The paradox of over-socialization works just like Hindi film promotions work these days. You promote too much and you erode the element of mystery. You don’t promote at all and your film will tank without a trace. Likewise, too much socialization saps us of the time (and zeal) to devote ourselves to more productive work.
On a personal front, I am guilty of indulging in over-socialization ever since I joined JU. In my pursuit of a formal degree in literature (Comparative Literature, to be precise), I have totally cut down on my reading (and writing) time which in itself is an embarrassing paradox. I became a part of a disturbing number of facebook pages, whatsapp groups and what not. So much so that a ravenous chunk of my time gets lost in simply tracking the plethoric posts they post there, and with FOMO syndrome (Fear of Missing Out) being an inescapable chronic disorder of our present-day life, it is a Herculean task to live a day incommunicado.
Not socializing at all in this app-ridden world would isolate me completely from everyone, almost to the point of alienation. Too much socialization, on the other hand, results in a persistent decline in meaningful conversations, eliminates the much-needed element of suspense from our relationships and brings our intimate friends too close, making them too accessible; too accessible to the point of redundancy.
A recent survey revealed that those who lead a Facebook-free life extract greater “happiness” out of their daily lives. The survey is not surprising, and merely a formal legitimization of what is known by some, feared by many and denied by all (well, almost all especially those who still swear by the joys of social apps).
Facebook, when it started off, promised everyone a happier and a more fulfilling life by connecting each one of us. What it failed to foresee is that the same thread with which it proposed to bind us in amorous harmony would, before long, metamorphose into a poisonous noose and choke us to asphyxiation.
Perhaps, even you too would acknowledge (to your own self if not admit it aloud) that the bold act of wiping out Facebook completely would entail personal happiness for you in the long run. But no matter what your underlying impulses tell you, you know that you are most unlikely to press the ‘deactivate’ and ‘uninstall’ buttons (permanently). This I attribute to the hegemonic influence of Facebook, social apps and technology in general. And this, my dear friend, is the paradox of oversocialization.
PS- Rhett Butler’s words appear so relevant and beautiful today. Only if we could address them to Facebook!
Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn……
-Ritesh Agarwal, Kolkata, India