Facebook: My Social Media (r)Evolution
On a warm summer night in 2007, I discovered my elder sister stealthily and quite curiously looking at her laptop screen- a surreal blueish glow pouring out of it. This did not hit me as anything unusual, not some activity which would have potential life-changing capabilities in the near future. But then she started telling me the most glorious stories. Stories about people unknown. People from different cities of Bangladesh, different colleges, universities, some even lived nearby. The intricate, intimate tales of their lives were spectacular. Mind you, I was quite tech savvy. I had been using Yahoo messenger for some time then, talking to interesting people, making pen friends, being as social as a sixth grader could possibly be. But the world of whitish blue was different, unlike anything I had ever experienced before.
Soon the whispers rolled in. During recess, some of my friends would speak of the newfound internet sensation called Facebook which would soon be followed by my somewhat audible gasp. I had a deep regard for rules and regulations and my mother had me convinced that Facebook was not a place for people of my age. She persuaded me to talk my sister out of destroying her life. I did that as best as I could and even though it took a lot of perseverance, I refrained from signing up on Facebook for the next two years. I found my solace in Hi5, Myspace and Orkut but none of those could match my desire for the forbidden fruit.
Fast forward 2 years, most girls in my class had Facebook accounts but I can proudly disclose that I was not one of the unruly rebels. One of my classmates whose mother incidentally happened to be a senior teacher of ours would add others in our class and when they accepted, she would show it to their moms. Then the guardians of the wrongdoer would be called in and she would be brought to books. I would hear the stories, gallantly wearing the invisible ring of purity made out of nothing but sheer diligence which kept me from giving in to the temptation.
Then came 2010. I had had enough. No matter what I did, nothing quenched my yearning for a Facebook account. I gave in. One afternoon, I sat down with the little black modem plugged into the laptop and finally opened an account for myself. I felt like after all that time, I finally fit in. In school I would join in the conversation with the cool clique and pitifully look down upon those who were not as fortunate as us.
I had the privacy changed to "only me" a few days ago
Playing Pet Society and Farmville for hours in and taking the most remarkable quizzes became part of my daily routine. Soon I was having trouble remembering what else I used to do before I was on Facebook. I learned how to type in k()()L f0nt$ for dramatic effects and hw 2 u$3 shrt frmz 4 evrthng.
Using emojis while chatting would get me hyperventilating. Choosing profile pictures was a lot of pressure. Posting copied statuses was my muse. I began equating my self-esteem with the number of likes I got. Getting tagged and tagging 30 friends in pointless and irrelevant albums called NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY BY ME was what everyone used to look forward to.
Wishing my friends "good morning" and "good night" with a generic photo of a red rose was the new cool.
All was well but then the fire nation struck. One sunny morning in 2011, the whole class was gathered for an urgent session in the auditorium. In walked our Principal with a stern murderous stare. Starting with an elaborate explanation of how unruly we had become, she got to the point. It has etched itself on my memory forever. She said she was ashamed at our audacity and could not believe what kind of families we came from which let us use disgraceful tools like Facebook. It was only last week this year when I saw her tagged in a Facebook photo of a senior's wedding with the rest of the teachers who stood there that day telling us never to sign up on Facebook.
The other day one of those teachers whom I am still in touch with was telling me how much she depends on Facebook to correspond with her friends and family. In every university, the class routines are now posted on closed Facebook groups which makes having an account a necessity. Amazing how far we have come in life.
I never would have thought this day was coming yet here it is. My parents are more avid Facebookers than me. Your family's coolness is directly proportional to the number of family group chats you have.
Last night I tried to get my parents to watch A Beautiful Mind, I turned it on and went to check 10 minutes later if they were enjoying the movie. I found both of them scrolling down their respective newsfeeds while the movie went on unheeded. I grab every opportunity of shaming "older adults" for Facebooking too much. I suggest you do it too. There are very few pleasures as fulfilling as getting to tell your parents to stop Facebooking and go to sleep because they have to go to work the next day.
Anupoma Joyeeta Joyee is a perpetually sleepy Law student who emotionally identifies with ducks and occasionally sets out on writing sprees. Feel free to rant to her at [email protected]