Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Avatar

Long long time ago; Well, not really that long ago, I'd put in a piece on the perils of social networking. Right here - 'The perils of the social network'.

Yup! FB is addictive. And with Buzz on Gmail, I guess I am a vociferous entity online, completely against the demure dame I am in real life. Ok, don't blame me, but demure dame seemed too good to resist writing! Anyway, on one of my thoughtful jaunts, which I somehow undertake only on FB, I posted a random thought - 'What have I turned into'. The responses were immediate. 'Crackpot', ' Caffeine-addicted thought centered maniac', 'human being', and so on. While I guffawed and grunted at these answers, what amazed me, was the ripple effect a single inane thought could trigger. And that is indeed the power of Web 2.0, as it is called. Within minutes news spreads, the feedback is immediate, almost, and the collaborative effect is huge.

But this same thought also made me think again. Yeah, I do nothing else but think! So, I'd just recently seen the movie Avatar, and the concept of a man telebonding with his blue Navi Avatar was cool. But interestingly, we're all doing the same thing. One human being has numerous Avatars. One on Orkut, one on Facebook, one on Blogger, one on twitter, one on Flickr, one on Picasa. Sometimes, they're all one avatar. But many-a-time, since these avatars are not created concurrently, they are all different, and also have privacy rules set such that specific target audiences alone get to see em! Oh yeah! I am many Navi people :)

All this is great. Jason Bourne has 5 passports, and I have 5 identities online. But there have to be flip sides right? Like Bourne has the passports and cash, but no memory and a Carlos/ Stepan Spalko/ Fadi in hot pursuit. So, social networking, while great has one major flip. And that is the fact that this cuts out real social bonding. And the funniest thing happened to me some time back. I got an FB friend request from this chap in my class. I knew his face, but we'd never really interacted. And now, I was in a fix. If I'd ignored the request, I'd look like a conceited snob. If I accepted, well, how could I, I didn't really know him! But then, out of guilt at not being more socially active in trying to know everyone around me, I accepted the request. And then, Tadaaaa..... the next day, I went to get myself a coffee, and this chap walked right in front of me. I smiled, a big smile of recognition, of friendship, of long lost kinship, of.. ok, you get the point. And what happened next, made me, rather makes me want to go jump off into that water body behind the chai wali tapri. (More on chaai wali tapri later, right now, focus on big picture please). So, as I flashed my 1000 watt smile, this guy, my newly added friend on FB, gave me a puzzled, perplexed look. A look that said in no less words, 'DO I KNOW YOU?????'

And that is where the perils of the social network came crashing down on me. I decided, 'No more conscience/ guilt driven social networking. For me, Facebook shall no longer remain just my book of FACES. Before accepting a friend request, I will ensure I say one real HI to the target first and then Facebook him/ her. At least I can prevent jumping off into a smelly water body and getting drenched up to the ankles!

I read somewhere, that people were moving from emails to Twitter. And I thought. Wow! From the Greek running messengers to pigeons, to smoke signals, to post, courier and email. And when emails started, people lamented the fact that handwriting grew murkier by the day. The emotion that manifests itself in the written hand, suddenly was lost. And now, we are moving from the written word to the Twittered word. So, I guess v nd 2 b prepped 2 read msgs dat luk like German txts or Hebrew codes, going fwd. I can only imagine how bful all dis wld luk n only wish my English teacher cld c how gr8 my riting skills r in dis currnt mode of comm.

1 comment:

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