Facebook

Pandora's Box - Ver 2.0

PandorasBox.png

Ancient Greece

Prometheus (Pro) smirked as he read Zeus’s status update on Facebook, on his stone tablet. Epimetheus (Epi) looked up from his Macbook Air and asked “What’s happening Pro?” .“Here, check out what Zeus has just updated on Facebook” he said passing the tablet to his brother. Epi frowned as he read the update. ZEUS STATUS “But, this is rubbish!” exclaimed Epi, as he handed the tablet back, “How do we cook or keep ourselves warm without fire? He knows how patchy electricity is on earth !”. Pro smiled at his innocent little brother. “Don’t fret Epi, I’m already on it. According to Google Search, Hephaestus - the God of Fire and Weapons, who lives in Isle of Lemnos will still have fire. He needs it to keep his forge hot. Give me sometime and I’ll find a way to bring it over to us”  he said, as he hit the Like button under Zeus’s status.

****

“Did you see this?” asked Epi, thrusting his Macbook Air into his brother's hands. Pro looked at Zeus’s FourSquare check at the Isle of Lemnos, and laughed out loud. “He’s probably just listening to Hephaestus rant about that photo of “fire” that I had put up on Twitter.”. Epi didn’t look too happy. “What if Zeus is plotting something?” he asked, warming his hands by the fireplace. “Whatever Zeus can do, I can do better!” replied Pro, taking a sip of his Hazelnut hot chocolate drink.

****

Zeus glared at the picture Prometheus had shared via Twitter. Pro had put up a selfie image of him pouting and sticking his tongue out while a giant wild boar was being roasted over a crackling fire in the background. It was accompanied by the tweet : Pro tweet “The cheek of that punk kid!” growled Zeus as he clicked the “Mute @pro_meth_eus” option. But he knew he’d have the last laugh. He took out his iPhone and composed a quick message to his Family Group on iChat. ZEUS_FamilyChat   Moments later, Zeus’s three kids made their way into the throne room on Mount Olympus. After paying their respects to Zeus, they looked curiously at the clay statue of a woman that stood beside his throne. “Who’s that? Can I take her picture?” asked Hermes, taking out his smartphone. “Stop!” thundered Zeus. “We’ll have plenty of time for that! First, I need you three to do something for me.”
“Athena,” he said referring to the Goddess of Wisdom, Skill and Warfare, “You will breathe life into this clay woman”. Athena bowed her head respectfully in acceptance of her task. “Aphrodite,” he said, referring to the Goddess of love, beauty and sexuality, “You are in charge of making her exceptionally gorgeous. Put that mirror down, and look at me when I talk.” Aphrodite frowned and put away the compact mirror back into her Gucci bag. “And Hermes,” he said, referring to his son, who was the God of transitions and boundaries and the Messenger of the Gods, “You have the most important job of all. You will teach her to be both charming and deceitful. And curious”.

 Zeus’s eyes twinkled as he surveyed the attractive woman in front of him. “They have done well!” he thought, as his three kids entered the room. He was impressed with how quickly they had actioned his requests. “I’ll be sure to put up a status on Facebook, praising them.” he thought, as he slowly got up from his throne. He walked up to the woman who Hephaestus had helped him fashion out of clay. “You shall be called Pandora!” he exclaimed, as he beckoned the rest of his kids to join him on the steps. “This is an important day for all of us.” he said, his booming voice reverberating through the entire room. “So to mark this moment, we shall take a groupie.” he said, taking out his new ultra-wide smartphone, which had been specially gifted for this momentous occasion.

As his entire family huddled up for a groupie snap, Zeus smiled. Pandora was going to bring about the downfall of those vain humans.

gourpie_image copy

****

“WTF?” exclaimed Pro as Epi broke the news to him. “Not cool, man. Just not cool!” he said, shaking his head in disbelief. “But she’s so elegant and charming. She even added me first on Facebook. Surely, she can’t be that kinda girl.” Epi said, hoping that his brother wouldn’t disrupt the honeymoon plans that he had already made.  “She’s Zeus’s daughter. Remember that always. She could single-handedly destroy all of us.” said Pro, carefully scrutinising Pandora’s Facebook profile.

