You keep your Facebook profile picture updated, make sure your relationship status is up-to-date and respond to every comment on your wall and message in your inbox. And the social networking giant is constantly devising new apps and designs to reel you in tighter. If you met someone who didn’t ‘facebook’, you’d probably peg him or her as boring or technophobic. However, some young folks have plugged the spillage of virtual life into real life and stayed away from these networks, without compromising their social life.
Nikhil Kini, a 24-year-old computer engineer, has never been on Facebook, despite being a tech freak. “I’ve never even been tempted. There is nothing out there in the online social world that there isn’t in the real one,” he says. Keeping in touch with friends is done simply — he uses Skype and chat applications. “It’s really sad that some people’s idea of staying in touch is ‘liking’ a picture on FB or commenting on it,” he says.
Twenty-four-year-old doctor Sneha Mashru, who, like Kini, never opened a Facebook account, feels that an addiction to online networks leads to constant guilt trips too. “I see my colleagues hunched over their laptops in the little free time we get from our gruelling 36-hour shifts in the hospital and then complain that they wasted it doing nothing on Facebook,” she says. She prefers to meet friends in person or talk to them on the phone than post messages on FB. “If you feel that a relationship is important then it’s worth making an added effort to keep in touch with them,” she opines. Adds Kini, “A lot of people feel guilty about their excessive FB use but are unable to do anything about the addiction.”
Facebook — a bubble?
Clinical psychologist and life coach Aditi Samant feels that social networking sites become a sort of safe haven for some people. “It’s definitely easier for people to make friends online, especially for those who are shy. Also, everyone feels like a mini-celebrity on FB,” she says. “People may experience withdrawal symptoms or anxiety when they’re kept away from such websites.”
Though Facebook is becoming one of the most effective marketing tools for promoting businesses, especially among the youth, some people don’t mind defying the norm.
“It would definitely help me in promoting my business,” says Stephenie Pereira, 24, who owns a bakery in Vakola and happily chose a FB-free world after being on it for the past six years. “But I have just started four months ago and right now, my main concern is surviving in a competitive market. I would rather concentrate on the core of my business — my food — than spend time stressing about the frills.” Stephenie joined Facebook to meet new people, get in touch with long lost friends and build a network but it started getting monotonous for her. “I was bored of doing the same things on Facebook, that’s why I deleted my account.”
* Reduce your time on FB gradually; start with cutting 10 minutes every day
* Make plans with friends to meet in person
* Take up a hobby
* Participate in an offline activity like reading or sports