There are many different ways in which Facebook users can be clubbed. One such division is between people who post personal stuff (with some converting their FB wall into a scandalous personal diary), and those who post social, scientific, GK etc stuff.
Ram, an engineering student, belongs to the latter club. After a few weeks into college when he realized that to become an engineer it is mandatory to spend most of one’s time on social media sites (and to troll relentlessly in case one wished for a distinction), he started spending several hours each day on the hallowed timelines of the virtual temple of Facebook.
While most devotees frequent this shrine to receive the photographic blessings of its enchanting goddesses, Ram was passionate about doing something for the country.
“I realized immediately that as an engineer I can never be of any good use to my nation and my society. So I decided to use my only valuable asset, my Facebook account, to serve my country,” he said on the popular sociopolitical talk show Ganna with Anna.
“I started reading a lot on everything about India, its past and its present, and posted on Facebook select enlightening stuff with an aim to create awareness. Sadly however, even after many months, my efforts never generated the kind of interest I expected. I felt so depressed I started seeing stand-up comedian RahulG’s videos on Youtube for some good escapist political humour. I just couldn’t figure out what was wrong with people. And then, a photo with my sister I uploaded shortly thereafter received dozens of Likes in less than an hour!”
“That was Ram’s Eureka moment!” gushed his girlfriend Sushmita, who was sharing the gobar-paved courtyard with him on the Ganna show.
“Yes indeed,” said Ram. “We all kinda know that the female species holds the key to a healthy longevity and visibility of any FB status, and I decided to cash in on that unique culturo-psychological phenomenon. Zuckerberg and other men may be the creators of Facebook, but women are the rulers.”
He thus began his great experiment with the help of his sister and girlfriend. Thenceforth, they would make it a point to ‘share’ all of his posts. Not surprisingly, the wheels started turning. Likes swelled by the dozens; comments rained like never before.
Although initially the comments were more focused on the girls (‘wow u r so knowledgeable’, ‘if not for u, i wd nev hav known this all-imp fact’), later on they shifted to the main topics and issues of the posts. Sushmita then decided to recruit some of her trusted female friends in the endeavour. All of them knew at least one generally ignored and neglected geeky friend who posted such bizarre stuff, and these girls were entrusted with ‘adopting’ the posts of such weirdos. It all paid off. People, especially young boys and girls, developed an immediate, never-before-seen passion and interest in politics, science and social issues.
Ram claims that the unprecedented crashing of the Election Commission website two months back – when swashbuckling journalist Chenab Goswami had asked, on behalf of the nation, if the corrupt govt was employing IRCTC servers for other public websites too to save money – was a direct consequence of this novel venture of theirs (which they have named Cheerleaders for FB Nerds).
“In January all the girls in our group adopted one nerd’s status update urging young people to get their voter registrations done, and shared the link of the Election Commission website alongside. Almost immediately, hundreds of people made a beeline for the site, causing its epic crash. A record number of applications however were made once it got back on track again.”
When Faking News researched this claim, we observed that this particular post was certainly the most Liked and most commented upon, though almost all comments read something like ‘hey that website is crashed’ or ‘link ain’t working’.
When asked about the challenges they face in this task, Sushmita said that handling the campaign’s girls does sometimes give them headaches.
“The fierce competition to be crowned the Like Queen and the Comment Queen (which of course we do not endorse) sometimes leads to bitchy tussles between some of the new girls; but that’s immediately brought under control.”
Ram said they are also assisting a group of IIM students who are researching this characteristic phenomenon of social networking. The research is titled ‘Cultural and Psychological Effects of Social Media Estrogen’. We met Sneha, one of the researchers.
“We are trying to decode whether the overwhelming preponderance of limelight on the most mundane of female posts is primarily due to womanhood’s seductive energy or mandom’s eternal tomfoolery.”
She said she couldn’t contain her amusement some weeks back when she saw the reactions to a skewed photo of hers taken by her 3-year old niece who couldn’t even hold the camera right.
“Since she insisted that I upload the snap, I did it and was going to take it down the next day. But astonishingly, people Liked it big time! I received comments like ‘hey great photography’, ‘that’s an awsum angle’, ‘its amazing what wonderful effect a stunning beauty can have on a photographer’s vision’. Vision! I just could’t stop laughing.”
There are rumours that the girl power exhibited in this project has attracted the attention of the ambassador of India’s feminine half, Mr Rahul Gandhi, and he is planning to approach Cheerleaders for FB Nerds for talks.
“As long as we are not asked to rename our undertaking to something like Indira Gandhi Women Empowerment Initiative, we are happy with any kind of attention we get,” says Ram.
Meanwhile, a last year student of an engineering college was hospitalized after overdosing himself on sleeping pills. From his intended suicide post on FB it transpired that he had gone into severe depression as most girls he followed (none had ever ‘accepted’ his friend requests) were so obsessed with nerdy stuff that they no longer uploaded, by the dozens, attractive photos of them and their gal pals. Unfortunately he also suffered a second depression attack soon thereafter because the hospital administration barred its female nurses from attending him. As of now, however, his condition is reported to be stable.