BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I Want the Real Thing

Like millions of Facebook users, I was once addicted to the social networking site. In fact, I was among the first to set up an account. It's amazing because you get to find other people long gone -- that long, lost highschool classmate, the relative in another country, your favorite elementary teacher -- the list goes on and on. There's also a wealth of information out there. Or disinformation.

I was so glued I was spending hours on end on FB. One day, I realized that it wasn't really genuine connection anymore. Facebook is an exhibition venue where people curate their best selves, wittingly or unwittingly. It is a universe that best serves the needs of an affirmation-hungry world. It is a place where people can become photographers, writers or artists even if in real life, they're worst than the worst amateur. Anyone can have a posse on Facebook. Such is the illusion that FB creates and more.

As blogger Lisa Sanchez said in Curating the Internet on Equals: "The problem with the feed—which is not very nourishing, by the way, but often rather draining—is that it’s missing a holistic view of other people’s lives. When you bond with your real-life friends, you share in their triumphs and their sorrows. Most of our hundreds of Facebook friends are actually acquaintances or strangers, and although it may seem that they are sharing aspects of their private lives online, these glimpses have been selected from among many others for public consumption."

Internet, technology and this God-like thing called the cellphone have replaced the real thing. People flock to a Twitter parties. Kindle has replaced the addicting smell of book pages. We put XO instead of giving real hugs and kisses. There's an app for nearly every need. Who sends snail mail nowadays? Nobody does this anymore. But it's still a pleasant surprise to see something in the mailbox rather than the inbox.

So please, let's go offline sometimes. For real connections. Real conversations. For the real thing.