Friday, November 03, 2006

Socialising online - courtesy Orkutrya

Is Orkut creating a world of online socialites? Just the other day I read a piece on 'air-kissing' in a Mumbai tabloid. Orkut may not give us scope for an air-kiss, but the platoform it provides to network (read socialise) may result in deliberately flattering concerns.

e.g a "Hey..wassup?" would sound more personal and genuinely concerned if said through a phone-call. Through Orkut, every other person who has 'added' you, does it, if they have no other business, online.

If you're birthday is on the cards, Orkut lists it out for you on your home-page. A friend of mine recently stopped displaying his date of birth on his Orkut profile. Rightfully so, I believe. You take the pains of putting up your birthday on your profile for others to see, so that Orkut can take new pains to remind them to wish you. What about genuine memories? Painstakingly noting down your birthday, someone would give you a call, no matter how distant he/she may isn't that a sweetest good morning wake-up to receive on a birthday morning? 'You remembered?! Thank you so much!'

Another case is of 'simply hello' greetings. There was a time, when we'd call up friends, speak to them...empathise with their worries, share our daily troubles, giggle over silly jokes, all in real-time. Today, greetings, feelings, hi's and hellos are well...'scrapped'. Now, out of all the things in the world, is that the only word they could create for it? A 'scrap'?

Scraps have ushered in a world of artificial greetings. Just like those air-kisses in Page 3 parties. Yes, Orkut has helped us remain in touch with people - a single click is all it takes. But it has also opened the doors to comments from people you're not concerned with, people who're just trying so hard out there to get a piece of your attention. And testimonial threats? Read more about them here - Orkutrya

There have been times, when I've seen the first 10 scraps saying, "Hey...wassup?", "Hi..kya chal raha hai..?", " was your day?"
While all this attention might seem flattering initially and you might be bowled over by the fact that so many people really are concerned about how your day was and are you being well-fed or not, the truth unfortunately is, that MOST OF THE TIME, they're posted by people with nothing else to do (read Orkutryas - The Orkut Dogs...hatttt kuttaaa!!). Yes, Orkut is addictive and people are keen to increase the size of their social networks. So, is it true that the more people you got on your friends list, the more popular you are? Or are you more friendly? Or..wait a're so famous??

I see genuine concern missing in the world of scraps. Genuine thoughts, feelings, meeting up, casual visits, courtesy calls, etc are slowly fading away as we get used to a world of web-cams, e-mail, e-cards, etc.

There's nothing like talking to a friend over a cup of coffee, laughing, giving that customary high-five, clapping your hands into each other, when you enjoy a good joke, laughing till your sides burst...

We're increasingly getting absorbed into a lifestyle where we're constantly obsessed with things that are out of our reach - virtual friends, celebrity lifestyles, etc. Orkut is great no doubt, to find a world, which we thought was lost once, in memory lane. But I think we must let Orkut be, what it's meant to be - a means to stay in touch. A warm-hearted conversation can only be made in person.

The world is in our fingertips. Place those fingers in the hands of a friend. The warmth you receive, is priceless. And a scrap is, well, a scrap.

The following lines from Lage Raho Munnabhai, said by 'Jhanviji' [:-) ] are memorable -

"Serial ke kirdaron ka haal to pataa hai, par Ma ka haal poochne ki fursat hi kahaan hai...
Internet mein duniyan se toh touch mein hain, magar pados mein kaun rehta hai? Jaante tak nahin!
Mobile, landline sabki bharmaar hai...lekin jigri dost tak pahunche, aise taar kahaan?"