Monday, January 02, 2012

New Year Revolution

Happy New Year to everyone!

My new year "revolution" was to deactivate my Facebook account. Well, this ain't a hormonal reaction to the slight panic every new year brings into your life. I had been thinking about both my active and passive involvement in Facebook for a long time. Finishing up PhD and getting a job just made it clearer. Apart from the fact that I spent a lot of time just deciding what goes on Facebook and what doesn't, it also took some  real productive work time out of my schedule, merely due to my passive involvement (checking others' profiles, reading comics posted by others, looking at pictures posted by others). I started realizing that I don't get as much time to write as I used to when I was a student (which by the way, was another revelation about my productivity as a PhD student).

So what did I learn from my almost four year long existence on Facebook?

1. People have Facebook personalities

Some like to live through Facebook, some like to vent through Facebook, some like to reveal as less about themselves as possible but reading everything about others. There are Facebook drama queens ("I am so lonely. It is unbearable"), Facebook philosophers, Facebook clowns, Facebook reporters, Facebook stock market and political analysts (they also kind of pushed me to take this final step), Facebook revolutionaries ("Anna [Hazare] Rocks!) and very proud but slightly annoying Facebook mommies.

2. My Facebook profile is like a 1 mL (mostly happy) extract out of 1000 mL of life experiences

I say this only through my own experience. My profile, the way it looks on Facebook is the least likely representation of my real life. Yeah, I have an exciting social life. But most of the times, I am battling various annoying problems. Honestly, sometimes I am just barely able to squeeze in all that I want to do in a day. My everyday life is so boring that it has earned me the nick name "granny" in my close friend circle. The things that give me true happiness are not cool enough to be on Facebook. More importantly, I never feel like sharing the experiences that truly make me happy and enrich my life, on Facebook. They are reserved for a little corner in my heart, in a sanctuary of their own.

3. Not having an instant medium of expression actually matures my thoughts

I had done this with my blog in the past. I would like to think more and express less. So that the quality of my expression does not embarrass me a few years down the line. I would hate to see the record of all my online comments pooled over a period of few years. I know I have been firmly convinced about things in the past. Only to grow out of my convictions by realizing that I was mostly ignorant.

4. Obscurity is the new "Cool"

About a year ago, I was flatmates with a French girl. Her boyfriend flew over to see her in Australia. He was probably the first person of my generation, who not only did not have a Facebook account but also did not own a cellphone (even in his own country). I was secretly angry to find him (the kind of anger you feel after you realize that your "basic needs" are frivolity to someone else) but I was really amazed to see how happy he was without all of these things. I asked him what happens if someone needs to urgently reach him? He told me he has an answering machine on his land line and that he goes home every single night. :)
After meeting him, I have met others who prescribe to his view to varying degrees and I found that all these people were really interesting. Mostly because I pictured them as  these giant Sequoia trees standing their ground against the Social Media winds. :)

To be honest, no one cares about your Facebook profile. There are people who genuinely care about YOU. But you don't need Facebook to realize that. Or maybe you do.

In this new year, I plan to write more on my blog. Write about my travels in the Unites States, my impressions of the midwest and also about being a postdoc in a big research group.

Happy New Year again and good luck with your revolutions!