Man has always been a social animal. Today, however, man is more of a social virtual cookie monster (pun intended). We live in times dictated by our social networks, and wherever we go, whether online or offline, we’re followed by the manifestations of our histories and geographies in cyberspace.
So how do you escape it? Do you escape it? Well, that is entirely upto you, but in case you were thinking of it, here’s a quick step-by-step guide:
a. If you’re really sick of everything as it is, there is no better solution than to quit your job and move to a new city. This works best if you move to a place where none of your previous friends/acquaintances live. Even if you do know somebody there, it helps if they don’t care that you’re around.
b. Naturally, get a new phone number. And DON’T share it with everybody on any of your buddy lists. If you must, share it with your immediate family and best buddies with strict instructions not to hand it out to anybody else. A less harsh alternative would be to give out the number to your landline, and not your cellphone. Get an answering machine – it gives you the option of not having to attend/return certain calls.
c. Delete (or abandon) your Orkut/Facebook/MySpace accounts. That’ll probably puzzle your friends, but the ones that don’t matter will probably stop caring after a while. I like to call it a Friend-o-Filter 😉
d. In case none of these measures are drastic enough for you, you could also try the philmy stuff – change your name and your hairstyle (your face if you like… Khoon Bhari Maang, anybody?), your history or maybe even your profession (periodically for added effect – remember Catch me If You Can?)…!
I doubt if it makes a comprehensive step-by-step guide… but at least if I had to do it, I’d do it this way 🙂
So what’s the story behind this post?
In the last two years, I’ve been in three different cities, sometimes having to move from one house to another. Yet, wherever I’ve gone… I’ve taken my virtual world along with me. My profiles on social networking sites teeming with hundreds of friends ensured that I never felt the drastic change. In fact, for five months of my life, my social life was on Google Talk. I’ve always prided myself on the fact that I have 500-odd friends on Orkut and 200-odd on Facebook, and soon hope to make my following grow on Twitter. Even if I was spending the evening alone, I was still in conversation with some old friend, thanks to instant messaging. I doubt I have ever been ‘lonely’, so to speak. Off late, though I get the feeling that the social network I’ve built so carefully over the last few years has turned into a hunters net, collapsing over my head, leaving me cornered and trapped in a place I once enjoyed being in so much.
And that’s when I felt it… an inexplicable and desperate need for anonymity. The need to go somewhere and take life as I know it far from the virtual madding crowd. The need to drop off the face of the earth.
Naturally, I tried to figure out how I’d do it. Paradoxically though, I ultimately decided not to do a Houdini, but rather blog about it. The anti-climax to this post is that all my friends on Facebook are probably reading it right now.
I really am an incorrigible and compulsive socialiser.