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It’s a mad, mad world

There are 6 billion ‘psychopaths’ in a world where Facebook decides our sanity. Rajiv Arora writes.

india Updated: Aug 09, 2012 00:52 IST
Rajiv Arora
Rajiv Arora
Hindustan Times

I admit I didn’t see it coming. All this while Facebook (FB) users mocked people like me, who are not fond of the social network, for being inherently shy and lonely. But we have kept our opinions about those suffering from FB OCD to ourselves — more out of our belief in the maxim ‘to each his own’ than the fact that a majority of FB fanatics simply do not seem to understand the concept of privacy.

But a German daily, Der Taggespiegel has now taken this battle to another plane. By linking the mental state of the shooters of the two recent attacks in the US to their absence on FB, it has made a, well, insane observation: only psychopaths and mass murderers are not on FB. That’s like saying all heterosexuals are homophobes. Statistically, this means that, barring the one billion-odd FB users, approximately six billion earthlings who are not a part of the online kumbh mela by choice, lack of resources or on account of being underage are bloodthirsty and mad. It’s a different matter that you and I can instantly think of at least 10 people who are on FB and deserve an individual ward in a loony bin. The newspaper has kept mum on what if, say, an al-Qaeda flunky updates his FB status to “I am about to get famous!!! Will miss you ammi-jaan” before blowing up a stadium. Will he be considered ‘normal’ even then?

The real problem lies elsewhere. Many companies are getting wary of hiring non-FB users. They fear that applicants missing in action in the virtual world are trying to blot out the red flags that may have forced them to delete their accounts. I wonder why the human resource managers, trained to see a glass half-empty even when there is no glass at all, cannot change their perspective? Can’t such applicants, who save a lot of time by not nattering on FB, be seen as sincere souls who don’t like distractions while working?

Long ago — way before the editor of Der Taggespiegel was born — a wise man once said that calling others insane is the first sign of madness. I am beginning to agree with him.

First Published: Aug 08, 2012 22:57 IST