Posted: 6 Jumad al-Thani 1431, 20 May 2010
The big question is, 'What is social networking and how is it useful?'
Of course you will hear the usual bleating saying, 'It is so nice to know what my sister is doing....blah, blah.'
So ask this person, 'Why can't you send your sister an email asking what she is doing and she can respond to you. Or even better, if you can, call your sister and talk to her.' But no, I must talk to my sister in a space where it is not only the sister who is listening but almost anyone who cares to listen, even if that person is a total stranger. So is it about your concern for your sister or is it something else?
So also in this space are pictures which really have no place outside the home - like the pictures showing you hugging your sister or wife or whoever! And so on and so on. I don't think I need to describe all that there is to people who put it there in the first place.
Yes, of course there are controls. Tell me all about them. Tell me also how come almost nobody uses them. How many Facebook profiles do you know who have the maximum control activated where only their immediate family can see them? And of course in the end, all control is only as good as the techies and geeks on the Facebook site allow. After all they can access all that information anyway.
So what is really being achieved by Facebook, Twitter and so on? (Twitter?? Whoever coined that term was clever. Talk about under the belt. Who twitters? A twit!! - but then I suppose a twit doesn't know that he is a twit, right?)
So what is achieved?
What is achieved is what would be the equivalent of peeping in through your window. Wanting to know what you are doing all the time. I want to know what you are doing all the time and I want you to know what I am doing all the time.
Intrusion into privacy when it is done against your will is unpleasant. So what is better? Get you into a state of mind where you will volunteer to tell people all about your internal organs on your own. See the change? An intruder is an intruder only when he intrudes against your will. If you invite him in, then he is a guest, not an intruder. Same person, same you but different rules. And that's what it is all about, the rules of engagement.
So is it 'social networking' or is it 'social engineering?'
The purpose is to change the rules of the society. Break barriers. Destroy the boundaries that protect us.
And where does this lead to? Addiction and intoxication. Addiction to seeing what others are doing and telling others what you are doing on a daily, hourly, minute by minute basis. And being intoxicated with the false feeling that you are so interesting that people are really interested in what you are doing. Not realizing or willing to believe that these are the actions of other intoxicated people.
You don't like the word 'intoxication'? Just don't log onto your Facebook or Twitter account for two days and monitor your heartbeat, blood pressure, tremor in your mouse, whatever and you will see what I mean.
And all this for what? What is achieved with the time that you spend reading about other's adenoids and telling them about yours? Incidentally I know what adenoids means and that you don't talk about them. But let us not mention what facebookers really talk about!
So what did you achieve? Just ask yourself this question, 'What did I achieve by being on Facebook and Twitter (or whichever of these infernal social networks you are on) over the past month, year or whatever period.' Remember this is a serious question because you Muslim/ah are spending your time (life) doing it. And that makes it among the first questions that you will have to answer to Allah. So what did you achieve? Prepare the answer. You will need it.
Social networking is social engineering. Its purpose is to change the values and ethics of people. This is done, in its most benign form, to encourage you to indulge more and more in the consumerist society that is all consuming. We think we are the consumers. But we are in reality the consumed. Just think, how many of you buy things, see shows, go to restaurants (and other places), like or dislike things because of campaigns on Facebook and Twitter? See what is happening? Your minds are invaded, your thoughts are influenced, and consequently your actions are manipulated and you may not even realize it.
Today Muslims the world over are very angry with the latest offensive of the Facebook. But an impulsive reaction will hardly do us any good. Just staying off of the offensive site for one day, as many have advocated, will only highlight our capitulation to it.
It is time we rethink what are we doing with our lives and say no to social engineering. It is time to get off of Facebook, Twitter, and other similar sites that are destroying us from within.