Sunday, May 8, 2011

Love in the Facebookian Era

A popular SMS joke doing the rounds these days says that during a wedding, the bridegroom stops the ceremonies at the very climax of his wedding in order to update his relationship status to “married” on Facebook. What more, he asks his bride, standing beside him right in the middle of the altar, to accept his request to be listed as his “wife”. Very well put, I must say, keeping in mind today’s trend, where a kid’s Facebook statuses tell his family about his whereabouts and moods, and the number of people in one’s friend list and the number of messages in the inbox define one’s popularity. Brace up, people, for the Facebookian era is here.

But hey, what’s with this “love” twist?
Well, here’s how my thinking goes – just like Facebook, love is the other newest trend on the block. Not to mention that it has been so for as long as I can remember. And with the recent passing of the Annual Festival of Love (for the uninitiated, I am talking about the Valentine’s week in February), I have developed a loathing for all kinds of superficiality related to the sacred word “love”. So, I surmised, what better than the loveliest of all feelings, love, to be analyzed from the Facebook perspective?

Till some time ago it was commonly believed that it takes just a single look, a meeting, a few talks or long walks to make you fall in love with a person. And the love that blossoms is eternal. A glow on the face, a perpetual smile, shy glances across the room and hand-in-hand walks along beautiful and less crowded places – these used to be the usual tell-tale signs of someone in love. But not any longer! Know why? Elementary, my dear Watsons! It’s the FACEBOOKIAN era, remember? Now it’s all about Facebook statuses, wall posts, pokes on each other’s walls, results of love-calculator-kind-of applications and hanging out at the malls. The main focus being, flaunt what you have, for as long as you have. Followed by, why, the three R’s of course - Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle! Hey, wait, did you really think these were formulated to help save the environment? Oh my poor little ignorant souls, time to wake up and smell the coffee!

Let us take a typical example. A boy adds a girl on Facebook, say on the basis of some prior acquaintance (Facebook’s new privacy issues - he can’t add her otherwise). She accepts, they begin talking off and on. The girl’s exams get over and she has nothing to do all day but sit online. As a result, they start talking often. More and more often. Day chat, night chat. Voice chat, video chat. The guy soon sends her a digitally created, animated proposal, “offering” her to be his official girlfriend. She gets uber excited, gushes about it to all her girl friends, and after some amount of haggling, accepts. This formative period of a relationship but has its own rules – no updating relationship statuses to “committed” and saving each other’s numbers under fake names. There might be others too, which thankfully enough, I don’t know of. Anyway, this goes on for some time, until finally everyone in their social network somehow manages to ascertain that this particular pair of opposite-sex people is “dating”. This paves way for the next phase of the relationship – the Social Phase. This phase, as the name suggests, is characterized by an ever increasing number of wall posts and pokes on each other’s deewaars(walls), a change in the relationship statuses on two profiles on Facebook, two pairs of thumbs perpetually texting away, and the whole online community being subjected to some gross online PDA.
Well, so long as it lasts. But unfortunately, it usually doesn’t. And when it finally is quits, the same old conspicuous phenomena ensues – change of relationship statuses, deletion from each other’s lists, and sometimes even blocking of each other on all messengers and social networks. Short and sweet, that’s the story of love in the time of Facebook. And as far as the three R’s are concerned, I leave it to the readers’ imagination to figure out in what way the three of them are carried out!

The thing that irks me most is the fact that people claim to have fallen in love with someone “just by looking at their display picture”. Now come on, seriously, do you even know for sure that the person you are talking to and the one you see, are the same person? There, you got me. To narrow down to the more specific domain, take my own example. I receive about a hundred Facebook messages and add requests a month, most of them asking me to add them because they find me pretty or beautiful or “smart”, as one or two put it. Some of them have even gone to the extent of “expressing their great love for me” through such media as poetry or hellishly-back-broken English. And on what basis, I ask? (No, I don’t literally ask them, I just ignore) and the answer is – the display picture! I wish they’d realize that the person they deem beautiful, going by the picture, might not be the same in real. They might be the most hideous creatures on the earth, crooked or saw-toothed with obese bodies, falling hair and crow’s feet. (I can vouch for myself though – I, for one, am the same person as seen in MY pictures; they are neither doctored nor nursed) I do admit, some of them might indeed be true to the picture. But what about the person’s inner self? It is true that a picture is worth a thousand words. But it can’t bare the soul. And then, after three months into a relationship, people complain that their beaus are not the same person they once fell in love with. Seriously, did you even check to confirm if you really knew who you believe you are in love with? Its time for a reality check.

