Friday, June 27, 2014

Facebook: Why we love that virtual reality

Once my mother said wryly, “How many times are you going to self-advertise yourself?”  

Self-advertisement. That’s the phrase she uses when I upload ‘selfie’ on Facebook and get likes and

I feel bad for sometime then shrug that off my mind, as most of us do to our mothers’ comments.  Later when I contemplate on her statement, I realize that she had a valid point  (as all mothers always have).
We’ve plunged into the social networking sites like Orkut and Facebook without even giving second thought to how they were going to impact our lives. Well, this is common human tendency. We like new experiments more when there is no apparent harm involved in experimenting.

If I consider myself as a sample of facebook addict, I’ll give following reasons behind my addictions:

  1. Facebook/Orkut gave my old school/college buddies back. I was so excited to find them online! This is how it started. (Find friends!)
  2. I understood that I can say it, then and there and people will listen to what I say, even though they may not bother or intentionally doing so. (Status updates. It always wants to know what’s on my mind.)
  3. I can ‘show-it-off’! Happy glimpses of my life, better portraits of me. (Share photos/videos)
    I do not blame myself for doing this. Even our elder generation used to do that without online social networking. Remember Durga Puja, marriages, annaprashan and all other important social and family gatherings where they used to share happy stories of their lives, flaunt sarees and jewelries, men would talk about their promotions and overseas travels and properties and grades and percentages acquired by their offspring!  Not to mention the difference between their societal masks and individual truths.
  4. The eternal curiosity to know about how life is treating others in my circle. And where do I stand in the society.

For me, the facebook addiction started with these major four reasons. It went beyond real life to really impactful virtual life. I could share my views to much bigger audience. I would share my blog posts and my budding interest in photography would need Facebook likes to motivate me further.

Then  Mark Zuckerberg kept giving us reasons, which were good and bad at the same time, appealing more to the darker side of the self.   Anyone can reach out to anyone, open and close groups, pages, chats! It became an actual platform to befriend the less-known or completely unknown.  You just needed to have similar kind of interests and intentions, to be precise.

Like television, social networking sites have negative impacts too.  We all are well-aware of that.  Like the joy of watching a cinema, in our virtual life, we tend to look for things that we may not have in real life.
Yes, we fake it on Facebook.  More than we can fake it in our real social circles, we have the facility of faking more on Facebook, depending on how talented and creative we are.  If we are not faking, we are victimized by fakers who fake identities, personalities, emotions, realities and a lot of things… possibilities are infinite.  

This virtual emotional or intellectual play is far more interesting than real life. When we start interacting with the unknown people, without any real life contact, we open up without fear. Without the fear of being recognized, or questioned, judged or even caught. Then again, we can say, the possibilities between two people become infinite in such given conditions. Anything can happen over a Facbook chat! Well, who can say no to this?

It’s like living a dream. What we cannot achieve in real life, we reach out to that in our virtual life. And so the intensity is stronger, like an addiction. Even when you know, you cannot control. And even when you control, it relapses, like any other addiction. This addiction gives you happiness. Happiness is what everyone is looking for.

Mark Zukerberg has an amazing understanding of human psychology.  He got the nerve of  us and banking on it. His account can never run dry.  We think we are using Facebook, but rather Facebook is using us as data bank, selling our very personal information to businesses.

We know it all, but cannot do without the virtual reality which is way too interesting than our personal life.  The possibilities on Facebook are infinite…so!


  1. I couldn't agree more. I use Facebook and am addicted to it for the exact same reasons, in the exact same order.

    And btw, love the pseudonym. Kalamwali bai indeed!


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