Guest Article: Shruti Bajpai: Facebookisms I love to hate

By Shruti Bajpai , Mumbai | In Digital | April 16, 2015
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A humorous take on the language that people use on Facebook.

Most of us who belong to the Facebook community can be classified into, Active members - who live their lives on Facebook; Dabblers - who visit off and on, making a comment occasionally; Voyeurs - who are the invisible stalkers that keep themselves abreast of all the Facebook frenzy. And, over the years, regardless of our type, we are united in our urge to indulge in classic "Facebookisms" that often veer from being cute and witty to downright absurd. This is a light-hearted banter on Facebook lingo that I love to hate, but have been equally guilty of indulging in some or all of them. I have listed them in ascending order of ridiculousness.

Shruti Bajpai

5) Verbification of nouns and Nounification of verbs: How often do we get requests from friends asking us to "please inbox me" on a particular issue they need a response on. I certainly feel like boxing if not inboxing them for using incorrect grammar. "Nice click" for a nice picture that is posted, "Beautiful share" for an interesting comment or article that is shared. As long as there is freedom of expression, we can stop bothering ourselves with the constraints and rules of grammar.

4) Assassination of Characters: We need to thank Facebook for this one. For it has allowed our imagination to run wild and helped us morph into fairy tale, cartoon, mythological, movie, book and endless other characters. We have been personified into Bollywood and Hollywood superstars and even constellations across galaxies. We have all, at some point at some friend's behest, become a monument, city, country, fruit and hues of all hues. We have had our brains analysed, Freud and fried. And just when we feel that we have shape-shifted into every living or non-living being possible, some friend posts yet another nice "share" asking us to take a random quiz on yet another crazy personification. How far can we go? I won't be surprised if the next quiz one will see on Facebook is about "what animal dropping are you!"

3) Pontification of Events: There was a time a birthday greeting amongst friends was the good old "Happy Birthday" or "Many happy returns". Well, these are just too common for the Facebook community that has evolved and become more gracious. Regular wishes on Facebook are all about us "staying blessed!" I am not sure if it's correct grammar, but who cares as long we can stay blessed and bless others to stay blessed. At least, we don't need to rely on dodgy God men to make sure we are eternally blessed! We also have this deep urge to use jargon that most of us neither know the meaning nor the context of. "Any small activity is "totally epic" or "fabulously meta". I am still trying to figure why "meta" is trending so much in social media these days. I suppose it is OK to use words that sound cool, regardless of what they mean.

2) Fixation on the art of forwarding without reading: This one is a winner. All one needs to do is to read some inconsequential headline in a random website and comment and forward without bothering to read through the article. Recently, someone sent a post on an attention-grabbing headline about how Facebook updates from travellers on holidays in Goa will be banned by the government. The lady was obviously incensed and she poured her heart and lots of vitriol into blaming the inefficient government for banning all things big and small. If only she had bothered to click on the link and read through, she would have realised that the article was nothing but a spoof.

There are scores of mashable, made-up TV commercials on colas that are carcinogenic and chocolates that kill, and deodorants that are fatal that are mindlessly being forwarded by the Facebook crazy world. What's more, people not only forward these links, but also pepper them with honest to goodness comments that show their outrage and disbelief about what's happening and, unwittingly, also ending up showing their abject ignorance.

1) Awwwwfication of all things: Awwwwww, please don't get me started on this one. We have all been victims or perpetrators of this annawwwing expression. You share a nice click and instantly are inboxed an endearing "awwwwww". A nice share too receives the classic awwwww treatment; same for a banal post. Awwwww! One could even post an obituary and get an Awwwwww. If you like my article, please reply with an Awwww.

(Shruti Bajpai is an international media consultant and the former country head of HBO South Asia)

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