Four reasons why you should stop reading this article

Allow me to set the premise, you’re having lunch and you casually open up your favorite social media site, you see two types of posts

1.Pretty girl you used to hang out in college just got married. You click on the profile of her husband and observe that his profile picture only has 10 likes. You secretly think, what a loser! He has no friends and an uneventful life. Lol! I have 76 likes, everybody adores me.

2. Lists such as:

-Five reasons why School days are the best.

-Five lists why we will always miss home cooked food to the more exhaustive yet unoriginal -Ten reasons why your cat is secretly working for Putin or 27 reasons why you’ll never be able to date Lana Del Rey( P.S: She is not bengali)

If any of those topics remotely made you chuckle or interested enough to scramble your thumbs to click. Congratulations! you’re successfully a victim of click bait.
1.When is it okay to create a list: Lists are useful, for grocery shopping, taking a count of friends who you will invite for a dinner or an element of Computer algorithms which still gives you nightmares as you realize you’ll never be a competent software developer( Linked Lists).
Lists make it a mission to sound innocuous and in most cases are, as they try to make a case that they shouldn’t be taken seriously. But in reality, they are the bastions of sponsored content which is stripping the fourth estate (online) of any dignity that remains.
Because as enriching as it is, humor is seen as the ultimate lubricant to pass on ideas to the new generation. Oh, you don’t understand why you suck at relationships? Maybe you should read:
Ten reasons why you should never date a guy who wears crocs.
27 reasons to prove that your ex was a crazy bitch
These lists validate stupidity and intolerance, which is not a bad thing. Every now and then we need to be reminded that may be we are wrong, callous or overly judgmental. But online, you can always find articles that foster your ego, even if it is flawed.

And not to forget sensationalist tripe headlines like “Does Obama want your take away your egg muffin sandwich? Click here to find out.

Enters website: No, hahah. But hey while you are here watch this funny gif of fat people falling.
2. Click-baits: Buzzfeed, Scoopwhoop and other websites of such ilk don’t pretend that they are suave or intelligent. But any criticism of such sites will make you sound like a Grinch or a kid who slaps you with your own hand while laughing “Why are you hitting yourself, why?
The articles are so unoriginal but people still fall for it, all the bloody time. Remember the first time you clicked on an ad which said “ Single girls near you, hot moms want to date you”? I knew that it was Bullshit because I was living in Saudi Arabia.
I don’t know if you know Saudi Arabia well, but transparent tank tops and mini skirts are not in vogue over there.

How about more original pop up ads such as:

Single girls near you, wanna friendzone?

OR 40 year old hot women need help in picking groceries at whole foods.

Now, won’t you click on those ads?
3. And I was like: Let me describe this phenomenon. There is a lot to admire about United States and its people, there are the occasional sour apples but a majority of my experiences with them, have been rewarding.
But I never understood why they would add “And I was like…” whenever they had to recount anything in the past. Let me give you an example
Me: Hey man, how was your weekend.
Friend: Dude, it was amazing.
Me: Nice, what’d you do?
Friend: So, i met this girl at the bar right. And we were having a couple of drinks. I said something like how I like pastas and she said “Oh, but they contain gluten”.
And I was like: “Do you even know why gluten is bad for you’’?
And she was like: Oh, I don’t know
And I was like: I bet you think gluten causes ebola too.
And she was like: Omg, you’re so rude.
And I was like: Hell yeah, I am funny.
Then we exchanged our phone numbers and forward each other gifs from Buzzfeed.
IF you notice, people are always witty in introspection.Like, ALWAYS! Like an Aaron Sorkin tv show where all the characters are witty and filled with one liners. It always begins well, but by the time they are done, you want to punch them in their self righteous auras. Looking at you Newsroom
4. Meme’s everyone!: There is a self indulgent subreddit called r/reactiongifs. Basically it is a collection of gifs from various sources such as movies, viral videos or TV shows.  And whenever anything of importance happens in the news, some jackass posts a meme on Facebook. It weans me down because if foreshadows that nothing that would ever happen to me in the future would be new, it would always be relative to an experience and be reduced to a meme, or a gif.

