Today no matter who you are, chances are you part of some online networking sites in some form or other. I am too, and maybe a little more than I should be. But there are still many things of the online networking site, which I cannot understand. Hence this is my attempt to figure out how they work and maybe find some answers.
One of the sites that I participate a lot in (maybe a little more than I should), is Facebook. But there are still many a things about it which I just cannot fathom in it. Firstly its this “Like” button on Facebook. You can write any status message on Facebook and lo and behold you have 20 people clicking on the “like” button. Now the last I knew, the word like meant to find something attractive or enjoyable. Now tell me if I have written “I am sad” and you click Like button, or I say “I feel like crying” and you click on the same button, then what are you trying to tell me? Are you telling me you like me sad? That my crying is attractive to you? If not, then why just go blindly clicking on my status messages? Honestly do you even think before you click? Honestly speaks volumes of your intelligence and/ or your friendship with me and yet me supposed to remain their friend. Of course what is worse than this, is people sending you friend requests which you accept and then they dont bother ever saying hi to you at all. I mean do you really think it makes you popular to have 2247 friends and hence you add people irrespective of the fact that you will never talk to them?
The second thing about Facebook which makes me wonder is this “Fan” Page. I understand when you telling me to be a fan of some star, a company, that is you being a third party? But don’t you think its a sign of desperation when you send someone “Fan” link to become a fan of you? I mean who in God’s name goes out and says become a fan of me? I mean I do admit I love it if someone tells me they like my work or my writing, and secretly I do desire they become my fan, but to send a “fan” page of yourself is the heights of desperation. At least if you want so, ask a friend to send so for you. At least will be less desperate and chances are you will get them. I can assure you, most of the people who click on the “Fan” Page that you have are doing so out of sheer pity for you. I mean imagine Shah Rukh Khan going out there and begging people, please be my fan? Sounds stupid right? Then why do you?
Now there is another site, Orkut where I had joined sometime back. Now when I was new to the new medium my brother taught me how to use it, and he told me that how many scraps and friends you have is the latest form of showing how popular you are. Now unlike my brother I was never the popular one, and I was not ready to let an online medium prove the same, was I? Hence I wrote in my profile, please scrap me if you want to be my friend cause its supposed to be the latest measure of popularity and if you make me popular enough I will add you. So in all kindness, most who saw my profile, started scrapping me and adding me as their friend. Now me responded back by accepting their friendship request (I was told and convinced by my well-wisher that saying no to a friendship request was a sin so grave that I would rot in hell). So after I accept, we scrap each other for a few days and then like all things end when the novelty disappears, the scrapping ends after a few days. Now I will tell you where the problem arose. These people who have added me, whom I know nothing beyond some name they had told me, not even a picture to assist me (some people here add filmstar’s pictures against their name…am yet to figure out why though. Are they trying to tell them look like them or are they telling me they their fans? Well whatever the are trying to tell, its quite bizzarre) go change their profile and write some exotic name against their profile(I have seen names like “some moments n some ppl cant b forgotten”, “the forgotten for sure”, “poo flower”, “scent of revolution”, etc. Between you and me am sure it is a revenge game on parents. I mean more often than not parents name the kid, so I feel by putting such esoteric nonsensical names up its their way of saying “I reject”. Honestly can there be any other reason for writing such names? If yes, please enlighten me.). And lo and behold after some days they scrap me back. And am supposed to figure out who they are. Tell me something, can you do it? So I have to search all my old scraps (and I have crossed the holy 5500 mark) and figure out who is this new found friend who is scrapping me again. And I assure you its no easy task and answer back, cause if you don’t the person calls you rude, etc etc. Can you tell me a plight worse than this? But such is the online world.
Orkut has one more problem and the reason why I have taken a raincheck on my usage of that site. People can just simply copy your profile. Now it is a slightly accepted fact that I have a slight amount of wit, and can write reasonably well. Now there are other people, who I guess wants to be so but cannot be so. Hence they simply go copy your profile. I had one with Mr Anil D’Souza from Udupi who did it before, and I had to rewrite the whole thing again and now one Ms Swapna P now. I do agree copy is the best form of flattery but this????? What is worse is not only do they copy it, and give me no credit, but then on top they actually thank people when they are complimented on their profile. The former actually had 3 testimonials written as to how funny he is and the profile was given as proof for the testimony. Can someone go tell people that stapling of clothes when they tear and making microwave made tea is patented by me?
Now one more strange behaviour of people whom you meet in this online space is when they are trying to get to know each other. I don’t know about others, but it has often happened to me, especially if I add someone from the opposite sex, where right after adding, they start a chat online, and it somehow feels like i am in an interrogation room, where they have this list of questions which they ask and I need to answer. . I actually once told someone, send me the quetionnaire and I will fill it up and send it back. Of course my humour and sarcasm, like many times fell flat. 🙂
The latest craze in the online world is Twitter. Today people ask for your twitter name before they ask your name, such is its craze. Now for the illiterate it’s a site where you can micro-blog and update your status and people follow you. Again like the other sites your popularity is measured by your followers. The trick here is you should be following less number of people than people following you. Else you would have performed a cardinal sin and completely discarded as a very unpopular person. Now I understand when people update that they going for a movie. I mean your followers might respond back asking you how the movie is, etc leading to some conversation. But to update messages like “I am going for bath”, “I am having tea” is simply beyond my limited understanding. Just what are you trying to achieved? Do you want to tell me you are clean and take bath daily? Am I supposed to ask you how fresh you feel? Or what? Then why update me on your bathing ritual? Or you having tea? Are you inviting me over? If not, how do I care? Can someone please tell me why people update such useless trivia as status messages?
Now the last but not the least – Linkedin. That site was created for networking of professionals. It was a fantastic medium where you could create your reputation by being recommended by your peer group, bosses, juniors, etc and a very good way to build your professional reputation among a group of people who might not have otherwise known you. This was really good, and here your reputation depended a lot on the recommendations you received for your professional achievements. But lo and behold, did you feel we will sit at that and now make ourselves popular like we did in orkut, twitter and facebook? So you would very soon find yourself being bombarded by requests to recommend people, who forget ever working with, you don’t even know beyond their name. And best is when you tell them you don’t know what they do and have never worked with them, they coolly answer back, please see my profile and you will know what I do. In other words here too, I really don’t care if you have never worked with me or I could be the laziest, most unscrupulous, inefficient employee but you need to use your creative writing skills and make some story about me as to how I am a model employee and God’s gift to the corporate world . I don’t even want to dare ask why I should resort to such means, but then such is life.
I know all the above should be reason enough for me to give up my tryst with the online medium, what makes it worse is when you read how people have met their soulmates online and got married, etc and all I encounter are the above situations. 🙁 But then I guess me the eternal optimist live in hope – Hope that someday this bizarre world will make some sense to me too 😀