I remember with some fuzziness, the last time I went to a circus. The undercurrent of excitement is only a few layers deeper, but quite a-live and I was very keen on going again. A circus was in our small town for two days! A big crowd of people, with their kids, surrounded us as we looked for our seats. As usual, in a crowd I wondered what the lives of these people were like, as I shared a part of it for a couple of hours. How different was it from mine, in the time when I have not seen them and what will happen to them next?
Some of them, no doubt, have their Facebook identities to look forward to. To update that they went to see a circus with their parents and younger or older siblings or kids. Several photos must have been shot to upload to their profile. Happiness, excitement and elephants. Some balloons.
Then back to normal life and Facebook again. Someone else’s happiness and glory to see. Quite different from what I must have done after my last circus show, that even had lions. I can’t remember what I did after. But it had little or nothing to do with people other than my parents and neighborhood buddies. The kids in this show maybe able to look at their circus outing 20 yrs from now. Whether they will want to, or not, is another matter. After all, the more of a thing you have, the lesser you appreciate it. That must apply to memories too. We all know that. That is why social media works in the first place. We never have enough friends, enough activities, enough clothes. Except, now, we can feel that we do. Happiness again.
Ignoring not, the online and play station games. Several identities to choose from. Gaming apparently makes you happier, more alert, gives you quality time with family and relieves stress. Ask the gamer on You-tube who really wanted to kill herself (following a painful accident) until a game, she proudly developed in her wishing-to-die-bed, allowed her to reach out to her very own sister, helped her survive. Why she was not able to reach out to the sister without a game, is another matter of course. Were they not Facebook friends n family? hmm.. She no doubt wonders, how people ever recovered from accidents and serious medical conditions without games!! Or maybe they never have been recoveries as remarkable as hers definitely was. Remember the Tommy Knockers, who could only solve problems in short term, using things readily available, that may not be a real improvement to what has existed in the past. Even if some things, that are not even in the past really, just considered dated or not hip enough, are certainly better solutions to real life problems.
Then there is my friend, who friended me on Facebook but never updates anything. He could have said ‘incarcerated today, because I was in a peaceful demonstration for the rights of slum dwellers, in a city apparently trying to forget its history of people’s rights’ activism led by a new leader that is over sensitive to criticism and behaves with ardent dictatorial mandate’, followed in a fortnight by: ‘released today because I am a respected and acclaimed scientist with absolutely no terroristic tendencies. My friends are still in jail.’ Many people signed a petition for his release on Facebook.
There are readers now, Washington Post and New York Times articles can be read for free if you recommend ten friends. Trip reports and sales and small business owner pages can be accessed and be made accessible, free of cost in many cases. Presidentships are fought through twitter. It has never been easier to be interested in politics, in economics, in reality, in books and find out about what is going on in the world at large.
Who said making things easier would work to make a better world, though. Not Orwell. Not Huxley. Not Budhdha. It just makes it easier to believe what you want to. Follow a thread and ignore the rest, because the thread is longer than ever now, and you never have to look in any other direction.
In 20 yrs from now, I hope Facebook is something I look up in a search engine and read as an history article as people realized that there are better ways to live. Social media, will only then, have arrived. Add to the wishlist..