Reactions to my Facebook DP (Display Picture): What’s Changed?!

Posted: November 25, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

I change my Facebook Display Picture, also known as the DP, every once in a while.

There is no system, no pattern, no specific period. Just when I feel like it. Perhaps when some new photos have been taken, and I find one of those interesting enough, to make it my DP.

Most times when a new DP is chosen and the update goes out, there are a few likes, a few comments, on that post.

A very typical reaction, that one.

However this time, it was different.

Few days after the Social Wavelength party recently, I put up one of my photos taken then, as my DP. This was the photo that I used:

The responses I got on putting this photo as my DP, were truly surprising.

While there were the usual likes and “nice pic” kind of comments, there were other stronger reactions.

One of my friends wrote: “Hate”

Another said “it was a bad ass photo”

I was told via a comment that “a person of my stature should not be endorsing smoking..”

Again, another said, “Bad message, Sir..”.

Besides the few comments on FB, there were three direct messages on FB suggesting that I should remove this pic.

And TWO SMS messages too!

And finally since Diwali was just following, there was a card that I got, where a dear relative also added her wish, that “may I give up smoking this year”.


Yes, I do smoke the cigar, perhaps 3-4 times a year. Okay, at most 6 times a year. But that’s it.

I don’t smoke cigarettes. And I smoke nothing else, the whole of the rest of the year.

So the reaction, on Facebook, via SMSes, and that card, were all surprising, to say the least.

It was not the first time that I have used a pic with a cigar on Facebook. There have been other photos in the past such as:

At no time in the past, have I got anywhere close to the kind of reactions that I got this time.

So I wondered about the possible reasons. What’s changed this time?

  1. Is it really about some kind of stature thing, and giving some kind of message?
  2. Is the anti-tobacco consciousness grown a lot more, and people are just a lot more verbal with their strong views, which they express now?
  3. To my smoking the odd cigar or to my putting up some kind of photos, I had always got reactions from my very close family in the past. But this time, it was beyond the close family. So I wonder if the regular exchange that we have on this medium, on various topics, makes a lot of us “feel” closer in terms of our relationships? Do we feel it to be okay to make some suggestions / comments to our friends, which earlier might have been a little more ‘personal’ type, in nature?
  4. Do these people just care for me a lot? All of those who said that the pic was not good, are very dear friends. And they are my well-wishers too. So it could easily have been their genuine caring for me, to want me to not indulge in habits of this kind.

I am not sure what was or were the reason(s) for the responses that I got.

I considered changing the DP quickly, on reading those responses. But I did not change it.

At one level, I do want to be free of the ‘responsibility’ that my actions need to be a “message” for others. I certainly want to live life on my terms, as much as possible. If I had taken off the pic immediately on seeing those reactions, I would have placed myself in the position of having to keep a certain appearance. Which is largely acceptable to others. But which I may NOT be.

I did not want to go there.

Just because social media makes us a little more visible (of course, to the extent that one desires oneself to become) does not mean that one’s every move needs to be subject to scrutiny.

For the record, I do NOT smoke all year / all day round, as I have clearly mentioned.

I do NOT believe smoking does any good to people. I am concerned about the number of people in our office who smoke a fair number of cigarettes daily. I am concerned for them, for their healths, for their future. I wish they’d start giving up the habit.

For now, I still retain the desire to have an occasional cigar, and indulge to that extent. I may choose to give it up some day. That day hasn’t arrived just yet..

Oh, and by the way, I HAVE changed the display picture now.. much after the reactions came!

  1. thepeerless says:

    I was online the other day when you were receiving those comments. There were couple of guys who were trying to portray as if you had committed a sin. I was visibly amazed but then I reminded myself that it’s India and we have to expect such things. You look great in this pic. And smoking 6 or even 10 cigars a year is trivial issue. Cheers 🙂

    • Sanjay Mehta says:

      The last reason that I want to consider is “these Indians, they will butt in anywhere and criticise anything”.
      That would be such an easy way out for any dilemma.
      That is most certainly not the reason I would look at or consider.

      I stand by the few options of why the reactions came, and the answer lies somewhere within those options.
      At a level, all of these are interesting observations on the changing society, and the social interaction pattern that we live in, today.

  2. love mahabubani says:

    I love this dp. I would’ve preferred if you had your hot grey moustache on as well. Please grow your moustache back.

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