PanforasPofille

 

He had to admit that the girl was stunning. He was still wary about what Zeus and his pretty looking daughter. "But looks like Epi's fallen head over heels for her!" he thought, as he looked up from the iPad. His brother was looking at him with the puppy dog eyes that Pro knew he couldn’t refuse. “Fine, whatever! Send me your latest pictures. I’ll design a cracking wedding invite on Photoshop”, he said, giving Epi a high-five.

 ****

Zeus smiled slyly as he saw Pandora’s latest Instagram update.

Instagram_Pandora

It had the picture of a dazzling and elegant box, with beautiful hand painted designs on it.  Pressing “Heart-symbol” to show his like, he commented - “Aww! Thank you Pando! But remember what I said - You must never open it”. As he pressed the submit button on his iPhone keyboard, he thought to himself, “I hope Hermes has added enough curiousness in her blood!”.

 ****

Pandora was agitated. It’d been three months since the wedding, and she still hadn’t had a chance to open that beautiful box that Zeus had gifted them. And Epi seemed to be in no mood for a discussion about it. “If Zeus says we mustn’t open it, we must not. Period.” remained his standard reply every time she tried to bring up the topic. Frustrated, she’d started discussing about the box with her best friends via Google Hangout.  “Why would your dad give you a box if you are not supposed to see what’s in it?” asked her best friend, Acantha. “You should just unlock it and check what’s inside!” exclaimed her other buddy, Ourania. Pandora sighed. Her best friends spoke the truth, but she was worried about Epi. He’d be furious if he found out.

Unable to bear the stress, she tried opening it ever so slightly one day. She stood transfixed by a strong glowing light coming from inside the box. Before she could lift the rest of the lid, it sealed itself shut again.  But it wasn't before she captured an image of the box and posted it on Facebook with the caption - "Do I or Don't I?". And then she waited for her friends to suggest a solution.

PANDORA_FACEBOOK

Up in the throne room on Mount Olympus, Zeus laughed out loud and updated his status with a “Devil” emoticon. His trap was working.

****

Pro was outraged. He glared at his brother Epi, who cowered in the shadows. “I told you to be careful and alert!” he shouted, throwing a glass orb from his table onto the floor. Epi grimaced as the orb smashed into uncountable pieces on the stone floor. He knew his brother’s anger was justified. He’d trusted Pandora and she’d unleashed the unthinkable on the entire world.  Epi stared at Pandora’s latest update on Instagram. She was going to get an earful when he got back home.

Instagram Widget Pandora

****

As Epi entered the house, Pandora rushed towards him and hugged him tightly. Instantly, Epi felt his anger melt away. He looked into Pandora’s eyes and said, “You shouldn’t have opened it!”“I know!” she said, leading him to the PC where her Facebook page was open. Epi took one look at her latest Public share and gasped.

Pandora unleashes As Epi sat down at the PC to try to minimise the effect of the " unforgivable links"  that Pandora had unleashed on the world, he heard a gentle chime. Pandora had just got a new friend request. Curious to find out who it was, he clicked on the friendship request icon that was glowing. He smiled as he saw who had sent the request.

FriendRequest

"All is not lost!" he mused, as she clicked on the Confirm button.

************

 [This post is written for the Project 365 program at We Post Daily aimed at posting at least once a day, based on the prompts provided.   Today's topic was  - Anachronism (noun): an error in chronology; a person or thing that’s chronologically out-of-place. So I've done a more modern "technological satire" on the age-old ancient Greek story (or myth) of Pandora's box. Of course, I've taken some creative liberties with this]

P.S. - In case you're wondering, I've spent many hours making up those Facebook and Instagram mockups from scratch. If you enjoyed reading this, do hit the share button. Images of Pandora, her box, Epi, Pro, Zeus  - all are courtesy of Google image search.

