I check my Facebook newsfeed (that’s where I catch up on my current affairs since I don’t read the newspaper). As I scroll down, I can always spot the updates by my parent’s generation.
Whenever I see a photo that urges us to say “Amen” to a new born baby’s photoshopped picture where his intestines are falling out of his body, I know it has to be my sweet-natured, kind-hearted mommy who has agreed to saying “Amen” in the hope that her words will help relieve this child of his trauma. My mom is completely unaware of the evils of FB: the awful pranksters who make up bizarre pictures to gain likes/shares/amens so that their FB page gets promoted without them having to shell out any moolah to Zuckerberg.
Same thing with the “real pictures” of Sai Baba or the potato that looks just like Ganeshji which will instantly bless you, if you share it. A message to all our moms: these people are messing with your mind (and superstitions). Stop sharing!
Then there’s the selfie-wale uncleji (who literally sings “Chal Beta, selfie le le re” to his beta, not realising that that would be counter-intuitive). You wonder why he puts so many selfies especially since he’s not as vain as the average looking, narcissistic friends you have (who you envy for their confidence) who need to put up 11 pictures every day of their face (same exact location, clothes, smile, tilt of face) because they can’t get over how amazing they look! Selfie-Wale Uncleji is much simpler. He just figured out that his phone camera is a phenomenal object that has a two-way camera, and he’s started dabbling in photography.
Then there are the aunties who make huge faux-pas because they’re still figuring out Facebook, and post your name on their status update, instead of searching for it while trying to snoop around in your account- because their daughter told them you posted pictures of the plunging neckline you wore to a party recently. And now the whole world knows who the real Snoopy is, while aunty doesn’t know how to delete the update.
Although the Facebook stuff is entertaining, the bad netiquette that people are capable of is extremely bothersome. Like on WhatsApp, no matter what family group you get added to, you find that people of a certain age are still very propah’ about certain things: like saying Good Morning to everyone EVERY damn morning. They search out gorgeous pictures of tea cups that emit a melodious, “Good morning” rather than just plain old, tea-steam, or anthropomorphic cuckoos that sing, “Good morning”. Now although this makes for great etiquette (in 1965), it doesn’t make for very good netiquette. I know of Laptop and iPad classes held for senior citizens but what about WhatsApp manners’ classes for them?
I have huge families on all sides and a gazillion WhatsApp groups, so by the time the day is over, my phone is out of memory but I have so many “Good Morning” images saved that I could make a mammoth collage wallpaper for my room, which would greet me every morning, shocking me into having a good one!
Although, in the defense of our elders, I would say that our generation has lost its manners. When our parents greet us with a cheery Good Morning, all we do is grumpily mumble back (“What’s so great about mornings, after all?”)
If my amen-ing mom had to write about my generation (and me), she would mock our pseudo social-consciousness, wherein we don’t ever get up off of our high chairs (still babies when it comes to really bringing about any change) but FB share aplenty: “Sign Against-Rape Petitions on change.org” or Missing Person photos. We’re good about publicizing our social awareness but don’t really follow it up with any action.
Once, on a school WhatsApp group, there was a barrage of messages against a nun’s rape, and one of the girls spent hours coaxing people to turn up for the Peace March, but on the final day, she didn’t turn up and nor did most of the people who were passionately backing it.
I guess we are the ‘Pro-Cause, Against-Activity Generation’ that changes our profile photos’ colours for net-neutrality without knowing what it means: once we’ve shared the Candle Light Vigil event details for XYZ victim, we can rest in peace since that means our responsibility towards the universe is now complete!