Relationships are the latest fad, and in the true sense of the word. Whether it’s nineteen-year-olds like me or tiny fifteen-year-olds or the “world-wise” twenty-fivers, it just isn’t taboo anymore to have relationships at a tender age. It’s in. Love is in the air. And it always is. And with social networking on an unprecedented uphill climb, it is all the more convenient to communicate with people in your life, yet maintain (an optional) sense of privacy and choice – of who to talk to, when and by what means. And not the least of the impacts is the changing definition of love and relationships. Love – the word has lost its very meaning in this convenient world of technology.

Disclaimer - I do not write this post to bombard or criticize all the committed people in the world, including my friends and readers. All I want is to express my personal opinions on this game called “relationship-relationship” that almost everyone is playing these days. And obviously the role of social networking sites like Facebook in making things very simplified, yet more complicated than is usually comprehended. Some things might be fun to toy with, but the various strings they come attached with, beware.

Photos courtesy - Google images

P.S. I'd like to share a post by my friend Sourav here, which he wrote after attaining inspiration from this post of mine. How sweet of you sourav! :)

http://www.souravpandey.in/2011/05/you-have-new-notification-says-facebook.html

53 comments:

Prateek said...

Facebook is the new Orkut.

~Angel~ said...

It surely is! But Orkut too could never manage to be what Facebook has become.

Amit Gupta said...

I don't think Orkut was as competent as FB and neither it will become. The relationship thingy is also very quickly becoming a fad...people don't take it as seriously now as they used to unless one do commit suicide...errr..get married ;)

~Angel~ said...

Hey Amit,
Coming from you, that "commiting suicide" part is very surprising! I assume you used to be a die-hard romantic, weren't you? :P
Or are you one of those people too who believe in the philosophy, "love ends once two people marry"?

Amit Gupta said...

Yes, i am a die-hard cynical romantic. I believe life ends when people decides to fall in love, forget marriage...Being single is always a bliss! :)

~Angel~ said...

The feeling is mutual my friend.
Life does end when you fall in love. But yes, its the start of a new, totally different life too. Ultimately it all depends on your perspective of life. :)
And being single is, well, the best!

Anonymous said...

Angel,
I'm enjoying following your thoughts. Nice post. Couldn't agree more with the content.However, I think that the number of people adopting this way of finding love is very less. Moreover, most of them are people who have just arrived in the WWW. Two of my friends found their *love* online (read Orkut. :P), and they are still going. So, I think, social networking can help you in just meeting new people. The rest depends on you.

P.S. Generally, I like posts which are short, sweet and concise. But there is something in your writing, that it never feels as long as it actually is.. :)

~Angel~ said...

First things first, I'd like to know who this "anonymous" critic of mine is. Do reply from your original account or blog next time. Please! :)
And thank you for such appreciation. Seriously, every time I write a post, I end up writing such a long one that I myself can't stand reading it again. :P So your immense patience in going through my long posts is highly commendable. And I swear, I'm trying to write shorter and sweeter posts!

As for your opinion about this way of finding love being rare, I admit, it surely is a little less frequent. But once you meet a new person, even in real life instead of the Internet, you still communicate with them mostly by means of these social networking and chatting services.

The other day I read a very apt article in some magazine, I can't recall the name, regarding today's youth and the effect and role of Facebook etc in their lives. I'll check it out again and tell you which magazine and issue. I'm sure you'd like to go through it, it had some really shocking facts and figures.

Anonymous said...

Heylo Angel.. :)
I believe, human beings are not meant to lose their anonymity and privacy. Anonymity helps in fair judgment. :)

Anyways, coming to the point, I agree to your point that once we meet a new person, even in real life, we use these services. But meeting the person in real and then using these services is entirely different from using these services and then meet the person. In the earlier case, you talk to that person because you found something in him/her worth your time.
Though, I have gone through many articles on social networking and youth, I'd still like to read the one you are suggesting. Waiting for the link. :)

P.S.: I've fallen in love with you “just by looking at your display picture”. LOL, JK.. ;):P

sajeevkmenon said...

