Millennium Post

A decade of liking and connecting us

When TEN years back a young Harvard student envisioned a start-up that would ‘connect the world’ through clusters of tiny posts, hardly had anyone the idea that it would fundamentally change the way we experience life, filling us with an ‘ambient social awareness’ that is unprecedented. Now a decade old, Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook has become so integral a part of our lives that we are practically handicapped without this technosocial medium of social connection. With over a billion people on the network, Facebook has metamorphosed from a DIY pilot project to a billion-dollar company, from a self-congratulatory frat-buddy forum to a platform where people share and care, like millions of pixels in a pointillist painting, with status updates, photographs and images from everyday life or holidays, cultural events and political opinions, literary and cinematic reviews and mini-posts, as well as random thoughts of the users forming a network that is an organism by itself, alive by the dint of the billion beating hearts behind the wall posts and virtual cliques that together make and share news.

Yet, there’s also another side to the story of Facebook, and this one is not as scintillating as a grouchy nerd becoming the world’s youngest billionaire or people finding love online or families keeping a tab on their globally dispersed members. The social network is also about compulsive updates, gratuitous selfies and seeking constant reassurance from the virtual platform. Facebook, while empowering to some extent and facilitating formation of political youth circles and strengthening democracy for the cyber-dependents, has also resulted in the ephemera of micro-celebrity, a culture of self-gawking at the expense of weakening familial and other ties and also eroding of a more solid sense of self because of incessant virtual image manufacturing. The need to garner likes has overwhelmed the need to connect, with carefully calibrated rebellions and opinions usurping a socially responsible networking. Indeed, a decade is right time for Facebook to get some course correction. Mark these words.
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