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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Facebook vs Real Life

Saba Waqas |

Phew I can say it, I have finally QUIT Facebook!

The last couple of years I have had this love-hate relationship with Facebook.a It opened up a new era for me to stay in touch with friends and even acquaintances. In fact going further it made the world very compact in whicheven strangers become friends. Then I found, while communication to a certain extent was healthy, over time, the degree of so-called social connection was going haywire. By providing freedom of speech and especially display, I was feeling lost somewhere. Was I or my ‘friends’ misusing this medium? How did we express our disagreement with someone’s tightly held views without upsetting them? Do all my ‘friends’ really look that pretty in real life – how much of this beauty came from photoshop? The so called ‘real lives’we are being shownon Facebook actually has too many shades of make-belief. I see people sharing things of apparently what is happening in their lives – do we know whether it is even true or not? Pictures of themeating Sushi every third day in a posh restaurant, travelling 5 times a year to exotic places, and those clothes and shoesthey wear –wow they are to be seen to be believed. No longer do they perform the function of covering our bodies. Indeed it is their adornment that apparently makes our bodies!I started worrying about what this means to those people who can’t even afford them. The effects this has on the lives of the less privileged individual, on society and our culture – harmful- and incalculable.

For me it was as if through Facebook, people I knew had started living in the shadow of other worlds and cultures – especially western countries- where their identity is superior to our own. We have no identity of ours and are embarrassed of those that hold it dear to themselves; our uniqueness has disappeared. The more we are mingling through Facebook, the more we are creating an illusionary life to show others. There are no sad times, no downtimes, no ravages left on our faces after crying, and certainly no boring vacations where we sit at home, to be shown on facebook. Oh and most of all we don’t even feel a real couple unless our partner expresses his or her undying love for the other on facebook.

These instant friends we have made on Facebook has resulted in a secret harboring of hatred, jealousy, competition, and flaunting. The allusion of the online social scene leaves us in a state of disorientation and delusion. Where we automatically like every post everyone puts up- not because we actually like it- but because our ‘friend’ is counting the likes and will know ours is missing if we don’t! Do we express ‘like’ every time we meet our friends on the street or do we have a real conversation? Facebook is such a deception that everyone thinks he or she is a hero. We sit idly on our screens and mobile phones and talk endlessly about what changes are needed in our society – but are we all armchair warriors?Our hypocriticalness is staring us in the face – but we continue. Last by our over exposure to Facebook we have lost any privacy in our lives. We have let others into our lives, but we then whine about interference and encroachment.

However, this encroachment of Facebook into my life and the pressures to show my friends how exciting my life was became too much to fulfill. Another was a realization that despite the large number of friends who I had acquired during my years on Facebook – actually – when it really mattered, if I needed someone, the only ones who would really be there, were my family and close friends, with whom I shared many multiple moments – sad and happy ones. bMothers will be there for you, but thanks to Facebook, we remember them only by posting our pictures with them, an acme of hypocrisy and deception. Looking at the pictures it often feels we have only decided to celebrate Mother’s Day with them so that we can add those pictures.

So I have decided to regain my own individuality and maintain a balanced lifestyle that gives me peace and not worry about others. Those that want to remain my friend should as they say, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’.

Saba Waqas lives in Islamabad. With interests in cooking, traveling, and exploring various cultures, additionally, she writes articles regarding social matters.