Kill the Duck Face
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Dos and Don'ts of capturing your life on social networks.
It is as if without visual aid we do not exist. Look around you. There is someone documenting every move. Today, most people are so in love with themselves that they feel the need to capture, frame, freeze every achievement. And yes, getting out of bed these days is considered medal-worthy. So you can be sure that at this very moment a photograph is being taken to record that monumental act.
Evidently, as a nation with a fading memory ó both in the long term and short ó it seems we have no option but to record every minute detail of our lives, lest we forget. There is a famous line by the award-winning Sri Lankan author A Sivanandan in his book When Memory Dies, that says when memory dies a nation dies. Well, it is good to know that everyone in India is working together to ensure our story survives. Even though the banality of the tale essentially determines that the tale should be deleted before it is recorded.
The catalyst for this instamatic life is Facebook. Since you have to prove that your status update is better than your friends and friends of friends and others, everyone's page is filled with posturing, preening, pretending and posing. The new cool is to fake your way through it. So don't be surprised if everyone has that one image with the sea in the backdrop and a kaftan billowing in the wind. Looking both artful and yet strangely slimming at the same time. Everyone is a fashion model. And therefore everyone is blah.
This hackneyed tonality is why I feel compelled to put down a code of conduct for imagination and imagery in the modern age. On FB, specifically. It's all very simple. Don't show off. No one liked you when you said, "Lookatme, look at me," as a child. Trust me, it does not get more charming as you grow older. Actually, it is just more annoying. And grounds for being un-friended. People will hit "like", but don't be fooled. They don't mean it. They are saving your image to share with friends and then they are going to laugh. At your vanity. And that's not a particularly good look to wear. In fact, it's even worse than your "by the beach side" look.