I cannot sleep. Something gnaws at the periphery of my conscience. I take a stab at that insect, try to clap it to death – but it evades my grip. It sticks its poison in many different places. Here I am, attempting to address the different areas of concern, but scratching only on the surface.
As much as I hate to admit it, this devil goes by one name: Facebook. Surely we are near the limit of the timeline of our universe, yet this one website steals so much from our time-scarce generation. Every spare second, minute, hour is sucked into this virtual oblivion – yet it all comes to naught. And in most times as I have just come to realise, not even for that fleeting jump of joy – not anymore.
It used to be (mostly) pure, harmless fun; a portal to catch up with old friends, share school jokes, poke fun at our teachers, even a bite at that juicy fruit of gossip now and then.
Yet it has for me now, transformed into something of a hypocritical haven, where the myriad of online ‘religious scholars’ sprout holy verses sporadically, armchair ‘saints’ produce hackneyed ahadith that they use to pierce everyone and everything they see with their contemptuous ‘sacro-arrows’.
If, in the past, I could draw a distinct line between the beneficial/harmless and the less-desirable elements, I can no longer limit the latter to skimpy outfits and outrageous narcissism.
In a treacherous way, pure religious advice has been fused with almost blasphemous exhibitionism, giving birth to a ‘Battle of the Egos’, disguised as scholarly debate.
Everyone on Facebook comprehends that whatever is typed will undoubtedly be read; that fact alone halves any initial sincerity one might have had. Any leftover honesty would have had its privacy breached by the staggering array of friends; anything else is warped to a certain degree.
I am increasingly repulsed by what I see. It is now tougher to find any form of joy – fleeting or permanent, benevolent or malevolent. Therein lies only gloomy and depressing reads, pictures, expressions, reactions, comments.
For that reason I am counting down the days before I take a big step towards banishing this contemporary thief of time and faith.
– 16 June 2010
FB-free 7 and a half months on and I never looked back.
Every single time I hear the onset of gossip stemming from the latest update on Facebook – who said what about who and who’s with who and who isn’t anymore etc – I shrug it off with a smile and walk away.
Deleting Facebook brought about a much better change in my life than I had anticipated. Hours from my daily life are better spent, and I am frequently spared from finding out about irrelevant social controversies, nor tending to my farm or beating up an offline mafia. I keep in touch with close companions through my mobile, and more distant acquaintances when necessary.
The disadvantages of deleting FB that I envisaged did not surface. As I have come to realise, FB is not always a convenient way to update everyone in your life. You don’t always want to tell the whole world that you’ve just been promoted, and you might not want your whole company to get updates on your private life – someone in your family just passed away, or gave birth, or got married. It takes too much time and effort to think about who might take each piece of input adversely, blocking out that person/making sure he or she doesn’t find out about it, perhaps going to the extent of explaining that your latest status update was not sarcastically meant to hurt/insult/compare against that person. If you weigh the consequences of every word you post, you might find that you might not update anything at all.
Maybe it’s a nice platform to share pictures. They say a picture tells a thousand words, but it might just be that 500 of which convey the wrong story. And what of your recent birthday party to the one you forgot to invite, or left out due to spatial constraints?
If all the above were of any convenience, it is just insulting to mass-invite/inform contacts about your big day, as much as it is of no value to remember another’s birthday through the FB reminders. The niqab-donning narcissist’s hundred poses leave us all baffled. The bully throwing insults from behind his flat-screen monitor is only as fearsome as a spoon, and the photogenic’s date is in for a rude shock.
I’ve searched and browsed high and low for Facebookers who use the platform for a good cause, but they are few and far in between. Perhaps the enterprising from amongst us may reap the benefits in paper. Then again, the Social Networking label would be more aptly changed to Corporate Networking.