Friday, November 11, 2011

the october project (otherwise known as 'why being out of the radar is particularly needed')

I am overwhelmed by its power of persuasion. One must login, one must update, one must share. Regularly. If not, you are of least significance to the (net/cit)izen. Of course, that is, or more appropriately, could be the whole point. Facebook, the social networking site with a number of users close to a billion, is a tool for communication, and a tool only works when there’s a hand that controls it. In retrospect, I willingly dipped my hands back in 2007 and I was amazed, maybe even inspired, to its apparent seamlessness and the brilliance one often sees in something novel like any technological breakthroughs.

Until last month.

The site is a victim of a constant facelift, changing with the times, encouraging more people to try it, but the entire experience I have first felt almost four years ago has lost its novelty. Rather, it is now (exhaust/annoy)ing. It is a chore visiting the welcome page alone. The tool is working me, maybe even working us without our knowledge.

And this is not without a couple of reasons.

It takes a huge chunk of our time, we only realizing it when we witness our live newsfeeds and walls being rarely updated no matter how many times we hit the refresh button. And that Ticker Box is out of the question. One might say, like many other sites, it is not a matter of “must” but of “can,” yet I stand on the idea that we are actually all bound to the former instead of the volitional and decisive “can” since even the suggestion that we could self-regulate is an excuse brought about by the desires of “must.”

In our attempts to slake this desire, we have become too willing, too agreeable. Because of this we are (allowed/faced) with a bombardment of personal trivialities. Then strangely enough we become more skeptical of the people we are trying to connect to: Is he for real? Does she really have to say that? Why do people like that post? Why do people not like my post?

We have delved far into the virtual (bio/togo)graphy of relationships it makes it hard to scale back to the very core of what this apparatus (is/should be) all about: the human connection. Real, honest, flawed. In social networking sites, everyone (tries to be/is) perfect. Thus, the distances and alienation are much more felt despite of how frequent we interact with each other—whether through messages, chats, status updates, photo comments, likes—because our very own errors, defects, and blemishes (are/could be) magnified, subsequently stoking our inner shame, spreading like wildfire.

Once again, this sheds light on the fact that everything is not what it seems to be. Nothing is quite sensible, nothing is quite true.

And in this site’s hodgepodge of opinion and information circulating from point A to point B to points CDEFG, everything is instant, expected to be instant. That is why even when a message is delayed, deferred, or not sent at all, one easily wonders: Why is he missing in action? Is there something I do not know? Have I done something wrong?

It is easy to say we have unconsciously bred a culture of impatience, planted a seed of anxiety on the very wrong soil. As a tool for communication, a social networking site works effectively. But as tool for understanding the human condition, it falls smack on the ground limp.

And this is not what I need. I think I already have enough messages sent, received, and unre(ciproca/qui)ted. To put it more bluntly, missing some things and most specially someone is a one-way effort. It drains you.

That is why I am on a hiatus. My goal, I insist to believe, is to discipline my primate wanting for connection, information, and even attention. I have deactivated my Facebook account since October 6. I am on indefinite leave on Twitter since October 9. To further underscore this attempt, I actually cutoff my regular text-messaging of rough verses or lines of pseudo-poetry to all contacts in my cellphone way before the aforementioned sites. I stop sending last October 3.

More than a month has passed.

Unsurprisingly, the concerns, the wonderings, and the speculations of the absence mostly settle on one matter: Why are you not on Facebook?! How come you’re silent in Twitter?! Where are you in these sites?! Yes, the interrobangs in there are throbbing. As for the text-messages, the worry is close to none. What surprises me is that this little percentage comes from the unlikeliest of people.

Not that I am expecting a landslide of interest to the latter. After all, Literature versus The Websites is an altogether different story. It deserves another discussion.

Amidst these overblown ruminations, I have come to one conclusion that lately I am easily overwhelmed not only of the nuances of Facebook or Twitter but of things as small and delicate as silence, among many others, could easily break (anyone/us/me) apart.

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