I checked on Facebook yet again in a matter of half hour. Let us face it. It is really tempting and it is right there — in another window of my laptop, a touch away on my phone and simply staring at me on my tablet. So, obviously, it didn’t take much effort to go there and hang out. Besides, I reasoned, writing is a lonely profession and I needed some socialising.
But, my lingering for a few minutes turned out to be a lot longer. I was soon engrossed in other people’s lives. Going through people’s status updates and glancing at pictures does take time. There is public display of affection, sadness, opinions and affiliations. I learn about others’ travel style because, Facebook tells you if Mr A or Ms B is travelling first class or relaxing in the airport lounge. I found out that, for the second time that week, my good friend was dining in that cool fancy restaurant, which I have been wanting to go to and worse, my good old neighbour declared he had just finished jogging along the beach while our family friends in Los Angeles had yet again hit the gym! Phew!
Of course, I also did not miss my Facebook family members in their stylish best because, well, they all post their selfies. Then, there are those pictures that are taken in exotic locales. I always feel obligated to ‘like’ them and say something good. I have to admit here that, I always wonder if people really mean what they say in the ‘comments’ section. But, that’s another story. Then, I had to do one last thing — I still had to wish my friends on their birthdays, anniversaries and congratulate those kids who won medals and ‘like’ those wisdom quotes and share them. Finally, I pulled myself out of the website, exhausted. It happens to me many times because digital socialising feels like the entire world is on a perennial party mode. I decided to take a break and picked up a magazine. And lo! And behold! What did I come across? A story about how social networking websites cause too much stress on people. I had to only laugh.
In the evening, I took my son for a swim. As the children swam, I noticed my neighbour waving at me. I waved back. We exchanged pleasantries and began to chat. I felt reassured that my real time socialising skills were intact. During our conversation, she mentioned her recent trip to an European country. I felt a strange tingling. Didn’t I know that before? Suddenly, I recalled a couple a pictures that had flashed on my ‘wall’ a few days earlier. As we chatted, I couldn’t help wondering if she was aware that I had seen some of the pictures. But, again, she should be — isn’t that why people post pictures in the first place?
Back home, I had to stop myself from logging on to Facebook. Well, it never did me any good to know so much about others, did it? But, I heard a ping and a poke. The temptation was rising. My better sense told me — it is a huge distraction. I guess there are some things one has to do — especially if there is work to be accomplished. Log out.
But not for long. I was back soon because I had to let my Facebook family know what exactly was on my mind, and of course, while I was there, I had to share some quotes, comment on some pictures and like some more quotes and linger a bit longer. A whole lot of tempting socialising. Can online socialising make up for the real one? No. But, the problem is I never meet so many people on a daily basis to hang out. Even if I did, then, I would be overwhelmed with social obligations — to keep my house clean, serve them nice eateries and dress up. On FB, I can sit on my bed in my pyjamas and say the best things. No wonder, I prefer digital socialising over the real one!