The other day I was going through my Facebook profile when a status update of a friend popped up which declared he was having ‘Baked Prawns’ for breakfast at Pebble Street – a not too cheap gastro pub situated in New Friends Colony in New Delhi. On a deeper probe I saw that he had ‘liked’ his own update which was a dead giveaway that he was craving to see that that ‘like’ score go up. To put the poor sod out of his misery I clicked the ‘like’ icon as well; after all what are friends there for?
Now, if the reader does not have a Facebook account then he might enjoy the mad world of Facebook and other chat sites even more….from a distance. On the surface a social sie like Facebook is one which helps you to stay ‘in touch’ with friends, relatives and acquaintances with whom you might not really be interacting everyday but with the passage of time it has turned into a bit of a monster which is responsible for stoking narcissistic and voyeuristic tendencies. Relax, I will elaborate.
Does anyone really care of friend A is having dinner with friend B at a restaurant X? No. Have your dinner in peace. I know several people who like to update their daily routine in clockwork precision from the morning tea to the evening drink so that the entire network is aware as to what he is up to the entire day. Again it begs the question- is anyone interested?
Of course they are and that is why I have stated that narcissism has to be complemented with a heady mix of voyeurism for the whole chain to work. An individual’s rival at work might be interested in his day to day life and on the flip side the individual might be more than willing to tag him in a post regarding an exotic restaurant just to rub it in a bit. It’s a two way street you know where narcissism and voyeurism meet and create this entire chain of people looking to outdo each other in their day to day lives. The end need of a post in a social network is to show off to the world how everyone is happier than others in their respective lives irrespective of the fact whether they really are or not but who cares as long as people are prepared to go through it and ‘like’ it or perhaps post a witty comment.
The reader who does have a Facebook account might surely have jotted down a few points in his mind as to the individuals who might be similar to the ones who are being discussed here but it is not really a criticism of Facebook as a form of communication but stating what it actually is – a cocktail of narcissism and voyeurism. Of course there are people who log in once in a while to chat up with friends but they are a minority and Facebook as a medium does not care about such people. On the other hand there are such individuals on Facebook who would not be unhappy or jealous that his friends is at Ibiza but just that he would find it a bit irritating if it is rammed down his throat. I am sure some of you must be itching to ‘share’ or chat about this article on Facebook as soon as you have finished reading but please do not tag me.
Last week one of my friends apparently went on a trip to Malaysia and funnily he never informed anyone but simply changed his ‘current location’ on Facebook to ‘Kuala Lampur, Malaysia’. In one quick stroke he was able to convey the message that he was in Malaysia but the funniest bit was that people who saw this update thought that he had relocated to Malaysia. This is how subtly a social media hot air of narcissism can get started. The friend of mine was bombarded with comments like ‘congrats’, ‘brilliant’, ‘have you shifted to Malaysia?’ and it must be said that this is what he had bargained for when he had changed his ‘current location’. After watching the crowd go berserk he made the declaration that he was dying to make- ‘Chill guys, I am on a holiday in Malaysia’. Boom. Mission accomplished. The comments trickled to a standstill post that announcement of sorts.