.:DhalangCitra|thoughts & essays:.

The Facebook Identity

www.weblogcartoons.com

The internet is the 8th wonder of the world. Its product however, can be the leading cause of human degradation. I was never aware with how powerful social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, etc.) have on our lives, until I got sucked into. But with this phenomenon occurring in my life, I shall always proceed with great precaution.

Social networking sites are remarkably a genius invention. For once, people can self-promote themselves by confidently displaying their personal and unique characteristics. People can even go further than simply listing their likes and dislikes, these social networking sites facilitate people with the medium to showcase personal talents; whether that is art, pictures, and even music. There are of course, not to disregard, individuals who are self-aware of their physical beauty (this is indeed a form of self-selling) and are finding these social sites to be a comfortable niche.

I do realize that aside from having the privilege to express, these social sites are quite fun. Facebook has these little widgets and games that you and your friends can embark on. For example, I can be a vampire and bite my friend and suck all his blood to get points. Or you can also become a romantic and a caregiver to all your lady friends (say I sent my girlfriend sun flowers for her birthday or a chocolate moose cake for our anniversary). Many have also claimed that one of the advantages of these sites is having the ability to “stay connected” with long time friends. There are just endless possibilities with what you can do with these sites.

But I wonder, with the booming trend of social networking sites, has it actually served us well? Has it boycott the means of direct human interaction and communication? And what is it that made us so hooked?

The creation of these social sites have made it easy for people to recreate their images. People no longer have prove what they claim to be, you can simply list all of the things that you ‘think’ you are. Socializing in the internet is different than when you speak to person directly, eye-to-eye. Socializing is harder in reality because you can detect who they really are. With Facebook, people know you by what you want others to believe; it is not the true image of yourself.

www.xkcd.com

Humans are social beings. In a traditional, and I am inclined to say more ‘natural’ case, humans go out to meet people. There is that element of meeting others in persons, parties, social gatherings, you name it. However, now, social sites like Facebook are able to create social groups that exist only virtually. People become members and share interest in the internet. Social groups in the internet are massive. That is because it is in much ease to get someone involve, there isn’t much effort to put into, all you have to do is click!

I could not agree more with those who believe that despite its ease in mobilizing people, Facebook had made us internationally more aware. We can connect with others from the other side of the world and show our solidarity. I noticed however, that these groups are nothing more than a buzz, in fact only an optical illusion. Its existence is only temporary. Yes, people become more informed with the outside world, but I believe that an effective form of change and mobilization starts through grass-root movements (e.g. Free Tibet). Changes are more apparent in a local setting than it is in a larger (vague) scale.

The other disadvantage of having an account in one of these social networking sites is the amount of time you put into. These sites (personal experience and by observing others) are quite addictive. You begin with setting up your profile, adding friends, and the message postings make you tuned to the site for at least 4 hours a day. Imagine, those time that you could have spent doing other things. The time that you could have used to go out and enjoy the gift of nature, the time that you could have spent learning something interesting, and just everything else that is possible in the real world. You can even save the world for once by conserving energy and putting your computers to rest.

Nowadays, people live in fear. People are afraid of people. The act of socializing or just simply talking to someone is no longer a ‘normal’ thing to do. I remember when I was younger, when taking the public bus to school, speaking to the person next to me was not a peculiar thing to do. But now, when I take the subway to the city, everyone in the train is as tense as a rock and with no lively facial expression. Have we shift our attention to Facebook for a safe social interaction? What have we turned into? Or are we on the verge of creating a new form of society?

I refuse to be enslaved by the internet. And I sympathized with how shallow we have become. However, I do not see why such websites should ceased to exist. There are positive factors that one can reap, especially in a much personal basis, like keeping in touch with long time friends. Perhaps, it is true that we are gearing towards a ‘progressive’ individuals, but that is because we choose to be. Our generation embraced it as an identity. I, on the other hand, can only accept so much … because I am a real society.

b dj.

*update:

Interesting article on how Facebook can ruin your life!

“Mental Risk” for teens

June 23, 2008 Posted by | Thoughts | 2 Comments

Returning Home

I know that I had somewhat promised to update the blog as soon as I arrived from Colombia; a first-hand reporting of all my experiences. The truth is, there are many things to share in this trip, and after 2 weeks of contemplation I decided to keep those feelings to myself. The trip was personal and too special; it is something that is best kept to oneself.

Other than my emotional encounters, I find myself obligated to showcase the beauty of its people, cuisine, culture, and Colombia’s vast and magical landscapes. The word ‘obligated’ sounds a bit too forced, but a necessary description as to return the services of everything that Colombia has given me. Colombia has full potential to be the the greatest explorable country in the world. The remarkable diversity in climate and vegetation did not stop to impress me. I felt like as if I was hopping from one continent to another in a matter of days.

I have posted many of my Colombian photos. My photo collection of Colombia was more or less around 3000 shots, but unfortunately I cannot post all of my best frames simultaneously, as Flickr caps the amount of posts allowed per month. I shall complete my greatest photos gradually, though.

I loved Colombia. I loved everything about South America. There is no doubt that I have found a deep connection with the continent. It was more than the whole craziness that South America is usually associated with, but it was rather the surprise of knowing that there exist similarities that I can associate with when I was growing up. I had always admired landscapes. I stared and enjoyed the very green, gigantic and mountainous of my hometown, Kuningan, every summer. And the views of Colombia’s Andes reminded me of that nostalgia in a much grandeur scale. The landscape was breathtaking. I had never felt so small, when being shouldered by mountains and surrounded by the bleakness of smogs. You need that sometimes, as it brings you back to earth in a much humbler human being …

I have come to realize that when it comes to people, we are all alike. The social crisis that has hampered Colombia are every day problems of the world. Their daily problems and even to its current political instabilities were something that I have been accustomed to.

This is a bit of a digression, but one thing I learned about Colombian people is how appreciative they are. Colombians are open, honest (with their feelings), and accept everything with an open mind. I find this to be a very special trait of Colombians. They enjoy everything around them (even if you may think its insignificant) and accept whatever that is, positively. Its as if they are able to convert anything into joy. Perhaps, the “magic realism” of Gabriel Garcia Marquez are direct echoes of his people.

Additionally, people have stamped Colombia negatively and I personally think that this needs to be changed. The media has portrayed Colombia to be a land-kill and various governments have red-marked Colombia to be a dangerous state. This is all untrue. I have never felt so safe in my life as I had in Colombia. At every check points (when driving out of the city), at every station, and at every corner of crowded centers, you are always accompanied by the safety authorities (military, state police, and tourism police). It is also true that the kidnapping and that guerrillas still exist in some parts of Colombia but their operations have been diminished tremendously. Foreign tourist are now safe to travel around the country. This should not deter others to visit.

I am certain that my exploration of South America has just began. There are many places that needs to be seen. South America connected my definition of reality. And I look forward to explore that feeling all over again.

Thanks Colombia!

b dj.

June 22, 2008 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment