Just the other day I realized that facebook is like a public square– a public square from a scene from a film by Federico Fellini. We had just watched Fellini’s I clowns and so, naturally one’s mind was sharp as a razor and attuned to all sorts of metaphors and comparisons, invented or real.
Recollect the opening of Amarcord– the burning of the ‘Old Witch of Winter’ and celebration of the arrival of spring. Now remember the people milling around in the square: the town idiot, the blind accordion player ridiculed by the schoolboys, the buxom and stout middle-aged tobacconist, the street vendor who is an incorrigible liar, the town lawyer who has a penchant for narrating the town’s history (even when no one is listening), the mindlessly exhibitionist motorcycle rider clad in black and of course, the town beauty. Not to forget the odd nymphomaniac. Well, that’s the average person’s facebook wall. A public square in a sexually repressed provincial town in a film by Fellini.
The way one would behave in a public square then, it seems, is the ideal way to behave on facebook. Look at the displays in the shop windows, enter only if you see something that catches your eye, there is no obligation to say you ‘like’ something even if you like it, smile if someone makes an eye contact and speak only when you are spoken too. In short, try not to be the village idiot standing on the soapbox mouthing inanities or the motorcycle rider ceaselessly vrooming to and fro in a pathetic attempt to catch everyone’s attention. Most importantly, only visit when you need something or when something special is happening. Even then chances are it wouldn’t be half as fantastic or rewarding as a Fellini film.
That’s why it is always better to watch a Fellini film rather than logging onto facebook.