The 19 billion dollar Facebook-WhatsApp party!

Monday, 24 February 2014 - 6:00am IST Updated: Sunday, 23 February 2014 - 7:24pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

WhatsApp has been bought by Facebook. For 19 billion dollars. What is 19 billion dollars? And how is this new acquisition going to affect you? And me? And all of us whose lives run on Facebook and WhatsApp?

Today, most of us socially network online and through the Internet. When two platforms that we use on a minute-to-minute basis every day, every minute, join hands together, what is the power that they have generated over us? It is mind-boggling to think or perceive the social implications these companies will have over our futures. And what’s even more scary is wondering what it will do to our value systems.

You remember when your mother advised you to cover your jewellery when sitting in the car? Carry a shawl so your baubles are not sparkling for the elevator man to see, or the beggar who comes to your window. How often have you insisted on paying the food delivery yourself, so your staff doesn’t get a whiff of your extravagances? Well, all that is irrelevant today.  Everyone’s aware of your lifestyle and your expenses.  

Everyone shows off, and then shows off about a little more. Think about conversations. Let’s say you’re at a party talking with a group of women about your child’s recent admission into your top choice of school. Another lady joins the group whose child did not get into that same school. Chances are you will change the topic. She may pick up on the awkward silence for a moment, but the new topic will flow, and the conversation will move on.  The group chat will go like this:   

Chatter 1: My child got in to XYZ school — I am so excited!!

Chatter 2: (thumbs up emoticon) (clap emoticon)

Chatter 3: (clap emoticon) (blowing-a-kiss emoticon) (heart emoticon)

Chatter 4: (crying face emoticon) (thumbs down emoticon) My child did not get in…

Chatter 1, 2, 3: Oh no (etcetera)

Chatter 1: But guys, party at my place! I owe you all champagne!

Chatter 2: We should get all the kids together to celebrate too!

Chatter 3: Am so happy for you!! Hugs!

As you can imagine, Chatter 4, cannot leave, cannot help but continue reading, and probably wants to shoot herself for listening in. Social graces go out the window on chat groups, and if this is what adults are doing, what are we going to teach our children.

The above conversation applies to show-offs of any kind, not just school admission.

The other activity that involves showing off and has found a new and very easy platform is social climbing. And what I call ‘social kicking’ — this is when you are kicked out of the way.  Social climbing is now about showing off more than the actual climbing. A social show-off will more likely than not, do some or all of the following:

A social show-off (known henceforth as SSO) will always, always, always, take a picture when socialising, and then post it almost immediately. This shows the said SSO’s awesome social life.

An SSO will do social kicking by not adding you to WhatsApp groups that make plans together and therefore leaving you out of plans. An SSO will do social kicking by only taking these pictures when you’re not around, so even if you should be a part of it, you are not.

As I always say, it is easy to buy the good life, but to live it with the right values and manners, one needs to learn the way!

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