Social media has taken the world by storm and online relationships are going to flourish. But there are always the pros and cons:)

~Angel~ said...

Hey anonymous,
If you believe in keeping your anonymity intact, I respect your decision. Anyway its always fun to have an anonymous follower. ;)
And you surely are right at that point about meeting in real and then following up through internet. And it'll take me another 3 days to be able to tell you exactly where I read that article, so please keep a tab on this space. :)

P.S. Oh I'm flattered. :D (And Am Not kidding :P)

~Angel~ said...

@Sajeev - You got the point well. There are always some pros and some cons to everything. Hope to see you here more often :)

Sourav said...

Can I share this on my Facebook? I am sure the moment this post gets shared there, some of my so-called 'friends' might just change their relationship status! ;)

I still wonder why no one has still come up with a movie titled 'What's your status?'

And btw I liked your Dilli metro experience too. And they keep asking us to 'Mind the gap', why don't they instead 'Mend the gap' ? :|

merC_ry said...

Very nicely written, as the Anonymous guy said, even I do not generally read, longer posts but your writing kept me hooked.

About your post, think of it this way. How much competitive even the dating world has become. These social networking sites have completely changed the game. Remember there was a time when people used to have pen-friends, today, we there are many in the FB friend list which you find interesting, share the same thoughts and likings, so for a fraction of populace, soon this interest can turn into liking and love...

Here I assume that people do tell the information which is true. Which brings the whole profile of a person in front of you, there was a time, when people sometimes took years to understand a person, and here you go, just by someone's music, books, hobbies, you can at least predict is the person worth having a dialog with.

Most of what I said feels like a excerpt from a digital utopia, but then, hoping well does not kill you, right ?

Btw, reiterating what I said in the first paragraph, you write very well indeed, keep penning, You just got one more humble follower :)

~Angel~ said...

@Sourav - Well, you do have a keen eye and an open mind to notice things like that. I like. ;)
You are more than welcome to post my blog onto your FB profile. I'll only get some publicity out of it :D

P.S. I love your "I,ME,MYSELF" attitude.

~Angel~ said...

@Harshal - Well, thank you so very much for your appreciation. Glad to have you follow me. :) (I think you forgot to click on the "follow" button, do make sure you do that, else you may also receive my updates in your inbox by simply following me by email)

Well, the kind of virtual utopia you are wishing for here, I presume its more of wishful thinking than hope, and not just yours but mine and of thousands of other people too. But in the real world, it doesn't exist, and we know it as a fact. Still, only if wishes were horses! ;)

Hope to see you here often :)

Lipsy said...

OMG ....it's after such a long time I have read a complete post without the urge to skip in between....ur words are so beautiful and sentences are mesmerizing!!!Your writting ability keeps the reader hooked up:-)You have a new follower

~Angel~ said...

Hey Lipsy,
Thank you so much, those words were really nice to hear! :) I am glad to have a follower in you. Not to mention, I already am yours. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Angel,
Thanks for the support for the anonymity. Some of the bloggers don't appreciate the idea of anonymous comments. May be, they just want to know, who thinks what about you. I'd always post different comments depending on whether I have to do them anonymously or using my profile, with the anonymous one having the true feelings.

Anyways, I'm waiting for the link. :)

~Angel~ said...

@Anonymous - I completely understand your feelings regarding the anonymity thing. And rest assured, I am not one of those who do not support anonymous comments. On my blog, you are free to comment in any way you like and I'll always defend your right to express your opinions. :)

And thanks a lot for that little piece of friendly help. Really appreciate it, and I'll take extra care in the future :)

Amar said...

I remember my sister opened her account after some 3 odd days on facebook and she had 250 add requests and yeah with heart-breakingly pathetic English one-liners to make an impact.You've put the situation here in such a fantastic way!

Talking about the love angle,I think it's all a show most of the times.Because when you use internet as a medium to a relationship ( No offense to any fellow reader who got in a relationship via internet), sometimes you follow 'Love the person , then know the person' approach whereas it should be opposite. But hey there are exceptions who work it out beautifully!

