In the past few months of joblessness, if there’s one thing that I’ve been regular with, other than sleeping for long hours, it is giving Facebook quality time from my limited remaining hours of the day, managing to login there about 10 times daily! Whenever I’d open my Internet browser thinking of something interesting to do, after a few vague and unsuccessful attempts to reach an engaging website, I’d inevitably start typing facebook.com. I actually realised today that even if I had nothing to do there, I’d just go because I feel I have to. It’d satiate some unknown urge within me and even if I have to torture my eyes to go through countless Farmville or Mafia Wars activity feeds on my homepage, I’d do it, cursing their hundreds of users as I scroll down to look for ‘meaningful’ activity.
But while I religiously keep doing this every single day, occasionally a modest 3-letter word rings in my head: WHY? Just why am I doing this? Is it just me? And the earnest response from within is: NO! Backed by figures, there are millions of users around the world doing the same thing. Then follows a string of questions: Why is everyone doing this? Why is there this need to spend hours of our day staying logged on to a social networking website when clearly we could be doing something more meaningful with our lives? Why is it important to comment on somebody’s pictures? Why is it that we even end up commenting on certain status messages that talk about how some acquaintance is feeling? Why is it that we want to check out what groups the others are a part of or what/who they become a fan of?
To all this, I could just think of one rationale: we have a need to ‘connect’. An unsaid desire to know what the others are doing and making them know how our life is treating us. I’ve always believed that every human in this world is connected in some unknown way. A heart speaks to another, even without words or gestures. And a way to acknowledge this connection is to communicate. And that’s what we try to do, directly or indirectly, by writing status messages and waiting to receive comments from all those who get to read it, by playing random games with or against others, by posting our pictures and checking others’, by sending birthday or anniversary greetings, by joining interest groups, by sharing reviews about a movie that we watched or a restaurant that we ate at or a place that we visited or an experience that we were a part of! All this, just to ‘communicate’! To reach out and keep that unknown connection alive and to nurture it by feeding it with little doses of ‘Facebook Indulgence’ to replete its hunger.
P.S. By the time I finished writing this post, I’d checked my e-mail thrice to see if there were any new mails from Facebook! Good job, Mark Zuckerberg! :)