Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Future of Facebook

Any comments about the future are risky. The reason is obvious. If your prediction is wrong, you might be condemned and if you are right, you won’t get any prizes, in fact, no one might even acknowledge you. But this is not right from a moral point of view because both these reasons demonstrate human weakness, in the former case, the weakness of fear and in the latter, the weakness of unchecked ego.

I shall therefore proceed with this post about the future of Facebook. At least my Facebook.

In the beginning, Facebook was a revelation. Suddenly, I know what my friends and family are up to. Suddenly I get to connect not only with old friends from school but also with some vague celebrity of some sort that I am actually not very close with, but just merely an acquaintance at best due to the nature of my work. But the feeling was one of vague superiority, although I did not get into the race in having the most number of friends amongst my friends. At least not that vain.

As the experience of Facebook progressed, I became more discerning and stopped the rate of adding friends. But it is still a great tool to keep in touch with some friends and activities, such as Go related activities or board game related activities which I enjoy. I also enjoy the photos and stories posted by friends, some of them very inspirational. I also posted many photos and activities to share with my friends.

However, I only realized recently a few things on my Facebook activities. Not that I run an analytics about it (which I believe those guys at Facebook has) but just a reflection on my Facebook activities. I realized the following:

1. At the most, I communicate and participate in the activities of a small handful of my friends. I believe the number to be no more than 50 active participations. The rest are inactive. Their status and posts do pop up in my wall but I have no participation in them, sometimes not even interest. They have no consequences whatsoever in my life.

2. I sometimes get a feeling of disgust, to put it less mildly, at some posts. With all due respects, these posts are generally religious in nature. I know that the intent is good, the spreading of religious wisdom etc. but most of the time, it gets on my nerve. It gets preachy and gives me a holier-than-thou kind of feeling. My believe is religion should be a private affair, between you and God, something that you just believe and do, just do good, not talking good.

3. A show off affair. Yes, indeed it often feels like that. I myself is guilty of it sometimes. The need to show off is a result of an inferiority complex. The difference between showing off and sharing is one fine line. Sharing pictures of what you had for dinner in a particular restaurant and recommending the food because it is good is not show off. It is sharing. On the other hand, showing the food you eat in a business class flight is showing off.

I think Facebook, or at least my Facebook, will eventually become:

1. A network of very small group of family and friends where everyone in the group wants to know what each other are up to and not minding the food or vacation picture you put up, not to mention baby pictures (aarrgghh!). For me this group is at most around 50 people who are really close with me. This includes Facebook friends who are actively participating in my Facebook activities or those whom I participate in actively.

2. Facebook will eventually turn into a marketing tool, and a good one. And this is the reason to buy Facebook stocks because I think there is tremendous upside. I will find myself member of groups that interests me, such as board games, and would like to keep updated on the activities of the group. I might eventually make some purchases because of it. The main difference is the sincerity of the group. For example, the Boardgamecafe group is marvelous and superbly well run. I truly enjoy reading about their activities and explore the games that they played. This is a bunch of sincere board gamers who love to share their boardgame experience. Another example will be Go related groups, such as GoGameGuru, another superbly run company.

As such, the future of my Facebook will be one where I will have a very limited number of “friends”. This will also avoid annoying others with my posts the same way that some posts annoy me. I will keep in a separate group some people that interests me, people that I want to know their development and what is happening with them. But these people shall be spared from some of my posts meant for sharing with my group of close family and friends. I will also participate in groups that interest me, groups where I can contribute to and be active in. I think this will make my Facebook activities more meaningful and relevant.

The rest are crap.

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The Watery Worlds: Kerala’s Backwaters, Ha Long Bay and Venice

The natural progression for the travel journal after Vienna should be Venice but since we did not spend much time in Venice and since we just visited Ha Long Bay, might as well I do a two in one. And then as I started to write, I remembered how the experience in Ha Long Bay reminded me of the experience in the Backwaters of Kerala. We have similarly spent one night on the boat in the Backwaters as we did in Ha Long Bay and we did cruised and enjoyed the same carefreeness, if such a word exists.

Ha Long Bay is picturesque and the sights are pretty amazing. But that place felt very touristy and lacking in some character. The Backwaters, although there are also many tour operators there, the environment did not feel as congested as Ha Long Bay. The atmosphere was more relaxed and there are tons of character. But perhaps I am not comparing apple to apple. In the Backwaters, we had a whole boat to ourselves with our own captain and private cook. And it also costs much less than the Ha Long Bay trip.

Comparatively, I will visit the Backwaters again without having to think but I don’t think I want to return to Ha Long Bay. Picture to picture, the Backwaters does not seems at all comparable to those magnificent limestone hills of Ha Long Bay but there is a natural calm to the Backwaters, and definitely much more authentic.

What about Venice? A completely different animal altogether. It does not have the natural surroundings of the Backwaters nor Ha Long Bay but instead is surrounded by many beautiful buildings with some very nice architecture. Although it is somewhat a tourist city, in itself it has a lot of life. It is a real city where real people live and work and has a life. The way the canals run through those beautiful old buildings makes it one of the most beautiful cities I have visited. We did not spend enough time in Venice but will I return to Venice? Definitely.

The Backwaters is a small town on water. Venice is a city on water. Ha Long Bay is a tourist destination on water.

Pictures say a thousand words, so here they are.

VENICE, ITALY

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BACKWATERS, KERALA, INDIA

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HA LONG BAY, VIETNAM

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halong10So what’s your take?

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