I am off FB these days. I do this every few months (every time with a plan to never activate my account again!). The obvious reason being that I become an addict and it saps a lot of my time and energy. Therefore, when few days back I got an article from Husband in Wassap, about Spring cleaning, I deactivated my account as part of the cleaning to clear some mind space and wasteful activities from my day. It’s a big relief. Not having to see random updates on your timeline about who is eating what, travelling where, buying house, reproducing etc etc, prevents the mind from being clogged with unnecessary things. I had removed the app from my phone long time back, but since I am in front of my system most of the time as part of my work, I could never keep away from it for a long time. There are few things though for which it is useful these days- like Kavya’s playschool pics are uploaded on the school FB page. I think last time also I logged back in because of that only. One day I decided that I will remove people from my friends list, who are not my “friends”. Then I will have hardly 10 people left in my list, and with them I can stay connected over phone or mails. Is there any value add with being connected to 500+ people, who are nothing but mere acquaintances? There are some, who I can no more even place. I do not know how I know them, and how they came into my friends list at the first place!! But when I see pics of their wedding or their Holi celebration, I am sometimes tempted to click on the pictures and waste few precious minutes, and many times even make myself feel miserable, thinking how amazing other people’s lives are.
Anyway, so the point is, that what is the actual purpose of these platforms like FB? To stay connected? With whom? Hundreds of people whom I hardly know on a personal level. I would want to be connected with family, friends (close and other few), colleagues, ex-colleagues (again, some not all). That’s it! Why would I want to be connected to so many people and be fed constant updates about what they are doing in/ with their lives! Would it not just clog my head with useless information, and make me think about stuff which is not needed. So what is whole purpose of having these platforms? Do they solve any actual purpose? I understand that in a social world humans need to stay connected, but what kind of connection are we talking about?
Even say Instagram. So after I withdrew from FB, I have been kind of active on Instagram (Yes, you can have your big laugh!!). However, being active here had a different reason. I joined the #100sareepact, and since it is happening on Insta, therefore I had to be active there. But fact is, that sooner or later, it also has full potential to be another FB. Following random people for their pictures and again starting that chain of being fed random pictures from people you may not even know. The only good point is that I am still quite restrained on Instagram, and somehow it is not as energy sapping as FB. May be the reason is because here, I can choose to follow people I want. And I have chosen to follow some known and many unknown people who post inspiring pictures. So that comparison streak does not come in, and mostly I am in admiration of what these people are doing or post about. It is kind of a positive feeling, and I am glad about it. However, self-restrain is needed here too, as there are never enough good pictures, and one may get too sucked into the world of pictures wasting lot of time.
I am not aware of any other social platforms right now where time can be easily wasted. Glad. Oh yes, except our good old Wassap. That’s also pretty weird at times. We have a family group, which is a very functional group, where the 5 of us (me, my parents and siblings) share pictures and broadcast information. I have few groups with school friends. Mainly used to forward jokes. I am ok with that as they are good source of entertainment. I deliberately avoid being part of multiple groups, where I have nothing to share with the people involved, and updates from such groups are just plain time waste. But since Wassap is pretty much a messaging thing, so it’s still ok. But honestly, I am the happiest on days, when my phone battery is dead, or the phone is not working..:) I feel so light. I have a landline at home, and my family has the number. So I know if there is anything urgent, they can call me on that. Rest, I do not care…J I know other than them, nothing or no one’s life in the world will stop if I am not reachable for one day (For office I prefer only mails).
I missed Twitter. Man, I do not even want to talk about it. I joined it way back in 2008, it was quite in those days to be on Twitter. What a big time waster! I use to wonder, how do people manage to tweet so frequently during the day? When do they work? And then the pressure of sounding witty in each tweet, because then only will you be popular with Twitterati (I think that’s the word!). I left it soon, and have never gathered the courage to go back again.
I am yet to understand the real purpose of these so called social platforms, and this whole thing about staying connected. I can understand it from the point of view of businesses as it’s a way of connecting with customers, but for individuals isn’t it too much of shallow connections? I am connected to the whole world through Likes, comments and Retweets! I find it strange, and pretty useless too.
I feel, so much of online “connect” can only work for people with very good self-restrain. Those who can control the amount of time they spend online. Which in my view are not many. For rest of us, it eats away on the most precious resource- Time.