or maybe that's too strong a word, let's change that to - not mind, Facebook, but now it simple gets on my nerve. I'm not the only one as far as that is concerned.

You know how sometimes it's noisy out in public places say, at the train station, and the only way to drown out the loud buzz that big crowds bring, is by zoning out, which we do almost automatically - well on Facebook, you can't do that, no sir. While you're logged on, you can't un-read what you've read. You can't un-see what you think you saw.

It's a bloody contest with people attempting to state something smart that could be mildly amusing if it's done face to face when you get to read their facial expression even as they say something so completely annoying, but delivered in a funny tone. Not on Facebook, you don't get that. It's too easy to get put-off by words even when they come from people you naturally like in real life because you don't know if it's a joke or that your friend is trying to be smart, while failing miserably and not knowing it, because its got 'ten likes'. Yikes!

By logging on, I feel like I am entering the realm of homo sapiens' extreme daily soap opera that will never let up. No season finale, this time. It's on-going, till their hands and eyes fall out. And also things that I don't usually know or want to know about someone because I don't live in the dark corners of their skulls, are suddenly out there in the open. No filters. Sharing is caring, why not share everything, right? No. It's weird and it makes me mad. And I have made a point (for my own sanity) to never to log on during specific times of the month when it's too easy to make mountains out of molehills.

In the days prior to this social media frenzy, there's at least room for people that we like, to act crazy in the safe distance, far far away from our instant knowledge, that somehow allows space for friendships or connections to bloom in real life. Now with everyone mindlessly updating their statuses a gazillion times per day, day in day out, it gets sadly challenging. So instead of the last memory being a good one that you share with them, it is now easily tarnished by the last abhorrent line(s) they leave on the busy traffic of Fakebook 'news' feed.

Instead of connecting, you feel like disconnecting, remotely far away from these people, within seconds of reading some really cringe-worthy comments/status updates that you wish you had missed.

People are not perfect. I'm not saying everyone should please me, me me. No. It's just the case of too much exposure on stuff that I'd rather not know about. I'm not perfect and my statuses and comments will reveal the idiosyncratic bits of my mind. But I am not spamming nonsense 24/7 and I'd like to believe that there's a fudged line between tasteful and tasteless. Okay, that was a joke. There's no such line. We're all of that's good and ugly.

I wonder if any of you have experienced a state of dissonance that comes from reading stuff off Facebook, particularly from your real life friends. I think there's something to be acknowledged from this overly self-focused sharing of tidbits of info that can be a liability to our actual connections with people. No one wants to know every lifeless details of your 24 hours unless you're a real-life celeb or something. Scratch celebs. Insert Terrence McKenna or Sam Harris.

There's a nice quote about social media that tells of the irony regarding the role that it purportedly plays, that instead of getting closer with those who are already closest to us (in real life), we become more connected with those who are at a distance (or virtual friends who don't need to see the full version of us spread all out in flesh). I'm paraphrasing, but that's the essence of what it'd meant to say. There's some real hard truth in that, for me. What about you?

P.S. This piece was made with no ill-intent towards Zuckerberg, at all. In fact, I kind of admire the guy.

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shanaz@RS | 3:18 AM | Labels:

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