I am always late on new things. I bought my first cd player some 3 years after the first such contraptions arrived on Indian shores. I bought my first dvd player only 4 years ago. So, when every kid I knew asked me if was on Orkut or Facebook, I did my best not to look stupid. Obviously I didn’t succeed – one sweet young lady took pity on me, and walked me through the steps on how to become a Facebook member. She said that Orkut was for young people — so there! (I had fond hopes about more things with the young lady, but Orkut was for young people, you know!)
This was about a year back. For the first couple of months, I was drugged out on Facebook – I spent some 8 to 10 hours EVERY DAY on this thing, got a whole host of apps, stuck pics in it, send messages galore, till another young lady (nothing happened with her either, so you can put your mind to rest, naughty!) asked me whether I ever did anything else. Sense prevailed and now I am back to a normal 45 to 60 minutes every week. I am glad to say that there are days on which I don’t need the fix! – perhaps the addiction has worked itself out of the system.
I find it fascinating though. The guys (and gals, I shouldn’t wonder) at Facebook have figured out ways of getting people fixed to the place.
First, almost anyone you know (younger people mainly) is on Facebook – so you can track down people you thought you’d lost touch with for ever. There’s a downside though – there are people who had thought they’d got rid of me for ever – imagine their shock to find this particular bad penny trying to slide back into their lives!
Second, you can see what all these people look like and their interests in life. You can create your own photo or video albums and keep them on Facebook for all to see. Chaps I thought had no interest beyond beers and the next meal now appear to have developed interests and skills in photography, travelling, paintings, and other exciting hobbies.
Third, you can take a look at people’s fantasies, particularly if you add the app called Are You Interested? In this, you select the kind of people you are interested in, and then suitable candidates are presented for your approval and they are open to your communication in case they obtain your approval. I bet that most of the pics used by the lot presented for my approval have been stolen from fashion magazines – I can’t believe there are so many hugely attractive middle aged ladies in this world – they all look like they could step onto a Paris ramp right now, and wait for the next wardrobe malfunction. (In case you want to know my fantasy, you’ll have to check me out on Facebook!)
Fourth, you can remain anonymous as well as presenting a front at the same time. This is the most curious part of my experience on Facebook. I can play the part I want you to see – and however much time you spent with me on Facebook, you still won’t know me – you’ll know only what I want you to see.
I’m curious about one thing – and anybody reading this who’s really knows psychology could teach me about this – what effect would a lot of time on Facebook have on my psychology and behaviour?