If you would've told me that you're a nineteen year old before reading this, I wouldn't have believed. After reading this i know it's true.You've such a mature way of writing that seriously i felt like the post should never end. I loved reading it. Looking forward to some more from you, so following you!

And yeah I read you've written 'Love has lost it's meaning'.May be you'll find it a bit in the poems i write. Do look up ..

http://themagicinwords.blogspot.com/ .. Comment and follow if you like it..:)

Take care and keep writing:)

Sourav said...

Thanks! That attitude is difficult to be achieved, but the day you have it, life gets smooth! :D

~Angel~ said...

@Amar - Thank you so much Amar I really am flattered and humbled at the same time. My friends also keep telling me that I am way too mature for my years. :P
I agree with your opinion completely. Its more of a "fall in love, then get to know the person and regret your decision" kinda thing going on nowadays. Yet, there are some really beautiful exceptions to it too. :)
I went through your blog, and yay, you have a new follower! There truly is Magic in your Words. :)

sunwicked said...

Dis is very strange i wrote a blog on fb and just came to share it on indiblogger and wham I find a post on fb . Seems lik fb is trending the blogsphere also in btw nice post :)

Sourav said...

Thanks for the mention Mahima, that was really nice of you!

~Angel~ said...

@sunwicked - Thank you so much :)
Indeed, Facebook is a hot topic of debate, at least within the Indian blogsphere these days!

@Sourav - Needn't mention :)

Shrinidhi Hande said...

very true... you lose real friends if you don't like/comment on their updates in FB

Anonymous said...

Angel,
You were supposed to send me a link. I'm still waiting.. :P

~Angel~ said...

You pointed this out precisely at the end of the time duration I had asked you for, that tells me you are a good follower. *flattered* ;)
Alas, I checked out ALL the magazines in my college library today, but couldn't lay my hands upon that particular issue of Spice magazine that held that article. Hard luck mine :/
But by hook or by crook, I AM GONNA GET YOU THAT ARTICLE! You just wait :D

~Angel~ said...

All's well that ends well. ;)
So I finally found the article. It not only tells you about teens and their social networking, it encompasses all the aspects of today's teens' life - partying, sex life, trends - everything. An interesting read :)

"Secret life of Indian Teens"
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/site/story/secret-life-of-indian-teens/1/130880.html

Anonymous said...

Angel,
Thanks!! Comments after going through it. :)
Sorry, if you had to go through the pain of searching through ALL the college magazines. But i guess it didn't take more than 10 minutes for you to find it out. :P :)

Anonymous said...

Angel,
Woah!!! The article is surely interesting. Thanks for providing me such a great source of knowledge. :P
On a serious note, I agree to some of the points raised in the article. We can feel the *generation gap* even if the age difference is merely two years. Trends are changing fast, very fast. No doubt, things like drugs, boozing, smoking, sex and watching porn are going on among teens, but, i think that the number of such teens is very small. Sometimes, i find the issue to be over-exaggerated. For a reality check, you can always ask 10 random people around you and you'll get a better picture. :)
Talking in terms of research methods, I feel that the results of the various studies are "not valid" and "biased" because the "sample size" is very small as compared to the total population of the kids in the that area and was selected by the researchers.

~Angel~ said...

Mr. Anonymous,
I agree, such kids might not be very common everywhere. But lets face it, they do exist in still very large numbers in those much fabled "hi-fi" schools, convents, boarding schools and posh colonies. I do not mean to generalize, but I've seen them myself. Maybe the scenario is worse in metros like Delhi.
But indeed, most of the researches today are usually narrow-domain, given the fact that their main motive is to "publish something that raises eyebrows", be it universally true or just a mere belief made true by a few people. What can we do now, if the people in this country are lazy as hell. :/

Pathfinder said...

You have very good writing style for a 19 year old ...
check this post out,on similar lines
http://pathfinder-mytake.blogspot.com/2009/02/v-day-playlist.html

Anonymous said...

Hey!! Hey!! Calm down!! I didn't deny their existence. I just meant to say that the number of those "hi-fi" schools, convents or colonies themselves is very less. And just because, this number is high in the metros, you cannot generalize it for the entire nation. (Remember, the article is titled "Secret Life of Indian Teens"). Peace. :)
As for the researchers, talk about controversies, because they are the easiest way to publicity and fame. :P

Azz said...

