September 19, 2011

We're All Stars on Facebook

There's a lot more space for mediocrity online.

You don't have to be a writer to blog. You don't have to be a political analyst or standup comedian or scriptwriter to tweet. You don't have to be a photographer to have a flickr account. And you don't need to be... well, anything, to be on Facebook.

Which is all very well, since it serves as much-needed *practice* (for want of a better word). If I blogged every week, my writing would improve in a few months. The more pictures I clicked, the more I'd see what could change. Until - and this is a big "until" - my mediocrity starts being encouraged.

I have no incentive to write better if comments are only going to say "LOL!". If my instinct at a failure is to feel bad and give myself a tough time about it happening - it doesn't really help to say so online, because all it means is that 7 people will comment telling me "Don't be silly, you're amazing." The failure proves the exact opposite, in fact, so what are they talking about? While I don't deny I'm amazing in general (hah! :P) it's obvious that hardly any thought that went into a comment that makes me feel better about myself - for no bleddy reason.

Similarly, I have no incentive to work harder, as long as I can log into Facebook, bitch about my life and the state of my studies and have 6 other people tell me how it's completely okay to be frustrated, and how I need a break.

Because, really, I don't. No one does. Everyone has enough breaks, enough help, enough advice and enough politeness. What none of us seem to have, is enough introspection.

All around you, all over cyberspace, and especially all over Facebook, you will see mediocrity. Mediocre pictures, mediocre art, mediocre talent, mediocre lives. I'm not being condescending. This is mediocrity that could have been something else, if it wasn't crowd surfing on more mediocrity. And why does it find support? Why do you tell someone something is "awesome"? Is it...
1. Because you think so?
2. Because you know they want to hear it?
3. Or because it makes you feel better that someone comparable to you is *awesome*, hence, by extension, you might be too?

We're all part of it. Ranting online makes me immensely happy. Not just as a release of frustration. But as a substitute for action. Having a consistent (albeit largely fake) feel-good atmosphere strips you of the desire to change something, to do something differently, to take control, to move forward.

This post won't really end with one of those grand promises. Because I really don't know how much can change. I'm sure this will garner enough comments telling me how the world is a more empathy-filled place, support systems, etc etc. Maybe. Maybe not. I'd just rather have genuine criticism that makes me stop and reconsider, than hypocrisy-fuelled inertia. Good night, peoples.

PS. If your comment here is positive, that's fine. But if it's "Lol!" or "Wow!", it'd be irony of the worst kind. :)


Ankit Doshi said...

While I agree with every point you wrote, I believe these things also evolve with time. There are thousands who never got an opportunity to express for so long. Tools like Twitter and FB have given them a voice. Also, it has enabled discussion (albeit silly at times) but it has. Exchange of ideas.

Assuming you did not have these tools, do you think people would have still resorted to action. Mediocrity is mediocrity whether on social media or in real life. Are you saying your friends in real life are any more honest when they do a wow! or an actual laugh (lol!)on something you say?

I would say though that it is an excellent post. Shows the maturity of an evolved writer.

Keetarp Aidonak said...

@Ankit: I wonder if Mudra's Facebook friends who comment with a 'Wow!' or 'LOL' are her 'friends' in real life ;-)

@Mudra: You have simultaneously made fun of everyone who is active on Facebook (including those who innocently use it only as a mode of expression - me included). But I wonder, do you imply that you will stop at the rant, or do something more about it (like post ot on FB maybe?) ;-)

Anonymous said...

Nice thing about mediocrity, though: it's a trap you *want* to fall into at some level. It's real warm and nice in here. But then again, that's what makes it scary. Eventually, even that will pass.

Mudra said...

Ankit - Thanks. :) And of course, the discussion/expression is absolutely okay - that's what I'm saying too. It's just that a lot of mediocrity that wouldn't receive encouragement in real life, does on Facebook. Probably because it's easier.

Kannu - No, no, that's my point na - I have absolutely no issues with the expression etc. I'm very much into it myself (and I'm very much into putting mediocrity online and feeling happy when it gets positive feedback - probably the main reason for this post.

Anon - That's the hope, anyway. I'm not so sure it passes, sometimes it feels like we're stuck with it for life and it's too late to do anything about it now. :-|

Hitz said...

:D :D

Nishant Jain said...

"What none of us seem to have, is enough introspection."

Very well said. The downside of social networking technology around us and in every thing we own means we are never alone, in the sense of solitude, and we have now reached a point where we don't understand the importance of that.