The Social Network

the-social-network-503d2d7f8e7c1.png

London 

Phil’s right index finger scrolled up and down, indefinitely on the scroll button of his “Porsche” shaped mouse. Every few  seconds he stopped, seemingly taking a quick glance at what was written on the screen. Every other second, he continued to click the left mouse button to confirm his actions on the screen. He glanced at his watch. His report was due in a few hours. Though the stakeholder meeting wasn’t till Tuesday noon, with the looming long weekend for the Queen’s Golden jubilee celebrations, he had to make sure it was submitted by the end of day today. “Who allocates such mind-numbing number crunching jobs on Friday afternoon?” he thought as he continue to scroll through the almost infinite list of updates on his Facebook page. A like here, a like there, a smiley here and a frown-y emoticon there, he continued to do what he was well-known for, amongst his online friends for. Philip was a compulsive liker. All of his 1325 Facebook friends could rest peacefully assured that no matter, what they put up, be it a rant or a sarcastic comment, or even a outright accusation, they were guaranteed at least one like. Oh, and a favourite and re-tweet if they were on Twitter. Though he didn’t give his “compulsive disorder” any thoughts, he found it strange that some of the people on his “friends” list were concerned if there was a delay in his “liking” their update on Facebook. Deep down, Philip knew he wasn’t doing the right thing, and that he needed to actually read and understand the update before he decided whether to hit the like button or not. But that just seemed like a lot of hard work, for someone who had over 1000 friends on Facebook.  And so far, in the three years he’d taken this stand of “liking” everything that his “friends” put on FB and Twitter in a bid to be more popular, he was yet to make any grave errors in judgement. After all, he strongly believed that the people on his contact list had enough sense to put up only likeable stuff on social media networks. And his stand had paid its dividends too. He was more popular in the London social media circle, and people were constantly sending him friend invites and inviting him to groups and “social events”, which he rarely attended for the fear of being exposed as a compulsive liker. He glanced at the lower bottom corner of his laptop to check the time. His lunch hour had finished 15 minutes ago. As he was about to log out of Facebook, he noticed that one of his virtual friend’s had been tagged in a photo with his stunning blonde woman holidaying in the Bahamas. As he always did, he like the thumbs up button, adding another like to the photograph.

divider Mumbai

Rishab Singh clicked on the refresh button on the browser to load the updates. He glanced at the time. He still had 30 minutes to go before his late-shift finished. As much as he hated working these strange shifts at the call centre, he secretly enjoyed the fact that he could get off with some of his perversions without people being privy to them. As the senior technical support associate for a prominent IT firm, Rishab often accessed their client’s laptop and PC, remotely to troubleshoot and had access to their sensitive information. As a techie, he found it incredibly silly that people still enabled auto-logins to their emails and social media pages. Of course, he wasn’t complaining. It made his job of tapping into their personal details a lot easier. He loved to secretly stalk people on social media. Whilst he didn’t sell any of the information for money or harass them publicly, he got a certain adrenaline rush from secretly being part of their life. His recent client was a middle aged man from London, who seemed to be some sort of a compulsive liker on Facebook. This characteristic of his, made him all the more interesting to Rishab. One of Rishab’s favourite activities was going through the activity log of his victims. It gave him all the information about what they had liked, commented and viewed. He looked at the last activity that his present victim had engaged in on Facebook. It showed that he had liked a photo. He clicked on the image, and waited for it to load. He took a sip of the cola that he still had left from his dinner. His eyes opened wide as the image of a sexy blonde in a two piece black bikini filled the screen. “She looks fit. And hot!” he thought as he looked at the title of the album which said “Holidaying in the Bahamas”. Feeling a bit aroused, he quickly flipped to the next photo in the album. And then his eyes opened wider. This time, it wasn’t the woman who had caught his attention. It was the image of a man, he knew quite well. It was their organisation's VP from the Amsterdam office. “Such a lucky sod!” he thought, as he hit the logout button on Facebook. “Philip Thomas, are you sure you want to logout?” queried the browser. He hit yes, leaned back in his chair and adjusted his jeans. He was going to need to relieve himself soon.

