In the modern world where Facebook rules social media, one might have few friends while someone has hundreds. Our friend list grows when people send requests, we find some ourselves or have friend suggestions from the page. The dilemma is in accepting, rejecting, just ignoring the friend requests.
At times names make things a little complicated. Khaleda Chowdhury, a retired school teacher, says, “When another Chowdhury is sending me a friend request, the first thought is that he or she is a relative or a friend of a relative. Under the circumstances, I accept. But when I check in with the respective relative to whom there is a mutual friend status with the new friend, the relative in a soup says doesn’t know the person.”
For Khaleda, the puzzles do not end here; sometimes, there come birthday greetings twice and thrice a year. That happens friends on Facebook get caught with another ‘Khaleda Chowdhury’ or follow the page’s birthday message suggestions. Not everyone has the time to double-check the profiles and see that one may be from Dhaka, Bangladesh, the other person lives in the UK Facebook.
There is a privacy option of who and who can see your friends’ list on Facebook. Before accepting a friend request, one can check on mutual friends’ list. If cross or annoyed by someone, there is the choice to block or unfriend people. Despite its privacy policies, the social page is a public one, and the wise use it as such. Not everyone treats the platform in its more comprehensive content. No one wants to find objectionable comments or Likes from an ex-boyfriend or a girlfriend. It could mean relationships going sour and breakups too. As Mrs. Martin says, “That Facebook that is responsible for the divorce of my son, his wife stalked him all the time.” In matters of relationships, one really can’t pass judgments; even the people caught in the troubled water can’t figure out what went wrong.
In the western world, it’s the busy summer time for the gardeners and to share posts of vegetables and flowers from the gardens on Facebook. Under the pictures of baskets of produce, for comments, friends write, “Wow, wish could eat some.” Others say, “Please parcel some to us.” The mentioned parcels could be about sending kiwi from Australia to Norway or Bangladesh. In response to the impossibility of the situation, you can send a GIF that expresses your thoughts, no need to write all the time.
Now, let’s talk about how many likes you and your friends get on Facebook. Made a post? Here begin the repeated visits to the page to see how many ‘Likes’ you got. You can count on particular friends to give ‘Likes,’ react or comment on every post you share. And when they don’t, you wonder what’s going on in their lives. How come they haven’t read the latest post on how many kittens your cat had or the picture of the deep chocolate cake you baked. The happening of Facebook could literarily maim or mar your day. Not everyone is attentive to the social page. Some have got the balance of it all, give measured time to work, home, and social pages. Not every friend is a good friend, whether Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or TokTok. Friends who care what happens in your life connect with or without social media. Like Lisa, my neighbour, says, “I am always diplomatic on my pages; the phone calls are better for me to speak to my close friends and relatives.”
The Internet has brought the world to our fingertips, and we found our friends too. The world is merrier when we connect to long-lost relatives, colleagues, and friends on Facebook. There is no end to knowing the world and the ever-changing life. As Rabindranath Thakur has said, “ Ochenare chinte hobe ore, jani jani amar chena, chirokale furabena’, similar to saying, ‘The unknown has to be conquered, there is no end to my discoveries of the unknown.’ Finally, though Facebook may hold choices to follow the page at our own pace, the new reality is that social media is very much a part of our life. We can choose to use it to our advantage or find ways to live without it.
Shakespeare had said, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Our names hold endless questions of connotations and denotations, and added to the mystery are the names of friends on Facebook. Scrolling through the page’s friend suggestions, you might wonder, ‘ Is the Rose Khan the same as the one I knew in school life, the one who was beautiful inside out? Or is this someone with a different personality?’ And on it goes, who knows what social media page is coming in the future to revolutionize our lives anew.
Tulip Chowdhury writes from Massachusetts, USA.