I know I am growing old, the ‘generation next’ has given way to the ‘generation virtual’. Gone are the days when email and the occasional website were cool enough, now they are the bare minimum. In this day and age of instant gratification, instant relationships weren’t far behind. Enter the networking sites to bride the gap. I remember learning the ropes of getting penpals across the globe first by using magazines and then through websites. Now its all about the instant messages, pictures, videos and a 101 different ways to communicate with mostly non-lasting relationships … not that my penpals lasted too long 🙂

I, like everyone else, hate to loose touch with friends and these new modes of keeping in touch have almost eliminated the chances of loosing touch (Ofcourse there is no antidote to apathy or the technologically challenged). It has also spawed a new era of virtual relationships, that sometimes really throw you for a spin 😉

Before I continue here is a rundown of these sites that I am aware of!

  • Orkut – This one is from Google. Sends you for a spin with its undependable server responses. Has a huge Indian/Hispanic presence and a good way for the IT guys to show how cool they are … lets you set people’s coolness,sexy and trusty levels. As expected I am non of those!!! Atleast according to this site. Lets you upload upto 12 pics and has a limit of 500Mb for each one.
  • Hi5 – Huge Asian/Hispanic presence, and is more cumbersome than orkut. Makes up for it by letting you have complete control over your page. Lets you post unlimited numbers of pictures. Lets you give “Hi5” to your friends … surprisingly I got a few of those. Also have friends of friends put up photoshop edited images of mine with their “friends”.
  • MySpace – Probably the most famous of these sites. I only became a member yesterday after being told about it by more than 10 people in a single day. Has more than 63million members and growing and according to a source the second most visited site currently. Comes with its own baggage of being too well known. Too much advertisement!!!
  • Facebook – A networking site designed specifically for College and high school students in the US. Networks you according to your school or alma mater. You need a valid US college or high school email id to join. Lets people keep in touch by using the comments feature.
  • Bebo – Mainly American presence, uses the person’s school to network. Mainly used by High school kids, and before you all think I am a phedophile, want to remind you that I am still a kid … at heart!

There are million others like Xanga, Ringo … each tragetting a different demography, geography and social network.

They are indeed a great tool to keep in touch, I can’t count the number of old friends that I have hooked up with ’cause of these sites. They also seem to fill the deep seated voyeuristic thirst of homo sapiens with all the wealth of information about completely random people! I am surprised by the amount of personal information that one can glean from these sites (Including mine). Obiviously in the race to be known by millions privacy ranks near the bottom.

The lack of privacy of most of these sites have led some colleges to even block access to them. A college in Texas just did it, while a school that my friend is working at, is very seriously considering the same measure. These are pretty fertile ground for sexual predators and stalker. Am not trying to be too negative but then that’s the world we live in. Ofcourse I personally don’t have the fear of being sexually assaulted, jus’ ’cause who in their right mind would want to do it to me ?? Joking apart its always good to take personal conversation offline at such sites and maintain as much control on your own information as possible.

The other major sign of this new generation is the virtual social net that this has provided. For people who not only want to keep in touch with old friends but make new ones too this is one of the best option. It really speaks to the socially challenged to be bold and be people they really are not. I guess it makes them feel happy to have so many hundreds and thousands of “friends”. All I can say is “whatever makes you happy”.

I don’t know how much of it is good, but it is indeed funny to see yesteryear’s movies with virtual holographic girlfriends and almost seeing it in reality now. I am not a psychologist or a psychiatrist but I do know that these virtual relationships don’t help in building any real people/social skills. I see so many of these people almost living in the virtual box with all their social interactions being virtual. Its almost like you a real life prep kid! The person across the network has noway of knowing you other than by what you write and that is an easy way out for people with things to hide or with a low sense of self-esteem. And this it not a sweeping generalisation of all users, but just a group of them.

This environment has almost no real consequences for your actions on it. You can say and do almost anything that you want and nothing is going to come off it. If you try saying more half the things that is said on these sites in India and you would sure to have a ton of bricks fall on you :). That probably is its huge appeal, the ability to be a rebel with out consequences.

Before I let you go take a taste of this virtual world, I’ll leave you with a taste of what you can expect … these are actual comments taken from these sites… these are the “pickup lines”!

hey …sa wur profile…impressive…wud like to know more abt u ….so wat do u do ???. me in to advertising……………..u?

Hi,this is ***** from hyderabad.I want to be your orkut friend.waiting for your scrap.byee

hey wassup dear????
u look like a die hard rock fan…is it sooo????
wat type of music u listen yaar????

These aren’t even the funniest once 🙁 where does all the information go when you really need it!!!

P.S: Sign up has started for the preview of the new look www.ulyssesdavid.com. Have finally started on this long overdue project. So if you want to be part of the beta testing team, let me know. Those signed up for updates would be automatically included ;). As usual don’t forget your daily dose of tamilnole.blogspot.com


2 thoughts on “Wired

  1. Boss

    If one had so many “friends” on a network it’s a shame when you don’t find them when you need one..A friend in need is a friend indeed so goes the ole saying..having social conversations on the net is fun..it’s like watching daytime soap operas and imagining them to be your close buddies over a period of time..Advice is cheap..anyone can give it..but to find someone who will go with you in your troubles and pain, that’s the acid test..if you can find one, you have found a friend indeed..I know someone who promised that to me and I have always found Him to be true to His word..A man’s word is His honor..just remember that..


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