Glamour, showbiz, One-upmanship- the veiled face of Facebook


Kamlesh Tripathi


‘A steadfast and voracious facebooker’ – is what I called him, till I met this old friend of mine Harish, recently in Mumbai, is when I came to know he’s gone off Facebook. I swallowed what he told me with a pinch of salt as it sounded quite incredible. Did he? I reminisced. And asked why? He replied.

‘Because you brag without being asked to. For how does it matter where you’ve been for a holiday, which car you drive, in what kind of a house you stay, how well connected you are both professionally and socially. How many jobs you’ve changed, how exquisite your new office looks, how you look in that dress, how many promotions you’ve got, your career path or even your designation. Or how grand was your birthday party, how well groomed and aristocratic you look while standing in that plush lounge of Mumbai or John F Kennedy airport or in that swanky lobby of a five star; and the number of flights you may have undertaken last week to show how busy you are, or how big and pedigreed is your dog or for that matter the brand, colour and size of your underpants?’ As all of this is fairly bugging.

‘But then what is so wrong about bragging? One can only brag, if one is accomplished and has possessions and achievements to show around.’ I enumerated.

‘Definitely, but not by making a public announcements. It’s like inviting everyone to snoop into your worthy life. I value the privacy of my achievements and possessions and would like to limit it to my family, relatives and some close friends. But in the Facebook, I find most talk only about their newly acquired possessions and achievements of life, and that to just for some digital ‘likes’ and appreciative comments.


Point made by Harish had rattled me for a moment, as there was a point in his point. Is Facebook taking us away from our vedic and ancient culture of sadgi (simplicity). And will Bapu, the strong supporter of non-violence and sadgi like and approve of this. I thought for an instant, as all websites have a domain culture; where members of Facebook appear to be drifting away from simplicity. Facebook, allows anyone above the age of 13 to open an account, and after registering the users can create a user profile, post status updates, pictures, share videos and receive notifications when others update their profiles. Also, users may join common-interest user groups, organized by workplace, school or college, or other characteristics and categories such as people from work or close friends. So the intent is very noble, exciting, knowledge building, innovative with perks of a global reach. But, I guess the gravity is moving towards mere showoff and showbiz. And, it is about time the members come up with something more mentally nourishing where Facebook can chart the way. Remember what our ancestors always said, ‘don’t brag and showoff- nazar lagti hai


Yes as most notifications in Facebook, are about self aggrandizement and digital announcements of achievement and accomplishments. Perhaps the longing vent of modern day etiquette better understood in otherwise traditionally starved India; and that insinuates about Facebook’s gravitational pull towards newfound consumerism of India. I guess it is now a war of between two cultures; the ancient aging culture of India that teaches you sadgi versus the materialistic web-culture mobilized via Facebook. Sure enough the soft world is taking on the hard world and maybe reason enough for China to ban Facebook?

A converse point of view also describes the young emerging India through Facebook that brings along day to day transparency by digitally describing even minor activities through notifications, pictures and videos which at times might even put your spouse in trouble for those occasional furloughs. And, last but not the least.

Harish needs to get back to Facebook. But no one shall tell him when, as he will figure out for himself, the smart bloke he is. I know him well enough and he is not the sort to give up something so easily- and that too his first love, Facebook. For I know he will still login at broader intervals to see how the war of cultures is brewing and the day he feels the tangy slant of cultures has lessened he will write again, what’s in his mind. To once again bring cheer, laughter, knowledge, information and accomplishments to others and that too in abundance.


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