Blog | Let’s all die on Facebook

1363034792403414A few weeks ago, in the middle of the night, my sound sleep was disturbed by an urgent phone call from my friend who needed my help to overcome a serious issue! Well, long ago, some guy did say that “A friend in need is a friend indeed”. However, I would like to point out that the guy forgot to mention the criteria for a situation to be a called ‘need’….. for one thing, falling short of points on Farmville at midnight is not a need at all. At least, to most of the sane minds.

So, there was my friend asking him to donate some points to his farmer crusade he had been raging against his forty or so friends on the Facebook game. Irritated as I was, I tried to bend him around saying I am not involved with Farmville, which was when he excitedly stated he had already sent me an invitation. “All so convenient!”, I thought.

Open your Facebook homepage and you cannot escape half of the updates about your dearest friends who have either planted 100-something bushes in their Farmville fields; or have sent across 20-something gifts on Mafia Wars (another troubling menace). And those that have managed to steer clear of these twin charms, are either busy in some challenge, contest, quiz or comparison!

Gone are the days when socialising was done in college streets and favourate local hangouts. Today you have everyone on their virtual social groups meeting their animated friends online. Students take internet connections, spend long hours at stretch and stay indoors on Facebook forever to find out how lucky they have been today and how bored they will be tomorrow! Ridiculous! I say, you are young and energetic; connected to everything powerful on the web while you pay for the connection and yet you are sprawled on the bed logged into some social bandwagon trying to find what your luck meter says? Even if the reading is 98%, I beg to differ!

While in te recent years, online chatting had gripped every other brain that wanted some presence (whoever and at times ‘whatever’ that may be!) on the other end of the IM line, the good news is, the chato-mania is ending. The bad news is that they are moving to sites like Facebook and Orkut.

While, on one hand, these websites have brought people from far off lands together and have clubbed remote potentials in one grip; on the other hand, it is depriving people, especially students from something very vital – “real” life. You are met with raised eyebrows and gaping expressions if you do not have an online social account today. While if you have managed to gather 600 plus friends and appear in the updates every single day, you are an instant social celebrity!

But how do you know if someone (including yourself!) is addicted to FB? While interests and addictions range from a variety of articles and over a variety of time and exposure, there are som general ‘symptoms’ of such passionate addicts. Addicts of these online charmers lose sleep to stay logged in. They ignore work and academics in favour of online pleasures. Some even re-fall in love with old flames they had crushes on! Addicts will also be seen typing “www.faceb….” as soon as you give them a computer or a mobile phone connected to the internet.

Their moods and interests will be reflected in their latest status messages which they will update at least thrice a day (on an average, so to speak ). And that is not the end of it! Beware of these individuals who might also coax everyone around them to join them on these websites….. but why?? Aren’t these people already around you?? Dah!

While boyfriends complain of being ingored because of Facebook and girlfriends keep a constant vigil on the online friends of the guys, believe it or not, there have been instances of break-ups and ruined marriages because of these social networks. How is that for some reality check? So much so, that there are actual psychological conditions like FAD (Facebook Addiction Disorder: too addicted to avoid FB) and AFA (Avoidance Facebook Addiction : addicted to avoiding FB) that have been coined in relevance to the growing addiction. A real account that I stumbled on the internet while researching for this piece reads “I was doing MS for 3 years…on FB for 1 month…cancel it all…addiction takes over your relationships and everything that was once important in your life. It’s very unhealthy. It’s like a drug. No lie. I went through it and I’m slowly and finally getting out of “rehab” after canceling for 3 months now.. Now my house is nice and spotless like it once were, my family and fiance gets more time with me then ever and our relationship is so much better again! More face to face friendships than “fake” meaningless ones.”

Young minds, that have the potential to shape the fortunes of the world are now trapped in the net of Facebook, either updating pictures or gathering gifts! And then we talk about the power of the youth! How about we start treating this addiction and get out of it right now! Also, the first thing in doing this will be admitting, that in one way or the other, you are addicted to Facebook!  I shared this article with my friend. And he instantly denied his addiction. What followed this was something I had never anticipated. He dragged me to his computer and showed me the result of a test called “How addicted you are to Facebook?” Interestingly, his result read “Not at all addicted”.

Even more interestingly, the test was taken on Facebook itself. 

I rest my case.