It was an ordinary evening in my computer lab, sometime back when I was in the end of my second year engineering. One of my friend asked me to join orkut. He said he has sent a request to my yahoo email.
I was hearing that name for the first time. I was completely clueless on what it is or what it has to do with me. Then, one of my another friend beside me, sitting in front of his computer in the same lab said that he found his very old friend with whom he did his second standard in Madurai. He also said, using his profile, he found all his lost friends after the schooling.
Using his profile, he found all his friends..
These sentences were Greek and Latin to me. I logged in to my yahoo mail to check what request he has sent me. It was a mail which said that my friend is in this network and he would like to invite me and discover millions of friends. It also ensured me that, I’ll be able to find my friends and keep in touch with them.
I was wondering that when I have all of their residence address, land line phone numbers along with their birthdays and their father’s name written securely in the thin plastic covered diary with some LIC or Indian Bank or State Bank of India logo printed on its cover, why at all I need something like this orkut-workut to keep in touch with friends?
I clicked the link which was in the email with the logo of orkut in the left. A new page opened in the Internet Explorer 6.0 of my Windows 2000 operating system. I didn’t realize that, this page into which I was going to create my profile is going to change the perception of what we call “keeping in touch” with the friends.
It was the beginning of the social networking era in my life. It was the first time, I’ve been introduced to this stranger called “Social Networking”. The stranger was very few in number, when I started getting acquainted with him. Even I was unaware that I was into “Social Networking”
But with the course of time, I’ve scaled myself with the internet. With its drastic growth in all seepages of human life, I’ve been able to grow in par with it. Four years back, I was still in the Paleolithic age of noting down the phone numbers and address in the pocket diary which we used to get from the near by “Potti kadai” (Petty Shop) or from the nearby stationary shops. But now, I do not even care to look into the diaries. I even remember fighting with my sister for the biggest diary with all the provisions of writing birthdays for most number of friends.
But now, online world is changing devastatingly. It is competing with its own status. Today social networking websites are everywhere. You open your inbox in any email service, it can be either Gmail or Yahoo., you would have got few twenty mails from various friends asking you to ‘join their network’. Orkut was the only ‘friendship making’ site I know earlier. I still know many of my friends having an ‘account’ in multiple social networking sites. It is the excitement and urge to see what’s new in it, that makes people join the network.
My second encounter with such a networking site was the Facebook. Yes, I shamelessly accept that I have an account in that too. Now-a-days, it has become a question of status. When you are not in any of such sites, the whole world looks at you as a loser. You may be subjected to not-fit-to-be-a-person look. Girls will look at you and throw such a cheap stare of He doesn’t have one (account I was referring to!). When you are in a get-together, when parting, they say, “I’ll share the photos in Orkut/Facebook. Do leave comments”. When you don’t have an account, you look insane. You look blank.
And this Farmville thingy is quite irritating; many of my friends are sending me goats, lambs, monkeys and all kinds of animals to me in the FB! God, I’ve not used it till now. And very humble apologies for all my friends whose animals I ignored. I even remember someone asking me to be a neighbor in the Farmville and even I can gift them a sheep! Dude, I’m not a farmer!! (hehe on a lighter note :))
I can name a few of them, after Orkut and Facebook, and this list goes on like Mingle box, Friendster, Hi5, My space, Bebo, ibibo, Netlog, WAYN, Yaari, Fropper, Linkedin and these whooping websites grow on and on and on. Actually, these social networking sites enables us to find friends but with the growth of such sites, one day we will find ourselves lost in the networking sea.
After this entire networking buzz, there comes another monster that usurps our life into the networking ocean. This discourages you to fill much information like interests, movies you like and all. But it asks you to keep information short. Yes…and the status messages you share must not exceed 140 characters. By now most of you would have hit the nail Yes it is Twitter! People do find many of the others whom they like and ‘follow’ them
Initially I had the least interest in Twitter. But slowly once I started getting familiarize with it, I started tweeting, and use hashtag for tweets. I follow people and many of them follow me. So this social networking has brought in many new lingos.
“What ya…orkutting ugh?”
“Did u see my tweet last night?”
“I’m following her in twitter!”
“Put it in Orkut!”
“I tagged u in one of your pics…”
So this thing has changed the way people associated with each other. I should accept that I found many of my friends whom I have lost in contact with them after school, through this social networking thingy. I do not deny the fact that it enables you to keep in touch, but what I insist is that, too much of anything is bad. Almost all computer users show their activities happening in their life through these mediums. Everybody share photos of marriage, get together, family outings, office parties, tours, birthday celebrations, International tours and everything that’s happening in their life in the orkut. And moreover these days I get lots of innovative marriage invitations in my inbox which have been designed with relevance to Orkut and Facebook. The powerpoint presentation will have the screen shot of their Orkut profiles!
So this has become the medium of letting people know what they are up to currently and what they are going to do in the future through status updates. Indeed it’s a very good sign of how technology has seeped into human life’s small pores and the permeation persists as long as the internet exits.
It hasn’t made people’s life easier, but it has made their life vulnerable to threats in various forms! A simple “Hi your DP looks cute, can we be friends?” kinda scrap in orkut seems to be harmless, but many of them are not aware that how unsafe that scrap can be and it may even lead to end of life. Many cases of social networking frauds and murders have been registered in the Indian courts. It has also incubated the rate of internet crimes for its considerable rise.
Technology development has both its pros and cons. It is to be handled with utmost care. It is upto us to use it safely. We all know that a fire can be used to bring light to someone’s life and it can also prove ominous to one’s life as well.
So, I would say that, too much of anything will lead to destruction in its value. So be socially well and groomed but see to it that, it doesn’t cross your secure borders.
I still remember that my grandfather used to have accounts in multiple banks. But now many of them have accounts in multiple websites!
Well, nothing much to say. I can see “India ‘Sign’ing”.
P.S: Wish U all a Happy & Prosperous New Year 2010