My facebook notification buzz on my phone can often give a bee a run for its honey. Hour after hour, day after day, my phone blows up. I crib about it to friends and often whine at its annoyance. Every so often I’ll shut off all notification but within agonizing 20 minutes tops, I turn them back on and again my cycle begins.
There is no dearth of criticism of and for social media; twitter, tumblr, facebook, instagram and the whole horde of other sites that even I can’t keep track of. Yet we cling to them, every day, every hour. Come exams we deactivate for a few days and are back then to present ourselves, our best selves to the world. Profile pictures carefully chosen, ‘crazy’ photos picked and snarky, witty statuses updated and with every extra ‘like’, are ready to take on the world.
But are we? Are we truly ready to take on a world, a virtual world armed only with insecurity and vulnerability? Our guards are constantly being challenged and everything we think we have portrayed to the world is under the radar, our nerves constantly tied and our hearts awaiting validation. Are we aware of what we’ve gotten into? Have we figured out the extent of damage our portrayals are doing to us?
Picking out pieces of ourselves and having ourselves validated by those pieces, those perfect, ‘fun’ pieces. Have we begun to believe that that is all we are? Those perfect selected pieces? To pick pieces for a virtual world and then to try to live up to them in the real world. We have become so used to the idea of our social self, our ‘facebook’ self, that now our basic human emotions are lost in transition and we ourselves have made a consciously, structurally created a little hell for ourselves.
With every clever status, pretty profile picture, and glamorous life achievement, we may have lost our silly voices, the bad hair days and the forgotten the struggle to achieve those achievements which we so easily add to facebook. We’ve set standards for ourselves that not only defy who we are but also accentuate everything we are not.
With every passing day, a part of me wants to get smarter, pick a better filter, to think of a wittier come back, to be more socially ‘liked’ and with that a part of me, the genuine, possessive, silly part of me tries to hide. But alas! The hidden can only hide, when sought.
When they are not sought, they creep up and suddenly I’m looking at my facebook wall and with over 700 friends I still have no one to call when my mean self is berating me for my grades. I have made such a strong social self, so unbreakable, so achieved, so perfect that now, when my other pieces start to line themselves in my life, I’m staring into an abyss. For what is done in my virtual world cannot be undone, and what is happening in my real world cannot be disclosed. So now, unlike yesterday and the day before, when phone calls were cool, and conversations real, I stare at my 700 friends and 21 online friends unable to call even one.