For Eg:
Our reaction when rahul gandhi is being interviewed
funny-rahul
Our reaction when US is 13 trillion in debt but yet refuses to wean on war against drugs by exaggerated incarcerations, or over militarization of Israel or refusal to invest in education while fucking the students with ridiculous student loans.
Try to create a meme for that.
And anytime someone comes across a real life (or fake situation) you share the gif to show how you feel.
For eg: My reaction when my single friends spend all their savings on a wedding
MRW
Things are fine and dandy when you get the references, but if you don’t it is so easy to get flustered and take offense. I always feel like an outsider when my American colleagues joke around me, I just don’t get it. But they insist that they are funny. There is a sudden need for everyone to be funny, in  way it is almost Michael Scott-ish

So, Dhanesh that was a terrible report you made the other day. I think you should be reprimanded.

Me: What?

Boss: Lol, I was just kidding
Dhanesh: Hey Mike, how did you spend your thanksgiving
Mike: Hey, it was brutal man. I stabbed your entire family, created a hula hoop with their intestines and played it with my asian adopted daughters
Dhanesh: What the flying fuck?
Mike: Oh, that line is from a movie, I didn’t mean it literally. It is okay man, you have to watch the movie to understand the context.
And I was like…

Lessons from an Offline Experiment

The new years eve is always a daunting one as we all try to formulate resolutions. It is a feeble attempt at retrospection and fix things that we think are wrong with us. Mine was pretty innocuous. I saw a Ted talk about an author who shared his experiences after he went offline for a year. That sort of captivated my attention and i wanted to give it a try.

As a writer one of the most embarrassing yet educational things you can do is to go over what you have written in the past. I delved into my sent mails section, old messages, tweets and Facebook posts. Needless to say a lot of it was cringe worthy. I used to like Roadies. Blasphemy!

That is why i rejoice writing because it is like a personal memorabilia which you can use to reflect and contemplate. And when you open it for criticism in the form of a blog, the results can be pretty interesting. I noticed that i was apologetic to assholes and an asshole to those who were apologetic. It’s a strange thing as you are more drawn towards interesting people who aren’t necessarily nice and find nice people to be boring and one dimensional. For example it is always the people who you love, who embarrass you. For example my uncle would type comments in capital, without spaces, on my photo’s something like.

DHANESHILIKEYOURPHOTOVERYMUCH.LOOKINGVERY GOOD DEAR, REGARDS

UNCLE AND AUNTY.

And you wonder why they killed the Indian postal service.

I decided to go offline for a wee bit and see if I suffered from any of the withdrawal syndromes. The task wasn’t very difficult for me. I discontinued using Facebook. Most people use Facebook to check up on what their friends are up to in their daily lives. I am not a sociopath but i find the trials and tribulations of people to be boring. So going offline wasn’t necessarily difficult for me as i had already unsubscribed scores of people whose (online) lives i deemed to be boring.

And in doing so i observed that most of my newsfeed were from pages related to movies, sports or science. I often took a holier than thou perspective while commenting  and always tried to be witty about what i would say.  I never wanted to be the last word freak, so i conveniently wouldn’t answer comments on my pictures or posts.

I would like to open the following activities for further scrutiny as i think they merit more discussion than the rest.

Check ins: Truth be told, ever since I saw the movie “Up in the Air” I knew what kind of lifestyle i wanted. Fortunately, my current job permits me to travel to far flung cities, stay at expensive places and dine at the best of restaurants. It wouldn’t be a misplaced opinion if i said i found joy out of it, by the attention i got. I wanted people i knew to know that I am having a good life and if it brought envy then i wouldn’t be lying if it made me a little happy.

When i was in india and i witnessed the spoils of my friends in the promised land, i was more envious than happy. I think one can truly be friends only when they can be happy for each other. It is very easy to share sadness because we all have some level of empathy. But whenever you find yourself genuinely happy for a friend’s accomplishment, it should count as a victory. When I check in at an expensive hotel, I hear an amateur exuberance within which screams “Hey, I have made it”, show it those people who didn’t think so, lets prove a point etc… I think everyone is entitled to some level of bragging, but it should slowly fade away.

