Thursday, April 10, 2008

The study of emerging social networks and their impact on human relationships

'Ssup dawg?'

I haven't seen him in five years and here he is acting like I'm his langoti yaar. His online album reveals he has now grown a layer of fat and a mustache or two, pierced himself in all the wrong regions of the anatomy and has unbelievably gorgeous female friends (at least that's the picture their albums paint). Boy, he even declared himself as my latest 'fan'. The point being he was never so pally with me when he had the chance to, we didn't hang out or kill time together ever and (damn it) I can’t even remember his real name.

To top it off, I really don't like people calling me dawg.

What's the sudden craze with all this networking? Every single day brings with it a minimum of half a dozen invites to sites that always have a member in someone I know. Either I have too many friends (no jokes, it's a big possibility; alright, alright, that was counting acquaintances) or no two friends like the same network. The funniest part being these sites later send me a warning that my invites are about to expire and I may lose the opportunity to get closer to someone I most probably don't like. As if surfing the net but not joining the latest network was the new age sin.

Don't get me wrong. There is a lot of good to all this. We meet old friends, make new ones, find a thousand things in common with people we've never met (and there's a high possibility we never will), connect with acquaintances and relatives across continents and so on. When the world is getting smaller but spaced out (ironic, isn't it? As someone put it, the world is becoming a global village), it would be foolish to stand back and not become a part of it. But it is when we start using this often, as a substitute to personal conversation, that warning bells begin to ring. There is a particular charm in talking to people in person that will never go out of fashion. I think an example would make matters clear. There was this group of guys who used to hang out in the neighbouring building every evening after playing football (man, did they hate cricket). But as soon as the cable guy started providing internet connections, they preferred to sit at home and chat on LAN. What happened to good old group chats? Leaving one old fellow who resides on the first floor, everybody else misses the sound of their hysterical laughter. For heaven's sake, it even takes longer to type than talk; but that's what they prefer - brb, lol, wazza, hehe, sos.


Then there was this young cousin of mine who mentioned that some of his friends are in a race to get maximum number of online contacts. One of them tried to add me on and I didn’t even know he existed. When I mentioned this, he got pretty upset with my cousin for not putting in a word for him. I remember the time I fought over trump cards, G.I. Joe's, stamps and coins, slam books, (playing) gotis, even papaya and cotton seeds in one case; not over strangers and virtual friends. But the one thing that has gotten me really concerned is the way marriages are being marketed by online match makers (isn’t it amusing that nearly everything the average Indian does or could use is thought of in context to marriage?). If not anything else, they prefer to categorise by race; it’s not entirely their fault because that is what the candidates are searching for. And we got a huge problem if someone calls us coloured. But hey, we can call each other a (female) dog, red-butt monkey, sloth or whatever we want. Hypocrisy, I tell you.

It set me thinking - has technology gone so beyond us that nearly everything we do is now either simulated, replicated, degraded in value or, most disturbingly, farcical? The only reason individuals such as the aforementioned cool dude can be so blissfully ignorant about relationships, for instance, is because of the safety blanket it provides. Not that technology is bad, mind you; it cannot and never will be, so don't get me wrong. It is how we, the commoner, choose to use it in this dawg eat dawg world.


Blogger losin_my_soul said...

so true... so true...

10:32 PM  
Blogger Naaaishaaant said...

Nice blog 'dawwg'...really ironic how a prson u havnt a whiff in reality strts actin pally wit u on d web..scrappin ,postin on walls sendin u virtual beer n gawd knos wat d nex day cum face 2 face...n gosh does he/she kno ur name...
Dat is wat dis virtal wrld hs done in a way...Its not 2 say i dont indulge in al like u said not on d cost o meetin up,playin foosball or js laffin it off..

Hope ppl get sense (tho i realee doubt dat ) n strt njoin d virtuality in moderation !!

1:36 AM  
Blogger Jayraj said...

nice man!!..u write really well

12:03 AM  

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