It was a month ago, on July 14, I was sitting inside my room in Baneshwar. As usual, I was constantly scrolling through the newsfeed without even paying attention to what was on the screen. I had been doing this for nearly 15 minutes. It was only later that I realized that I had been impulsively scrolling with zero attention. Thanks to Google chrome, the page froze.
Before I talk about the impulsiveness, I want to talk about something else. The day before I quit using Facebook, I saw a lot of posts about the ongoing disagreement between the National People’s Party and the government. In almost every status, I could see political elements. None of them, however, were genuine. All I saw was outrage, extremes fighting each other, display of shallow intellect and hurtful comments made against one another.
Facebook has given us the battlefield that we never had. So that was about it.
Disturbance at an apparent low standard of the substance being shared - especially conclusions on current occasions. There was a little apothegm doing the rounds in Britain a couple of years back, which entireties this up, “Twitter makes you need to have an espresso with individuals you’ve never met. Facebook makes you need to punch individuals you’ve known all your life.”
Facebook is a world made by and for sponsors and marketers. The qualities it advances are not the qualities that originated from a philosophical point of view or an otherworldly imagination. Politicians nowadays flex their discourses based on what people like to hear. I’d like to think that’s what politicians in Nepal are doing. The question of nationality has been a prime topic of debate on Nepali social media circle, mainly Facebook because of all the no brainers.
That’s what politicians exploit and create division between us Nepalis. We are merely voting machines for them and yet we choose not to see how we treat these parasites in a kingly manner. I think that this is the result of social media and Facebook is the top on my list. The number of likes you receive in a post is a powerful incentive.
One might make a case that people are not ready for social media yet. For example, it was the time of the earthquake. We were living outside under temporary shelters when someone saw a post on Facebook. It said, “An earthquake of 9.0 on the Richter scale will hit Kathmandu at 8 pm tonight: BBC report”.
Everyone panicked. I had no idea what was going on and suddenly, the quiet evening became a sight of terror. When I learned the truth about it, I frowned and went for a walk. I deactivated Facebook the next day and kept it that way for a month and a half. My then girlfriend broke up with me because she thought I was avoiding her by deactivating my Facebook account.
Finally, remember in the first paragraph I talked about ‘zero attention’? As I was writing this, thanks to Facebook for helping me abandon focus, I forgot to write about that. Maybe next time.
Avinash is an undergraduate student at Ashoka University in Haryana, India.