15/09/2014 by Siddiqui Fayesal
I have a Facebook account, a Twitter account, a Rediffmail primary email id (yes, yes. Laugh it out. You will snigger and fall off your chair when I tell you it’s my primary address), a Gmail email id, an MSN username, a yahoo chat id and innumerable email log in ids for various sites and networking portals. I’m not even getting into the potentiality of the countless chat applications and messaging services that can survive on my smart phone.
I am not a happy man, though.
This may be surprising to my ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ who measure happiness via the speed of their internet connection, the RAM of their smart phone or the frequency of their social media interaction. Of course, I’m not immune to the call of the social media. I’ve already told you how I have a Facebook and Twitter account. I’m unhappy because I’m not doing enough. I’m a fledgling among the high flyers and the ‘cool’ and the ‘happening’ crowd. Perhaps I’ve missed the train; perhaps I’m now old and I should accept that. I cannot, should not actually, be competing with the lifestyle of kids in their late teen or early tweens. Well, who am I kidding? The affliction of addiction is not restricted to only teens and tweens who were, once upon a time, a people who were directly associated with everything immature and everything fashionable and everything tangential. It’s everyone who is going for the overkill with their ubiquitous presence and the insane capacity to swallow Wikipedia and vomit it out at random intervals. Kids these days aren’t merely kids anymore. They’re a walking talking information spewing bots.
At 27 I actually do end up feeling like an old man, hating every change and looking into the future with utmost hopelessness. I have tried being one of ‘them’; one of those who toe the line to prevent being given an incredulous stare and being asked, with large eyes, if I actually have been living under a rock. It’s a race that I have tried running merely to be updated and not feel left out.
But to be honest it’s a race that I would rather not run. I don’t want to be able to read mails on the go; I don’t want to reply to messages immediately; I don’t want to know what kind of a selfie is in vogue and I really, honestly, don’t give a damn what a person on the other side of the effing globe is doing in his free time. But, of course, it’s not easy. I don’t want to be the person I’m becoming but I’m fast becoming a commodity getting obsolete so fast that is not even funny. People don’t call, they ‘whatsapp’ me. Gone are the days when a text message would suffice. Now, the days of the good old text message is over. It used to cost us nothing at a point of time; then it started costing us half a buck. With the deluge of instant messengers in the market for the smart phones it’s so cheap that it’s become stupidity NOT to use it. At a cost of around a hundred bucks you get internet connectivity which encompasses not only your text messaging but almost everything under the sun.
I am in the scope of the media and society, almost like they’re arm twisting me, forcing me into submission and making me download such apps. They tell me life will be easier. They tell me life will be smoother.
If there was something that made wasting time easier it is the internet on phones. With the desktop culture one had to ignore almost everything and sit his bums on the chair and only then could he waste time. Now, it’s all too easy. You can go ahead do stuff that you wanted and still waste time.
In my defense I do try and disentangle myself from this web of force fed messengers and pseudo important events. My email is used by me mostly for writing mail and not as a tool for log ins. Yes, surprisingly, my Rediffmail address does it just as well. I don’t really need a Gmail id, but well, I can’t deny, that this Gmail thingy makes life easy for log ins. Google has converted the web into a mass monopoly where you can do EVERYTHING with just one id. It’s a neat idea, actually. So, despite my holier-than-thou attitude I am currently in the process of trying to convince myself that shifting from Rediff to Gmail is the right move. I really don’t know if I will succeed.
I barely use Twitter. In the last one year I have used the ‘forgot password’ link at least 5 times. The good news is that WordPress allows me to directly link my blog to Facebook and Twitter. So, technically speaking, I really don’t need to remember my password to these two social media giants. I don’t particularly like Twitter and Facebook is almost like a compulsion but for the sake of my book club (which I love) I am alive there on and off.
I don’t give a shit about yahoo and msn, though. With the advent of Google do you really need something else?
The sad part is that despite someone like me who doesn’t really need (read likes) these things I’m latching on to them. I am in a love-hate relationship with these things. In the deepest recess of my heart I know I don’t really need it but apparently peer pressure is a real thing. I still do take time off and run away from the world for at least a week every few months. I switch off my internet and stay away from Facebook.
The real sad part is that it feels like an accomplishment. It should not. It should be the rule and not the other way around. I can’t find one reason that can convince me that Facebook and Whatsapp are really needed. But I still fall prey to it. It is me who is weak who succumbs to it.
Since, I’m weak I won’t blame myself so I will blame the effing Social Media.