ad astra per alia porci

can’t wait, must watch
November 26, 2008, 2:20 am
Filed under: diary, the arts | Tags:

Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler

Carlsberg Special Brew
November 22, 2008, 7:18 pm
Filed under: alcohol | Tags: ,

This is by far the strongest beer I have drank so far. The first few gulps resulted inĀ  a punch to the head. 8.8% alcohol content, and hardly any head. It is clear and slight dark gold in colour. Looks can be absolutely deceiving, and given the string of sub-par beers I had prior to this brew, this is a great beer.

electronic immortality
November 1, 2008, 5:46 am
Filed under: diary | Tags:

This thought came to me while I was sleeping, oddly enough:

What happens to your Facebook account when you die?

Your relatives won’t know your password, so they can’t cancel your account for you after you pass away. Of course this is assuming you still have relatives, and you are still thinking of your Facebook account (as opposed to more important things like whether you will go heaven or hell, whether anyone will remember you etc.) while you lie on your deathbed.

Facebook itself has no motivation to terminate the account. The more members, the more advertising money. Dead members still count as cash. Maybe they will clear accounts that are dormant for too long, but I think some living people do leave their accounts dormant, and it is not very pleasant to discover that Facebook has deleted your account because they thought you were dead.

So in this respect at least your appearance to the world detaches itself from reality: the world thinks you are alive while you are actually dead. Hurrah.

By extension this made me wonder about the other bits and pieces of information paraded to the world in one’s Facebook account. Are they similarly detached from reality? If a dichotomy exists, it is by choice as opposed to involuntary dichotomy induced by death outside of suicide.

I was surprised when the research findings in Snoop, a book written by Sam Gosling on how to size up a person through outward appearances and in particular the contents and makeup of his room, suggest that online profiles are reliable sources of information for understanding a person’s true character. Ergo the distance between what people want you to think they are and what they really are is short.

This runs against conventional wisdom and I doubt the findings. Social networking sites, Facebook notwithstanding, are often the medium through which others advertise themselves as wholesome, quirky, desirable individuals. The more friends you have, the more sociable, desirable and “powerful” you are. Hence there is every incentive to portray a neater than true image of yourself to others, because it affects the perception others have of you. The incentive to lie seems to be much stronger than in normal personal relationships (not that people do not lie within the context of the latter).

So what explains my involvement in the whole personality parade in Facebook? For starters I am not exactly involved; I log on to Facebook every 2 weeks or so, sometimes more. I don’t bother much to write on the walls of everyone I know, and I don’t go around collecting friends and accepting mere acquiantances as friends.

My only form of extensive involvement comes in the form of posting my travel photos. I post all of them. But this is largely due to convenience because I want to be able to access them from an online source without resort to a thumb drive. Also, I have friends who went traveling with me who might desire to obtain and view the photos.

Having a Facebook account is a bit like having an email account: since everyone has it, you ought to have it so as to maintain some degree of connection with the outside world, without which one cannot operate. However that is where the connection ends. I need Facebook like I need email just because if I don’t, I lose out in a practical sense: e.g. I am kept out of the loop for events and work-related stuff.

This might explain why I adopt a flippant attitude towards profile pictures. I generally do not place a real photo of myself as my profile picture, and I don’t understand people who post refined, nicer-than-real-life pictures of themselves. This also relates to my point that people generally lie on profiles, instead of what is suggested in Snoop. If people generally portray an unreal, idealised image of themselves in profile pictures, one wonders about the truthfulness of the interactions and personal details.

The Facebook fascination in turn fascinates me. People spend hours on Facebook, doing the most mundane and puerile things. I don’t understand the phenomenon, and I probably never will. Isn’t there an element of hypocrisy involved? There is something seriously wrong if you interact more with friends online as opposed to physically; can they truly be considered as friends?