1.15 billion users worldwide, spread across 213 countries, accessible from six of the seven continents, Antarctica being the only fortunate one extirpated from its virtual cobweb, for the sole reason that penguins do not own personal computers or smartphones, generating a whopping 5.1 billion USD in net revenue alone and accounting for a big chunk of The American GDP with a sky scaling 15.1 billion in total assets, one could say Facebook has done good for itself and by extension, superficially for the world too. Or has it?
Since its humble beginnings of being launched from the dormitories of Harvard in the February of 2004 to its meteoric rise of gobbling down every other IPO in the global internet market, Facebook has lived to serve its primary purpose: connecting people. But has it really succeeded in bringing people closer? Has it really increased communication for which it was essentially designed?
I accept. Facebook helps connect people. I could sit in the suburbs of any third world town and access Obama’s profile, receive updates, ogle his cute daughter Malia from his family pictures but am I really connected? Or am I spawning delusional relationships with empirical data? How many of us sit at home waiting for our alleged ‘friends’ to show up online while we could very well go out and spend time personally with our real friends. How many of us sit in classrooms refreshing our Facebook page every other second looking for new posts when a friend actually sits close by with whom a joke could be shared for real, or may be a laugh. Don’t we grit our teeth over the number of likes a particular picture of our supposed ‘friend’ has received over ours or the magnanimity of the numericals in their friend list over ours? Is social networking inconspicuously pushing us into this perpetual abyss of isolation when in fact it should be doing the contrary? Is it not knitting us closer in the virtual world while alienating us in the real world at the same time?
One of the most unforgettable moments in THE SOCIAL NETWORK, that suavely describes the void of connected loneliness that Facebook has created in its users is the final scene when Mark Zuckerberg himself, depicted by Jesse Eisenberg in the movie sends a friend request to his ex-girlfriend and then hits refresh, and then hits again and again recoiling into his own cocoon of perpetual isolation. Haven’t we all been in that situation?