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Virtual Greeting, Social Celebration and Real Relations

Facebook greeted me with a message, as the year came to a close.

 Do I care? 
Obviously Not. My year ended pretty good, even with this note from Facebook.  
But, Should you care?

Real World Connections.

I have close to 2000 friends on Facebook. All of whom I have met, most I fondly interact whenever I meet. (Few are mere acquaintances). The number would have been greater if all my friends were on Facebook and connected.

I have made friends in real life and later connected with them on Facebook. The friends on my list are from my School days, College, Band of Brothers from the Armed Forces, Training academies, various courses I've attended, people with whom I've served in various tenures. My batch mates from MBA. Colleagues from the companies I've worked with. Neighbours from places I've stayed at. Friends with whom I've gone on trips. My students, participants and trainers- from the trainings I've attended and imparted. Friends I made on various trips. Bike rides, road trips. And many more ... I feel I've made real connections with these people. Facebook (Social Media) is just a medium to connect with them and stay connected.

Social Media Greetings.

I do like to be wished by friends on my birthday. But 2000 friends wishing me, and me responding to them, is impractical (reason I do not have my birthday on social media sites). A common message on wall, thanking everybody for the wishes is not my style. I like personal messages. And also prefer people wishing me personally (if they do). Not just wish me because Facebook or LinkedIn or some such social media prompted them to.

Most social media wishes are merely social pressure. You see the notification from Facebook to wish your friends and feel obliged to do so. Or, because your common friends are wishing and posting on your friends wall, you do the same. I'd rather have my friends wish me from their heart, if they remember. Not on an artificial trigger.

Social Recognition.

Should it matter if I received Zero Birthday wishes this year. Hell No. Facebook thinks otherwise. I have life beyond Facebook. I do receive greetings on my birthday in real life. From friends that matter. And even if some people forget to wish me, Big deal. The warmth in our friendship is still there. It's not so shallow to be affected by stupid pseudo emotions of birthday wishes or meaningless Facebook statistics.

Obviously a lot of people do care. Reason why Facebook shows the stats to its 2 billion plus users; pushing them to make more friends and get more wishes. Facebook doesn't care. It's just furthering it's own cause of getting more people onboard, collect more data and invade further into your lives, by playing with you emotions.

To the people who need to be recognized and want a constant reminder of their existence (and value) in others lives; here's my 2 cents. Rather than the number of people wishing you (when sort of coerced by Social Media and peers), see how many of your friends will come running when you need them, how many would bail you out, and how many are by your side when you hit the low and have nothing to offer in return.

Greetings and Meetings.

It doesn't matter if someone did wish me on my birthday or not. Gosh- some people do keep track. What a waste of time. I have many friends, specially from the Armed Forces and a lot from my Rides and places I visit, who I seldom meet. Few I meet once in a few years. Some, I haven't met in decades. Haven't even spoken to. But whenever we do meet (or will meet), we meet as if it was just yesterday.

How they meet me and greet me then, and how they treat me when I am with them- that's what counts. And based on the 42 years of my life, and the thousands of time I have met my friends, a planned meeting or random bumping in to here and there; I can say for sure, the warmth I've received doesn't leave me wanting anything more.

What I care?

What I do care about is when I meet my friends (at whatever frequency) I get a "Heart warming Hug" and an "Open hearted welcome".

Invariably; I DO.  ALWAYS.
Thank you Facebook. Your virtual statistics don't matter. My real friends do.

Comments

  1. So true, Shirish.... you've said what I've always believed about social media; that it's not just going to rule our lives. I recently visited India and spoke to Manish twice, and he graciously invited me home but I'm sorry, I couldn't make it due to ill health at the time ( it was the last week of three, after my cousins wedding).
    I would have loved to have met you all but I know that we will meet someday, Inshallah.
    I still look into Facebook once in a while and feel both happy to see the progress you and your efforts have wrought, into the lives of hundreds of young people with your young leadership courses.
    What amuses and irritates me, however, is how people often wish their little one Happy Birthday on Facebook and send messages wishing their spouses Happy Anniversary!! That really makes me laugh. But that's me. To each, their own....
    I was pleasantly surprised to see your blog today, ( thanks to the link I received via, you guesssd it(!!) Facebook.
    So, wishing you a brilliant year ahead and hope to catch up with you in the real world!!
    If you are ever inclined to listen to my givberish, you can email me your number. I'll be trying to reach you on the one I have, if it works.
    God bless you.
    Love,
    Ruch

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