Random Thoughts

Facebook Creativity = ‘Virtual Vanity’

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 


More by :  Dr. Ratan Bhattacharjee

Top | Random Thoughts

Views: 3435      Comments: 11

Comment I agree with you..even I have seen this with my writings. My friends seem to like them all when I know that some of them are badly written myself. few criticize constructively. Good criticism can lead to good writing and yes it is very necessary to read.

21-Sep-2012 14:16 PM

Comment It is quite interesting, what you have posted, and bound to bring forth several strong reactions. However, it is through such argumentative pieces that one gets to portray their writing skills and thinking capabilities. Quite nice.

Kakali Ganguly
20-Sep-2012 02:28 AM

Comment Thanks to all for your comments on my article. I never want to hurt anyone in the article. But I told only about the trash writers. You probably know that I have inspired the young writers of the facebook for the first time in first such article on Facebook Creativity series. I particularly mentioned many new writers and tried to show their positive qualities. Mr. Amit Paul rightly says that all online writers are not bad. I never said that in my article. I only tried to make the writers of books aware of the fact that writing a book is not that easy as it appears from the plethora of books being published and launched all over the country. My online write ups are not any book publications. The article is about book publishing and being an author overnight. Money and connections can make one a writer these days. For your information, Mr. Amit Paul I have more than 300 articles and books besides more than 500 articles published onlines. I have been teaching English literature for the last 30 years. Kindly check my profile and know about me. You may understand that I am not a writer overnight. Thanks for your interest in the article. Nowadays very few read the things of others. At least you have done that. I look forward to your creativity in the facebook. Hope you are a very good writer. I wait for reading one at least so that I can appreciate it.Give your contact to my facebook page so that I will see if you have at all that standing to comment so ironically on the article.

Dr.Ratan Bhattacharjee
17-Sep-2012 09:02 AM

Comment Indeed, it's an excellent piece and true to the level of maximum.

17-Sep-2012 02:21 AM

Comment I appreciate ur quality ....

But I feel there are some good writers in Facebook too . social networking sites helps a lot in removal of social phobia and inspire to write, to grow...

Yes , there are many writers who are writing trash but practice makes a person perfect... no one is a writer from birth... writing needs inspiration and time....
like Valmiki pronounced "Mara " "mara" before he became able to pronounce "Rama"...similar is the case here..

and Mr. Bhattacharjee u r also doing the same thing as mentioned in this post..is not it? though I can't say in any angle these are trash rather these are good pieces of work still, u r also a online writer ( may be a good offline writer too ) also post ur links in others wall too......they might also feel the same way as u mentioned........

Amit Paul
16-Sep-2012 16:33 PM

Superb Article. Loved it :-) Thanks.

16-Sep-2012 14:19 PM

Comment Well said Ratan Bhattacharya. There are more writers than readers here. All write and most publish too. As to the praise received that adds to the feel good factor the less said is better. But when in Rome do as Romans do. So all Romans here. Et moi too!

Madhumita Ghosh
16-Sep-2012 14:07 PM

Comment I am definitely not a writer... :P.... lol..
it is a nicely balanced piece with strikingly dear quotations.
all i can say.. it sis a drive.. and even if nobody likes u.. u can't help it.
and i wd love to say, writing shows what u can't speak.......... else it wd be spoken.
these days.. we r so much away... from each other... the barrier is our socio-phobia.. this way or that.. and it feels better to sit at the comfortable shades of a machine. and even if we try, we can't miss our real time with people, the smell, sound, look and feel to be with others......... we r insecure.

there is too much light.. everywhere.... and yet we do not miss darkness.(!!!!! contradictory?? mmmmm lemme think.......... naah.)

but we do miss something.......the earth, thus the sun.. and thus the moon.

[extremely sorry for my frevolous rant and this annoying "dotting habit"........ i'm going to hang myself now. ]

Ananya Bhattacharya
16-Sep-2012 14:00 PM

Comment It's a valid point that you make, Ratan...but a few examples might have helped, even if it might ruffled a few feathers. I agree with you that it's a 'praise all' forum...so sad, if you look at it objectively or dispassionately.

Arindam Roy
16-Sep-2012 13:41 PM

Comment A concern well summarized. Nicely put sir. Writing certainly not an easy job as it seems in facebook. Regarding quality, I'm not in a position to comment further but to agree with you.


Sudama Chandra Panigrahi
16-Sep-2012 12:39 PM

Comment Great piece of writing...much needed. FB writers need to be beaten black and blue, which is not possible in the virtual world. So I propose using strong words to flog their spirit so that they stop writing trash.

16-Sep-2012 11:42 AM

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