2. SHARE EVERYTHING:

Why do we have to share everything we do, on a regular basis. I mean “Dhanesh is feeling meh [insert absurd smiley]. Why do people have to know what am I up to, all the time? Why do my friends have to know where i spent my weekend or whom with?

I’ve often been told that I am full of myself and I take that as a compliment because I’m so self absorbed, that I often forget that i am surrounded by people. Now don’t take me wrong, I am not smart or good looking enough to be a narcissist. I don’t engage myself with people who I would disagree with. I realized that I had surrounded myself with people whose ideas I share. I was being a smug liberal at best. I found joy in proving other people wrong, but rarely participated in discussions where my opinion was minority.

Also I found that every article people shared either made you immediately happy, sad or angry. As someone who enjoys reading, I want to formulate my own opinion on what is going around me. But we all live in a bubble which is in constant need of reassurance. I felt I was sharing news only because i wanted to be judged by my friends as witty, intelligent and wise member of the society.

From the feeble fame i achieved through the space of this blog, I feel people consider me to be kind-of-funny. As I dabble with humor and sarcasm, people tend to “like” my comments or status. Not that I am complaining about the attention, I feel the Gamification theory, i.e. rewarding every popular comment with a “like” can be disruptive.

Once used to the internet fame, I said or did things that would be popular rather than genuine. I would never participate in an argument where I know I am in the minority. I mean it is really not difficult to make a joke about Rahul Gandhi, Justin Beiber or Islam. You can easily make a cartoon and make your living. Am I wrong?

I feel it is healthy to get your views challenged, so surrounding myself by people who have similar taste kind of made me feel superior.I would feel intelligent when I share an op-ed piece by De grass Tyson or Paul Krugman. I’ve been also guilty about just sharing a news story just because the headline seemed controversial.

Facebook permits you that so in the end you surround yourself with likeminded people and then lose a sense of reality when people you meet in real life aren’t so accommodating.

3. I-know-everything-syndrome: I felt that i suffered from I-know-everything-syndrome, as i scourged internet constantly. I would be an endless supply of suggestions and opinions. In a social setting, I could easily distract the conversation about something I read and beat you down with facts. The last time, I remember shutting up for good was earlier today when I was getting my tooth drilled at the dentist. I forgot how to listen.

3. Rebel without a cause: Facebook is an incredibly powerful tool for social deduction.You can easily judge people based on their affiliations with literature, movies, causes or music. I am generally superficial and judge people a lot on what they speak and how they behave. I know it is not a respectable quality, but who’s got the time to give every human being a chance. My fingers got a carpel reflex typing that sentence out.

By all means I wished more people read, but not the likes of buzz feed or upworthy. They are nothing more than captions with gif’s. Since when do we need pictures and gif’s to accommodate   text. Are we 12? Articles like “37 ways to know that your dog hates you” make me want to choke those hipsters by blocking their access to Instagram.

And why are we so divided by opinions? Do you think Rahul Gandhi gives two shits about your opinion? I mean in the end who cares? As an educated member of the society I wanted to be pro-something. Enough of anti-racism, anti-corruption, anti-pollution. I want to own up to things I am bad at and DO SOMETHING about it. Our brain convinces us that just by creating a Facebook page or liking a cause means we have done something for it. I am 26 and by all means an Adult. I don’t have to be a rebel, I think i should be quite capable of taking a cause and working towards it.

At the end of three weeks of being offline, I found I had tremendous amount of time and energy left and now i am slowly utilizing them to create new hobbies.

Update after 3 weeks: Forget everything. I’ve come to realize that people are shallow, unforgiving and boring. Get back to facebook, twitter and Instagram! But I still hate Buzzfeed.

Am I socially stupid?

Image

Facebook tells me that I now have 890 friends. That is a lot! So as a social experiment, I am trying to see if that count is reduced after people read the following blog. And thanks to the new Graph Search, my social experience on web is going to suck even more. So in order to protest I have written the following piece.

During the past one month, I have been able to spend more time over things that I liked to do. And one such activity is culture spotting. Culture spotting is the activity where an individual with a preposterous ego monitors people around him/her for their amusement.

Exhibit A: Me.