Nice post!! :) You have a new follower!! :D

~Angel~ said...

@Pathfinder - Thank you so much!
I checked out your post. We think alike...and with the mention of my absolutely favorite movie of Meg Ryan there, you've won my heart. :D
Keep coming back :)

~Angel~ said...

@anonymous - Oops! I actually forgot to use smileys. and that gave you an impression that I've gotten hyper. :P
Till your comments are being published and not rejected, rest assured we're at peace. ;)

~Angel~ said...

@Arun - Thank you! And great to have you follow me ;D (Didn't you forget to click the "follow" button? :P)

Azz said...

@Angel: Oops!! My mistake.. :P Done!!

Anonymous said...

Angel,
Haha, the use of emoticons can surely affect the mood of the text. Anyways, thanks for the support. And I am sure we'll never reach a stage where you'd have to reject my comments. :)

~Angel~ said...

@Anonymous - I am sure that shall never happen. :)

portia burton said...

you have put it correctly.I've seen my friends suffer from such 'virtual mirage'.

Alpana Jaiswal said...

I have been there..had someone of the worst possible experiences in life..excellent post..but have to give credit to FB also,for helping build some strong relationships.

JIM said...

I have started following you after reading this post.. Love cannot be described,put into little compartments or relegated to pithy little sayings.. Love is different to each and grows faster or slower for each of us. I have been lucky 24 years and growing . To love after seeing a profile is just silly and an affront to true love

http://jpweddingphotograpy.blogspot.com/2011/05/scorpion-and-frog.html

~Angel~ said...

@Portia - It happens around us all the time. Quite rightly put, it's much like a "virtual mirage".

~Angel~ said...

@Alpana - Thank you :)
Definitely, Facebook deserves credit too, for giving birth to many lifelong bonds.

@JIM - Thanks for the follow :) Hope you like what you read here. Nice blog there, btw. :)

Rose said...

Really..LOL!!!
The relationship-relationship game. Totally true. :D
I was very well convinced till sometime back that "its complicated" actually means that when you have way too many apparent "lovers", and can't decide whom you should put as your "in a relationship with" partner. Ab koi cousins to hai nai jo bhar bhar ke list kr de profile me :P
Bt thanks to few people, I realized what does "its complicated actually" mean.
And yes, the facebookian love is indeed a very beautiful way of PDA-Pblic display of affection and public display of aggression. Nice post! :D

vipul garg said...

i will surely follow you after reading dis one.... cz it feels so good to read what you think about smhng and the pleasure doubles if the article is elucidated in such a cool way....

~Angel~ said...

@Sushmita - Thank you :)
Your older interpretation of the complicated status of people's relationships on Facebook was really awesome. :D

~Angel~ said...

@Vipul - Thank you so much. :)
Great to have a follower in you! Keep returning! :)

Alia Dalwai said...

Facebook murdered Orkut!

Lols!

Alia
http://aliascreativelife.blogspot.com

shubham said...

hi...your post was fun to read all in all.I often think about writing on facebook but i am afraid.Its such a vast topic with so many idiosyncrasies among the "user".. but i feel, in the roots of it, everything that facebook has, is the simple human nature .All activities that happens on the website is just same as they go in real life.The difference is the subtle expression in life becomes bold exhibition on facebook.I feel it's just because of absence of inhibition.

it was a fun read again but the way you find yourself in bewilderment by people finding themselves in love just by display picture and yet you seem to be romantic who sees it natural to fall in love with a smile few walk and long talks, somehow underlines a contradiction.
Don't you think that every time one falls in love, one assumes a lot about other based on few facts. I feel that love on facebook and in real life both go almost same way and may landup on same results...yes fake profiles exist and so do fake people...love is a great human experience..it's a faith that seldom justifies the stakes taken...
i have read some of your post and i see comments suggesting to cut the length..i disagree..i don't think one should write for popular choice..i love the fact that you write as long and as much, as you find needful and don't change that...

try to look at facebook as a magnifying glass for human nature..trust me you will be amused ...its a long topic..i am scared to touch it...kudos to you...