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Facebook Creativity = ‘Virtual Vanity’
|by Dr. Ratan Bhattacharjee|
Writers are the pinnacle of intelligence. Writing is the best way to talk without being interrupted.
John D.MacDonald once wrote: “My purpose is to entertain myself first and other people secondly.” This seems to be basic reason why Facebook writers feel so comfortable about publishing. Anyone is now publishing a book provided he knows certain amount of English and he or she has some good connection with publishers, or if he or she can afford the cost of publication and publicity. In fact, if you can assure the sale of 200 books, any publisher will be eager to publish the book.
Now on the Facebook, many have a large number of following and friends inspire them to write. I have seen very few people on the facebook who are not either a poet or a writer or a journalist. They write on this or that blog and get likes and shares every now and then. Tagging is the most painful intrusion on your privacy. But if the friends tag, you have to endure the pain silently. All write poems on your wall and want that you speak positive things about their creativity.
The only reason for being a writer on the Facebook is that you just can’t help it. “Reading usually precedes writing and the impulse to write is almost fired by reading”, wrote Susan Sontag. “Reading, the love of reading , is what makes you dream of becoming a writer.” But unfortunately, in the Facebook, many writers do not like to read at all, they like more to write and wait for appreciation. Even a third rate book is also appreciated by the friends of the Facebook. This unnecessarily boosts up the vanity of some as writers. They write crazily and sometimes horrendous grammatical mistakes stare at your faces.
The biggest concern in life of many youngsters is to see flattering pictures of theirs on Facebook. This may be called ‘virtual vanity’. Book writing is now like wearing new clothes and post a new profile picture of that. We may advise the youngsters of the Facebook to write something to suit themselves so that many people may like it. If they write something to suit everybody, then scarcely anyone will care for it. This is what exactly happening now on Facebook.
We write for our friends. We don’t write to suit our own thoughts. Friendship is a priority and even in writing one cannot please everybody if one wants to please all. Emile Zola once wrote, “If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist will answer you: I am here to live out loud”.
Writing is only boring to the people who are boring themselves. But the other way round is also true. Writing is attractive if the people for whom you write are interesting. Coleridge was an opium addict, Poe was an alcoholic, Marlowe was killed by a man whom he was treacherously trying to stab. Pope took money to keep a woman’s name out of a satire and then wrote a piece so that she could still be recognized anyhow. Chatterton killed himself. Byron was accused of incest. But what about the Facebook writers, especially those who are not afraid of writing all the trash in the name of writing a book. Novel, poems, ballad, haiku, anything that comes your way are simply done for gaining easy popularity and social status. Five out of ten Facebook users are now creative. Many join Facebook with that aim only. But we should remember that writing is the hardest work in the world. It is harder than being a bricklayer, or lorry driving or even making love.
Writing in Harlan Ellison’s opinion “makes a man lonelier, nobler and more enriching.” Very few books written by the Facebook friends can reach that height. What looms larger is the ‘virtual vanity’.
Related Article: Publish or Perish
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