When I joined Facebook, back in 2009, little did I know that the ruckus of the web will take over my life. I was elated to find all my friends there, chatting, sharing and having a ball over a single platform that connected millions. The delicious life they were cooking for themselves, the uncalled status messages that illuminated their pain, the weekend trips, covert threads; everything was overwhelming.
Life was different before Facebook. Life was Orkut then. I still remember waiting for Wednesday afternoons; since that was the day I’d secretly swoop inside a cybercafe and check the “scarps” that my friends had left for me. I’d then stalk a few people or open Yahoo messenger and jibber with some friends that I had met online. It was such a thrilling escapade. Anyone and everyone on the other side of the window would bring some soul curry.
I too wanted to be popular. I too wanted 1000+ friends on my Orkut list. I too wanted 5000+ scraps. Perhaps, I was too naïve to understand how all that worked. By the time I reached where I wanted to, Facebook stormed in and smashed Orkut. It was nowhere. We didn’t talk about scraps or testimonials anymore. We were dying to join Facebook; just like we were dying to be on Orkut once.
The Facebook jaunt was crazy. Every birthday party now involved one session where we talked about our Facebook likes, bitched about some common friend we did not like, a viral video, a funny image, new pages, and celebrity corners. Basically, it became our world. Even before we realized, there were fewer birthday parties and more Facebook invitations.
Now I liked pictures of people I used to meet daily rather than meeting them daily. The only way to tell my best friend that she is still my best friend was to religiously comment on her profile pictures. If I wasn’t sharing my aunt’s recipe of a new dish, I wasn’t being a good niece. Well, so Facebook became the “in thing”. Back in 2012, I thought, it’d be gone in no time, just like Orkut, but it didn’t.
Amidst this, we were still figuring it out. The thing about slowly losing something that feels indispensable is that you’re constantly adjusting to the loss. As soon as you find a comfortable balance, something shifts and you have to re-calibrate; so there was Facebook, which had us all in. Our life became more important on Facebook than it was in reality. Regardless of how much I wanted to purge, it drove me in and I dived in, subtly, yet losing more than I thought I would.
A friend later introduced me to some pages she thought would interest me. By this time, Facebook was already on its peak, leaving the growth stage and entering maturity. Everyone wanted to showcase their opinion in a silver platter, studded with rosy language. I too did that and how imprudent it appears now. I shared my beliefs on those pages and its wall—and it never went away.
Years after those moments of camaraderie, I stumbled upon Google search, which blatantly painted those parts of my life, I never thought, would appear on such a wide platform. After all, who thinks about that anyway? But it was there, a loud truth that shuttled in, making its way through various things that have happened over the years. It embarrassed me a bit. Maybe I was too naïve to write all that. Maybe I was too raw with my ideas of coolness or fun.
I hunted it down and deleted it. Relieved. Placid. There’s nothing to worry now, I have deleted it and no one will find it. But hey, it’s still there. After my umpteenth attempts, it was still there and I guess it will remain. Just like those unaccountable things that I have said, posted and written online—never considering its longevity. It won’t kill anyone, but it might. I wonder how many scorn remarks are still fluttering and breathing on those glossy Facebook walls, hiding beneath the layer of months and years.