Facebook: The Sixth Dimension

Facebook: The Sixth Dimension
By: Ravivarma Rao Panirselvam, MBBS Batch 13.

It is probably encoded in our DNA to communicate. From faceless smoke to Facebook, we are an attention seeking lot. At least most of us are and some of us self-proclaiming, quintessentially happy

A social network is an extrapolation of society. It behaves almost like a real society evolving through your Likes, Statuses, Activities and Applications thus showing you what you want; making it a communications utopia. Slowly but surely you build your niche by unlocking unthought opportunities of rekindling old friendships, acquiring knowledge, discussing PBLs, providing up-to-date features of calamities (gossiping parallelly) and even future businesses. It is simply infinity staring at us.

The only snag is that REAL people form the virtual social network. Society is not homogenous nor particularly rich in saints. Furthemore, you can’t actually see the person on the other monitor. Insane improbabilities like a jealous ex-boyfriend listening to your romantic musings by hacking into your interest’s profile or an interested person stealing your identity and playing mind games start happening. And that is the first lesson. Anything that has far too much on stake: marriage proposals, divorces, loan requests, unexpected windfalls of leprechaun luck and life and death matters is best left to the real world.

Bearing that in mind, Facebook is still microblogging and expression is what it is fundamentally. Just don’t shoot yourself on your foot! What you would not say or show in public, the same applies to
Facebook regardless friend, foe or frenemy.Be it Personal Information, Statuses, Photos, Videos or Applications. Think carefully before you Post, Comment or Share. They will hang in there much longer than your usual tantrum. Considering 500 million active users possibly viewing it, that is a whole lot of permutations from your moment of weakness. To make things worse, there is no enunciation in texted language and a statement of fact can easily be perceived as sarcasm (though often to our bane vice-versa). The fact that you are not Beyonce, and Facebook is not your Sasha Fierce and an online Bare-It-All-Say-It-All-Persona is plainly not healthy for your credibility. It is more important to be sensible.

Sensibility again means tweaking your Privacy Settings (and your BEHAVIOR) to the very last bit including your Applications. There is no point in Adding strangers to hit 1000 friends before your next haircut if it means risking your Photos from being used in something that would end in a police warrant. There is far less point in a hi-bye friend knowing your tangled love life or your holiday plans. He may be benign but he could be equally senseless with a predator in his Friends List who can pry into your profile. Disturbing things like breaking into your apartment during your romantic spa sessions become a very real possibility. Friends of Friends and Networks are not simple things.

Repeatedly adjust EVERY ASPECT of your privacy settings as you go and see how it looks from a third person’s shoes. Take no chances. At times, somethings are best kept to yourself and I am echoing the first lesson again.With that my two-cents are up. Even after saying so much, Facebook is still our sixth dimension and life is not the same without it. Unfortunately in the heat of excitement, we light fires that we can’t control leaving behind a charry mess of our reputations. Thereby to close the till, an ounce of common sense is the first step.

Source: AIMST University Faculty of Medicine Newsletter Volume 2 (August 2010 – Febuary 2011)

Ravi frequently contributes letters to editor of the Star newspaper, Ravi’s Waffle was published in the
Asian Student Medical Journal 2011, 5:5.

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