Tag Archives: Social network

Social media and characters

I’ve been overcome by a sense of wonder lately at how different people can be, well, different.  A newer shade of awe regarding the diversity of human character has deepened this feeling more recently because of the changes in our social topography thanks to social media.

How many different ways have now emerged to get to know people from different angles! How many more ways to  gain access to their deepest selves, to the inner workings of their minds and to their momentary thoughts and feelings and to the general trends of their character!

Deziple Character
Deziple Character (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few days ago, for example, I wrote a post  in which I wondered why people might feel the need to put up pictures on their walls and what it might say about them. At some point a few days later, it was very late at night and I was just browsing my blog  when an orange notification of a comment popped up. Someone had commented!

In the comment the reader said something that never would have occurred to me. Whenever he sees a picture, he wants to put himself in it. Or rather, he only hangs pictures that he can imagine himself in. He meant that he only puts up things that resonates with him (not that he is a self-obsessed narcissist, of course!)

It was just a casual comment but it got me thinking. Continue reading Social media and characters

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The lost art of being alone

I was thinking of a painting I imagined myself this morning.

A water colour of a woman in a white bonnet on a hilltop with her back to the viewer. There are rolling hills all around dotted by white and yellow grass flowers as far as the eye can see. It’s springtime. There is no noise except that of the passing breeze. She is drinking in the surroundings alone, at peace.

Then I imagined another painting. A man in a dark room at a solid, brown, wooden table sitting by candlelight at work. Everything beyond that circle of light is dark, undefinable, unfathomable. Quiet. Night. Perhaps someone else is reading or writing a letter in another corner beyond the scope of the painting. Only his heavy breathing is audible. This man is secluded completely.

I see a third painting. Two people sitting in a sparsely furnished room engaged in deep discussion. They are looking intently at each other. You are aware that that is how they have been in conversation for the last half hour even though this painting has only captured a moment in their interaction. A tiny fraction of their concentration.

As a viewer, I feel like an intruder. I mustn’t be here watching them.

Then I think of a real-life scenario. What would it have been like if they were real people in my own place and time? Continue reading The lost art of being alone

Facebook and the person within

This holiday season I have “read” many real life stories on Facebook.

A group of girls in evening dresses with cocktails in their hands smiling at the camera in a line on the 31st. Groups of people on snow covered mountain tops with their hands spread out in a posture that says we have conquered the world on the 29th. A photograph of one of those same girls in an individual picture, more awkwardly taken perhaps right before she went out, but with the full limelight, with a heap of laundry visible in the background.

Pictures that enhance the beauty of people just a little bit. These are accompanied by status updates on significant days that mention happening places or exotic food or crazy things that people are up to. And comments. “too cute,” “awwwww,” “u guyz r too cool.”
Continue reading Facebook and the person within

How reading has become more social

For the longest time, we were talking about how the internet was making us unsocial. Rather than socializing with our neighbours and “real” friends and family, we were running after people we hadn’t even met, talking to them, chatting and exchanging ideas neglecting our real social lives (if we had any).

Or if we had a roaring online life it was automatically assumed that we chose internet social as a kind of consolation prize to real social. People were afraid that spending a lot of time online would lead to depression and unsocial, even antisocial behaviour.

The clerk, one of the pilgrims in Chaucer's Ca...
The clerk, one of the pilgrims in Chaucer’s Canterbury tales (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stereotypes of nerds have abounded in our social imagination a long time, of course. Think of Chaucer’s clerk in the Canterbury Tales with his threadbare overcoat, not speaking a word more than he could help, bent down with the weight of his twenty leather-bound books, a very rare handmade commodity back then. Continue reading How reading has become more social

Email and the Parents

It was probably the year 2001 and I was checking my email in a computer lab in a school in Florida trying to concentrate amidst the loud noise that the dot matrix printers were making on the aisle (which were the only printers completely free for students then although laser ones did exist).

I was checking an email that had the following subject line:

INFORMATION RECEIVED. ACTION TAKEN.
Continue reading Email and the Parents

Sounds of the Blogosphere

These are the records of the Earthling Bottledworder (henceforth to be referred to as EB in the third person) trapped in the spaceship Over-Enterprise for several months on its voyage to the Blogosphere.
Continue reading Sounds of the Blogosphere

Facebook, old photographs and memories

Throughout the history of time there’s been Facebook. At first, in ancient societies, photographs were used in human social networking only to identify people. But evidence has been found that many denizens of those older cultures preferred other markers in the space for profile pictures to identify themselves  as a flower, a celebrity or a cartoon character that they thought represented them.

In the initial days of Facebook, people were scared of revealing themselves.

And then, a time came when everybody started sharing pictures. Those inhibitions started receding slowly, much like the slow ebbing of a wave on the beach.  Perhaps teenagers who are on Facebook nowadays can’t even remember those days.

But I can. I can remember that day on the beach.

That’s because an old photograph has resurfaced on Facebook.
Continue reading Facebook, old photographs and memories

Facebook, love, and fiction

You are in love with this girl that you’ve been tracking for a while on Facebook. You may or may not have met her in person. You know what she likes, what she dislikes (or at least what she thinks she likes or dislikes), where she’s from, who her best friends are who regularly talk to her, where she went for a hike this weekend, even where she is right now, at this very moment.

Holding hands.

You know her like you’ve never known anyone before. Like from the inside of her head. You know her far better than your roommate that you eat and watch TV with everyday.

You know how her thoughts waver, how she is indecisive, how she sometimes posts a link and deletes it immediately, how she changes the wording on her status updates because she is rather shy and doesn’t want to appear too bold with sensational things.

There’s a dreamy quality about her that you like for she often makes the backgrounds of her pictures fuzzy keeping the focus only on herself and her friends who are always smiling, frozen in time. Continue reading Facebook, love, and fiction

Facebook and Friendships

Friendship

In the last few years, something has changed about my understanding of friendships. Before Facebook, I had sort of assumed what a friend was, what friendship meant, and how I myself interacted with friends.

But in a strange way, contrary to a simple idea that Facebook makes me realize the difference between “true” and “false” friends, people I actually know in “real” life vs. people I have barely met or not met at all, my notion of the idea of friendship itself has changed. Continue reading Facebook and Friendships