divider

Amsterdam 

Julia Gaspar looked up from her desk and tucked away a strand of her unruly brunette hair behind her ear. She’d been distracted by a knocking sound from her phone. She glanced at her desk, where the phone rested in its cradle. The screen had lit up showing that there were some pending Facebook notifications. She sighed heavily. She was starting to rue the day that she’d let Tony convince her to create a Facebook account and download the app onto her phone too. Though she’d had the account for almost three years now, she’d never been an active user of Facebook or any other social media platforms. She preferred the more old fashioned way of communicating with friends, such as telephone calls and text messages. However her husband, Tony, was the complete opposite when it came to having a virtual presence. He had an account with every known social media platform and was literally online round the clock. So much so, that even switching his phone to vibrate mode at nights was not an option. It had to be put on silent, if they needed to get a good night’s sleep. Even so, she’d caught him secretly updating his status and replying to comments at wee hours in the morning, from under the comfort of the blanket. His addiction really bothered Julia, but despite her numerous complaints and requests, Tony had not paid any heed, and still continued to maintain a very active online presence.  One of the things that she hated about Tony’s Facebook-ing activities was that he shared almost every single information online. From what they had for dinner to where they were going to holiday, Tony considered very few things off limits to be shared with his “virtual buddies”, most of whom he had never even met. And lately, he had started tagging her too. Though she didn’t regularly check the notifications, she suddenly felt a strange urge to do so today. It was Friday noon after all and she could do with some distraction. Tony had been away on busienss for almost two weeks, and he was due to come back tomorrow morning. She was excited. Not just because she hadn’t seen him for a while. She also had a very special news to share, one she hoped would make him jump up and down with joy.

Julia clicked on the Facebook Icon on iPhone. The familiar globe sign showed that there were 63 unread notifications.  “It better not be another darn Farmville or Criminal Case invite!” she thought to herself, as her screen started filling up with the notifications. A quick glance through the list of notifications showed her that most of them were rubbish invites to these virtual games that seemed to have taken the online world by storm. As she was about to exit the app, she noticed a Red “1” next to the icon that seemed to have the silhouette of people. From her little experience of using Facebook, she knew that to be the friend request notification. Wondering who it could be, she clicked on the icon. It said “Sarah Cole has sent you a friend request!”. It said that the request wad 173 days old. Sarah was Tony’s secretary and Julia had met her on a couple of occasions at Tony’s office parties. Julia had summed up that Sarah was someone for whom the title of “Social Butterfly” worked aptly. She was pretty, and extremely friendly, and always the heart of every party. And from what Tony had mentioned, she was an extremely capable secretary too.

Overcome by curiosity, Julia clicked on the accept button on the request. This led her to Sarah’s timeline which was filled with photos of her recent holiday, which by the looks of it, she was still on. As she quickly skimmed through the photos of a scantily dressed Sarah, she suddenly felt embarrassed. And a bit weird. She felt like she was spying on someone she hardly knew. After all, Sarah’s personal life was none of Julia’s concern. Yes, she had accepted her friend request, but it wasn’t in Julia’s nature to go through someone else’s life. She knew what Tony’s response would be to her question. “If they’re happy enough to share it with the world, then it’s not spying!”. Almost absentmindedly, Julia continued to go through the photographs. “She looks stunning in that bikini”she thought as she glanced at a photo of Sarah sunbathing on the beach. As the next image from the album filled her 5” phone screen, her jaw dropped. Holding Sarah in his arms and frolicking with her on the beach in Bahamas, was the photo of her husband, Tony Gaspar.

