Monday, March 26, 2012

So the world has shrunk, is it?

There used to be a time when your only friends were those whom you went to school with or those that you played with after school. There used to be a time when cousins of your same age were categorized as friends. But today, the thing that scares you the most is a friend 'request' on Facebook from your mom/dad. For those familiar with Twitter, a colleague or a long lost school friend following you is something that would scare you. Not because you don't like them, but because it would be harder for you to maintain the image you have created for yourself. 

The internet has made our lives into something like a restaurant. We choose what we see and work with. If you do not find someone's posts on Facebook interesting you unsubscribe from their news-feed. Yes, internet today can be summed up as Facebook + Twitter + E-mail client. Less than one percent of our internet time is going into constructive work. We read one Wikipedia article for every hundred tweets we read. I'm being generous here. Only one percent of the Wikipedia pages are completely read. It is indeed sad that the internet is eating into our lives.

I happened to stumble upon a fact that Google search results vary from person to person. Even computer to computer for the same person, depending on attributes like location and even the browser you use. We are not reading news in the form of facts. We are reading what the algorithm assumed to be our topic of interest.

You make friends with people whom you haven't even met. You are far more comfortable talking to them about stuff you probably won't discuss with your classmate. One, it is because you find these people to be anonymous and well cut out from your life for the information to come back and bite you. Two, it is because you think these people match your wavelength or in layman's terms they crib about the same thing you do.

Ask yourself how many good friends you had and how many good friends you have?
How many of them have you met online? 

Imagine the number of personal data you have let out into the internet. None of us have the faintest idea about how much of it is recoverable. Facebook is using the data to try and make it more user-friendly. 

Did you notice how many of your friends have disappeared from your news-feed? Do you think it is because they are inactive on Facebook? If so, you have been fooling yourself. It is because you did not pay enough attention to their posts for a certain period of time. You stopped 'liking' their posts. You stopped commenting on their photos. Facebook assumes you do not find them interesting anymore and has made ignoring them easy by removing them from your news-feed entirely. Facebook is phasing out your friends. It is playing the boss by showing you what interests you. It is a machine and it probably is wrong.

Like I said your life has become a restaurant and you are choosing what to see while the internet decided what not to see. It gives you the illusion that you are connecting with people across the globe all the while losing touch with your next door neighbor. Day by day you are becoming an island where all you can see are  the things you once found interesting and the internet assumed that summed up your world.

Ask yourself, has the world really shrunk?


  1. The post reflects the real situation perfectly. Before mobile phones, the only way to keep in touch with a friend was to meet them. Then we moved on to texts and calls. Now we do the liking/poking/commenting. Life has indeed become a restaurant.

  2. Yes, the world has shrunk, its become a sphere around oneself, thats it.

  3. Stark reality and there's not a thing we are doing about it. Well put.

  4. After facebook, face to face interaction has lessened. Nowadays, even to talk to our neighbours, we use fb. We are the pawns of the corporate giants, and whether we like it or not, we are stuck. Unless, we take a bold step, and come out of this mess, and live the 'real' social networking!

  5. what you have posted is totally true