I am a Facebook addict, being a teenager. When I started using it, people did tell me it would be addictive, but I did not think so. I know talking about how it is not desirable to share photos of what you had for lunch the day before or what you may have the day after is all too clichéd. So, here is a teenager’s point of view.

Recently my mom was talking to me about an article about the average number of Facebook friends a person has: it is around 200.

When you get into a college, you are judged based on your gab, your cognitive ability — and the number of Facebook likes you get. Yes, the morning discussion will probably be about the three-digits or more thumbs up that a girl got for her highly photoshopped face, or a boy got for some Yolo swag thing that he did (or rather shouldn’t have done).

What the average teenager does not realise is that all of this is very superficial. The unwitting teen thinks the number of likes is based on the number of people who like the picture, or dumber still, the number who love him. Nope, that’s not what this war is about. Some of you might already know this and try to steel yourself from this. But it’s hard, considering that these numbers just loom on the screen. Because it does feel good when you get so many likes.

To all those sceptics out there, you might think it has no bearing on you. But, when people like your status or picture, there is just that tiny smile tugging at the end of your lips. It’s a weapon that boosts your self-confidence. It’s not reality. But hey, fake it till you make it, is the way of the world. So for all those people who want to garner more likes, here are a few ground rules to follow.

This is a war with yourself. There are very few people that actually like pictures because they are genuinely good. It is in fact a transaction that you can’t really see, and you will realise this when a person whose picture you liked, suddenly likes some random picture of yours. This is not always true of course, especially for people who have too many ‘likers’ to keep track of. So what you need to do is this: thumbs up for everything. Literally. Liberally. Like the pictures of every random person irrespective of whether you think the status or photo is great or downright stupid. And see your investment pay off.

When posting pictures, always post those with a member of the opposite gender, preferably in the night. Girls — with little clothes on, and guys — on a bike with sunglasses. Watch the OMG factor!! you are so hot!! and other comments sweet enough to give you diabetes, flow right in.

Pucker up. Pouting is all the rage now, try that if you are starved for locations to take photographs. Or try kids. Take a picture of your display of affection for a kid. Guaranteed like a magnet.

The most difficult method is to actually sit and make friends, if you are so “like” minded. This is especially hard for introverts like me. But there is a substitute: you could send friend requests to random people or accept requests from stalkers, that is, if you consider getting more likes to be of more importance than a serial killer knowing if you like #broccoli, which is probably the basis of the 200 friends everyone has.

It’s really sad. The fact that we subject ourselves to the harsh judgment of others so blatantly. We can also attribute suicides caused by low self-esteem to such pressures. It hits us that we are so connected but so tragically alone. With the advent of smartphones, this has become altogether more pronounced. The advantages of social networking are enormous. You can read about the next party or concert, Rahul Gandhi’s interview, Justin Beiber’s DUI or the dreaded confession page, where some anonymous person thinks they can decide your future with their opinion.

Then, these pages that ask you to like their post to signify one prayer or one drop of water for a starving child in Africa. It’s not like beings are waiting up above just to see if you have paid attention to that picture. We can all agree that they have much more interesting things to do. Instead, if we actually bothered to get out once in a while, to care, as humanly as possible, it would mean so much more. Sooner or later, we will realise that there are much more pressing issues to be depressed about than the sweet wonder of figuring out whether you have managed to impress a miniscule fraction of the community.

Because all the emoticons in the world would not beat a real, natural/man-made curve that straightens everything.

anna.sneha042@gmail.com

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