divider

[This post is written for the Project 365 program at We Post Daily aimed at posting at least once a day, based on the prompts provided. The prompt for today was "“Do you feel like you “get” social media, or do you just use it because that’s where all your friends and family are?” As usual, I have "twisted" it]

Singletons - Meet your "invisible" partner

Before I get into this, I need to let you in on a little secret. Well, not exactly a secret, more like, there’s something you need to know about me. No, I’m not crazy…well, not yet anyway.  I’m an ardent fan of utilising technology in every day life, with a view to simplifying certain processes and speeding certain things up. But every now and then, I stumble across certain new apps, which to be honest, stump me. This is one such one.

Let me start with a bit of a preface. We all know that there are a lot of socio-cultural differences between the so-called Western world and their Asian counterparts. However there is one question that transcends boundaries, countries , religion, caste, creed and everything else. And that is, “Are you seeing anyone? / Are you still single?” Though previously unheard in Asia, particularly in India, these days it’s no longer considered taboo to have had a girlfriend / boyfriend (s) prior to getting married. And if you’re of marriageable age, then ideally you are expected to be in a serious relationship, if not married already.

Before we get into a heated debate, I am in no way saying that a marriage is the be all or end all of a relationship. Marriage is sometimes just a strengthening of the bond, sometimes its just some paperwork, other times it’s due to social compulsion. I still maintain my stand on the topic - Marriage, it’s not for every one. If you feel the need or want for it, then do it. If not, live together. Anyway, I digress.
Come to think of it, let’s maybe think of this as a story. We have a hero, say, Matt. Matt’s been single for a while. And he likes to mingle. Which is absolutely perfect. But at every  social gathering he goes to, all the “nosy Toms” want to know just one thing - “Why are you still single?”. Now, though it’s absolutely none of their business, Matt decides to take the polite approach and cooks up a story about his girlfriend, who he has been seeing for a while; about how it was unfortunate that she had to go overseas on a business trip; about how he misses her and he wishes she was there. But the problem is that the the nosy nosersons are quite “socially” active these days - which means unlike older times, they are more likely to spy on Matt’s social life through the already well-established “spy-networks” of Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and the likes.
Would you like an "invisible" partner?
Would you like an "invisible" partner? - Image courtesy www.invisiblegirlfriend.com

Which means that Matt now needs to cover his tracks. So in true James Bond style, Matt decides to use technology to help him. Unfortunately Matt is neither an engineer nor is that tech-savvy. Step in the “Invisible Girlfriend” app. Touted to be man’s next best invention since sliced bread (by the makers of course), the app can provide a range of relationship "tokens" to help keep the conversation going, and help Matt escape those judgemental looks from friends and family. So yes, coming back to the relationship prompts - the app provides a range of options from SMSes and  “emergency interaction” to what is now considered the “true sign of a relationship” - a Facebook relationship status change :) All Matt needs to decide is what subscription he needs to go for.

There’s the :

a. Just Talking - SMSes, automated calls and some gifts for $9.99 per month

b. Getting Serious  - Just talking plus Facebook relationship changes and real voicemails and girls all for a paltry $29.99 per month

c. Almost Engaged - This offers all the advantages of Getting Serious plus “custom girlfriend characterisation” and live phone calls, all for just $49.99. Matt can even pick a "girlfriend" from the company’s “extensive library”

Now, is that WOW or what? (holding up a sarcasm board)

So that’s that then; for the millions of Matts out there in the world who want to enjoy their single life whilst “maintaining a potentially infallible story-line”,  well, they have the invisible girlfriend app, if they can afford it. Alternatively, they could just do what the rest of us normal people do and get in a real relationship or better yet, just ask them to mind their own business.

Frankly, I’m not quite sure what the makers of the app were thinking when they came up with this ridiculous notion. Maybe it was the result of one drunken night and lots of "creative" single men.

Here’s the link to the website, if you are keen to explore the options. Bear in mind that they’ve not gone live yet - wonder why :)