But if you observe in real life, many people are obnoxious to tolerate. Most of them are miserable with their career, education, debt, marriage, pollution and what not. Hence I felt it is inexcusable to make fun of them as it is not a level playing ground to anyone.

But with the advent of social media, we can allow ourselves to put our pretty foot forwards and appear more approachable and amicable out on the web. Also it is an excellent tool to establish our intellectual authority.

So in this case I observed some of the most stupid things that people do on Social media, in this case Facebook and I am attempting to note them below for our mutual amusement.

  1. Photography: I don’t understand why most IIM’s (Indian IT Male’s) are suddenly into photography majority of my friends own a DSLR and they take really shitty pictures. Having a DSLR and taking trashy pictures is like owning an orchestra and playing Niki Minaj.

Here are a few tips that might enhance the probability of your social acceptance:

  • Never name your album “Random piczzz/clicks” or “My Experimentation with Photography”. – You just purchased an electronic device worth 500$ or more. There is nothing random or experimental about it.
  • There is nothing extraordinary about a high definition picture of a flower, with a bee buzzing around. I am old school as I think Photography is more about Context than Clarity.
  • Never upload pictures of kids without their parents’ permission. Internet is rife with child abuse, you don’t want to enable that. Trust me.
  • If you take a mirror shot of yourself with a DSLR camera, do realize that you share your I.Q with a door knob.
  • Use your discretion while uploading albums. Don’t upload the same picture with different filters. It is intellectually offensive.
  • If you are a shitty photographer and still have the temerity to add a watermark signature on your picture. Just realize that you are making your imbecility official.

Birthdays: This is a phenomenon mostly observed in girls or women. They usually hyperventilate over their birthdays with statuses like “OMG, I am so excited for my birthday”, “Just 3 weeks before my birthday”, “I am going to go to a dance club for my birthday”. So ladies, a couple of facts for you:

    1. Earth revolves around Sun, so you are bound to have at least one birthday. Every year.
    2. Birthdays are no achievement unless you’re ailing from a life threatening disease. I am 25 and the only thing I had to do; to achieve this was to make sure I look on both sides of the road before crossing.

I personally believe Birthdays are private events and a time to celebrate and remember the good times with your friends while reeling from the kicks to your scrotum in the name of birthday bumps.

Language overload: Lingual affluence is a strong indicator of one’s intelligence. Most Indians  speak, write or read more than 3 languages. But I don’t understand how people add Hinglish (Hindi + English) or Tanglish (Tamil + English) in the “Languages they speak” section. It sounds more like a Jewish dessert than a language

Vacation: If you don’t know already, these German scientists have made this official. Uploading your holiday pictures makes your friends jealous. On Facebook, depression will be mocked and happiness shall be envied upon. Tells a great deal about our society doesn’t it? Don’t embrace the ugly truth but at least resist to avoid it 🙂

Chat log: Again, it is mostly girls who commit this social blunder. Some of them share their chat logs as pictures with their friends to often show people around them that they are hilarious. Repeat after me, you shall never share your chat logs and you are the only person who thinks you’re funny.

Acknowledging Insecurity: At the risk of sounding sexist, this gaffe is once again committed primarily by women who are insecure about their looks.  This can be understood by observing how people react to compliments. Say there is a girl x, who has a pretty picture. Now naturally it would get attention and people would complement and comment her on the picture. They generally fall into 3 types:

    1. Various versions of “You look hot babe :* ”- Primarily women, mostly overweight.
    2. The more neutral and subdued comment: “Great picture”
    3. Indirect compliments with deplorable humor such as : “Awsm pictrr, credits to photographer Lolxx”

And the girl now can react in following ways which may or may not exhibit her desperation

  1. Reply by saying a polite thank you: Desperation level =0
  2. Like everyone’s compliment: Desperation level =1
  3. Thank everyone Individually for their compliment: Desperation level = infinity

After reading the above points you might wonder, what makes you the judge? Do you think you’re smarter than me? Am I proud of what I just wrote?Allow me to answer in the negative. I am not smart nor am I an intellectual. I am just another cynical tool with a connection to the internet who is allergic to dolts.