Facebook is a mind numbingly terrifying place to visit. I tried browsing the site quite after quite a few days, weeks I think and the experience was less than pleasant. Okay that was an euphemism. Perhaps I’m being hypersensitive; but the amount of hatred in the digital world is so large. As a matter of personal choice and principle, I don’t interact too much with people who I don’t know well enough. And among the ones I do, I choose to keep away unless I feel that I can contribute something to a discussion. And yet my newsfeed is strewn with angry statuses and counter arguments. The problem is that most of these discussions tend to linger on pointless issues anyway or deeply divisive ones. And instead of a healthy discussion aimed towards arriving at a conclusion, there are snide remarks aplenty or passing condescension aimed at someone. Such is the regularity of these posts, I almost feel that I need Tanmay Bhatt’s skin and weight to manage. (The weight part was because I need to aggressively increase my BMI, which is similarly terrifying!).
To be very clear here, the posts or comments are not directed at hating anyone. No. It’s the casual insults that appall me the most. After the last session of browsing, which robbed me of 3 hours of sunlight and fresh air, I have learned how certain people are more bigoted than others. And how some people respond to insults in a certain way. How some people were up to great things (while I was up to nothing as great )! And the general news. Which is also not very pretty either. And at the end of it, I was terrified about commenting or updating my status, lest I receive some polite hatred. Trust me, I can state my opinions firmly and logically. I do that eloquently on Quora, which by the way is a brilliant site, with content quality midway between StackExchange sites and Facebook. I don’t want snobbish status updates. Or some laughter riot. Or some kind of an information deluge. But there needs to be some sensibility and balance.
My Facebook footprint is minimal at best. And after today, I aim to keep it that way. Here is a summary of what I’ll miss:
*The usual dp updates*
*OMG! BTW, I just ate ….*
-comment 1: you are stupid and ur status makes no sense.
*ooh…I just got selected for so and so*
*im cming to delhi…anyone there?*
*i despise left/right wing ideology or God/religion etc*
-hate comments follow
The last one is particularly interesting. I have nothing against an opinion. It’s after all yours. And you are free to have them. But I do have issues, when it stokes hatred. I am okay if you like someone or some opinion or some *thing*. But if you say you *hate* someone or something, then you are intentionally hurting that someone else for the sole purpose of satisfying your ego. I’m sorry. But I won’t subscribe to that. Intelligent trolling is amusing especially when the person who is being mocked in the joke also laughs with you. But if it’s plain insulting, which is what most posts on my newsfeed have reduced to becoming, I’d rather browse Quora.
I’ll end by quoting one of my own statuses on Facebook which I put up a while back:
It’s amazing that a revolutionary mode of transport was tested to be a success for the first time yesterday and all updates I see on my newsfeed is about Trump, Islam, Modi, Somalia, Rape, Deaths, Mallya, money laundering, abuse…you get the idea.
And we ask what’s wrong with the world. Why bother?
This was after the day, the Hyperloop was tested. In fact a series of such statuses made me propose a modification to Godwin’s (so called) Law for the Indian context. It is as follows:
As an online conversation grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Kejriwal, Marxism or God approaches 1.
And sadly that is the how the Indian net behaves. I hope I am proved wrong. But till then, I’d happily prefer reading some great content by people I don’t know than some vitriolic banter, even if it’s from people I (half) know. Anyday.