Information OverloadAug 23, 2016
Today I created a Facebook account. I had deleted my previous account few months ago.
I signed up and slowly started sending friend requests. Facebook does a good job of making it easy to discover friends. I sent around 102 legit friends requests ( requests that would not be considered as socially awkward by the people at receiving end). Around half of them got accepted by the end of the day. Thinking how I know the 53 friends I have now in Facebook brings back so much memories. Seeing their faces, remembering their nicknames, and the time I spent with them makes me wonder how long have I lived.
Facebook gives us an easily accessible platform to share our lives and opinions to others - our Facebook friends. Our Facebook friends like our posts and massage our ego. We feel happy about our life and accepted in our Facebook friend circle.Number of Likes transform to a sense of achievement. We even go to the extent of liking our photos from our friend’s account to increase the like count.
For us: More likes -> More Ego massage -> More happiness.
For Facebook: More likes -> More Ego massage -> More happiness -> More posts -> More time spent on the website. ( I probably got that wrong, which is probably why I am not the guy running Facebook )
Gossiping is probably one of the most entertaining pass times for us humans. And Facebook is a good companion for gossip. We only have to stare into our screens and move two fingers to get all the gossip we could ever possibly gossip. If we have added everyone we have ever spent some time with as a friend, Facebook would regularly deliver us fresh gossip about them. And hey, it’s authentic, it’s originally posted by the person we are gossiping about.
Gossip is covered by all the original posts ( is there a Facebook term for it? ) that are made. What about the bazillion videos and information posts that are shared by people?
We spend time reading and looking at posts that our Facebook friends very easily shared, taking no more effort than pressing their finger for a click. We get used to it, we become experts in scrolling the Facebook feed, stopping only for what interests us the most. And then we find something interesting, we share it, we would be liked for it!
If each of my friends share one thing a day regularly, I would have 250 things to look at each day ( a reasonable number if you have passed through at least five institutions in your life - including your schools, college and jobs )
That is what I would call information overload.
First day with my new account, and I can’t scroll down my feed - there’s so many new posts, from 50 Facebook friends I have - my head hurts processing the information. I closed the Facebook tab on my browser and unsubscribed from the alerts Facebook sends. I am sure I will be used to this very soon.
Facebook is definitely a well designed imagined reality. Like the most successful imagined realities, the believers of Facebook fuel it’s existence. And for them, it’s a part of their life, an unquestionable one. Almost everyone having a facebook account wanted to know why I did not have one. Does that ring a bell?
“Friendship is everything. Friendship is more than talent. It is more than the government. It is almost the equal of family.- Don Corleone” — Mario Puzo, The Godfather
If Facebook friends were friends in Don Corleone’s sense, everyone would have had a personal army at their disposal.