In a world full of Attention Deficits from all of us, it is not surprising that platforms like Facebook and Twitter, where the updates remain in the view for just so long as they aren’t pushed by new ones into relative oblivion – are the most powerful world-wide.
Not so long ago, there was a time when stamp collections or scrap books, or photo albums which adorned our shelves were our greatest possession. They were passed from one generation to another. And prized for their age.
There was a time, when Mom’s lemon pickle would be kept for 10 years to mature and then used, not just as an aside for your dish, but also as a remedy. That was the time before fast food became sine qua non.
In those days, when a cup of tea was to be enjoyed slowly and not rushed as Starbucks is so capable of – there were shops for Samosas – like one on Delhi’s Panchkuyian Road – where three generations were served the same amazing taste even after 50 years. Without any formal or institutionalized “standardization”. Such maintenance of taste and quality was not the work of a machine – like McD’s or KFC’s – but of human skill and training. More importantly, out of a sense of service and love.
In such a world, how does one get a sense of grounding?
From just a few friends, we suddenly have hundreds and thousands of contacts and followers, even fans!, now. But the lack of sense of grounding seems to increase even more. If the relationships with a few brought out the shallow-ness of the every relation, now that shallow-ness simply gets multiplied.
Earlier, when your dearest friend forgot your birthday and was apologetic because he was busy, you knew it was genuine. Now, there is no chance of that genuine behavior. His Facebook wall will tell him even when he forgets. And even he doesn’t care anymore. He knows his lack of interest in you will never be found out.
The systemic memory has proliferated lack of human interest.
Whatever is true of your friend is equally true of you.
In such an asylum of shallow-ness, we all hang on to the virtual threads to prop us. It is in such a climate, a close friend of mine chose to shut her Facebook account down. She decided that she was spending too much time on things that were not material in the end, and not spending enough time with herself.
I have had this urge as well. But Facebook and other Social Media works for me in many other endeavors, which are important to me. Or maybe I am not as brave as my friend.
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