LondonPhil’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.
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.
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.
[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]