The proliferation of social networking sites and its increasing popularity have really enthralled and appalled the entire world. Till a few years back when computers meant those B&W boxes which had to be fed with intelligent codes by the human species to perform tasks taught in schools & colleges in the confines of the classrooms amidst boring lectures. Zoom to the present, class 8th and 9th students have presence on most of these social networking sites, they are there scrapping, poking, sharing pics, commenting in full swing. Way to go Gen Y & X, living in a hyper-connected world, thriving in the web 2.0 world and announcing to the world that they have arrived.
Having discovered Orkut & Gtalk a few years back in my college days, I felt I had unleashed a genie in my life in the form of my online presence. Little did I know then, that in a few years time these would become a part of my social existence and identity. Little did I realize then, that the handwritten letters will be replaced by scraps, the meetings will be replaced by greetings of ‘hi….what’s up?’, that get together of friends could be replaced by online forums, that physical albums would be replaced with digital ones with options of comments & like/dislike, that emoticons will replace the real emotions and words. Just like a nameplate and a house address, social networking sites have become the proof points of an individual’s existence. The world knows it all whether you are ecstatic, gloomy, sneezed, irritated, had a great day, the last movie you saw, the party you last attended etc etc. Wohooo what a revolution this one is!!!
Recently some interesting developments on the social networking sites compelled me to ponder over this great viral revolution eclipsing the entire mankind. A few months back read a news article of how a man divorced his wife on Facebook by writing Talaq Talaq Talaq on her wall. So, after marriages on the web, the new trend is separation on the web. What a convenient way to wash your dirty linen in the public without having to face the person. Way to go technology!!! My cousin studying in class 8th has a super hectic online life with Orkut, Facebook accounts and would much rather prefer catching up with random people virtually than with family and friends in reality. He prefers to ping his cousin staying on a floor above than just hopping over to the first floor. In his friend circle, the social status of a guy or girl is basis the number of scraps and the number of friends on these sites. Connectivity in the true sense!!! This friend of mine, who has recently purchased this snazzy handset with a xyz megapixel camera, makes sure that no gathering or moment passes without a click of the shutterbugs, capturing every grin and movement. Makes me wonder at times, whether her sole aim of attending gatherings or catching up sessions is to add to her album on FB & Orkut. Nasty thought!!! But with all the click clicks around, at times I really ponder whether in the whole exercise of capturing the beautiful moments; we forget to live those cherished moments.
With more and more involvement online and presence on these social networking sites, I have begun missing those good old letters, cards, physical reunions and a lot of emotions (not emoticons :P). Nothing can replace the excitement of opening a letter sent by someone, reading and re-reading them till you can recollect each and every word, the smell of the paper brings back strange feelings. Miss those colorful cards for every occasion and the scribbles in it. The nostalgia of flipping through old albums and laughing over the expressions and incidents can never be replaced by commenting on the digital photographs. Yeah may sound archaic in the era of web 2.0….but I guess I’m a little worried with the fast pace of our online existence and the slow pace of our real existence.
Last to last week, in order to do something in this direction and reduce my online presence during the weekend, I decided to attend a few concerts and functions. Had an amazing weekend with outings, get together and cultural functions. Felt that I was living after a long time instead of pinging, orkutting, facebooking or tweeting. One of the concerts I attended was by the sitar maestro Pt. Ravi Shankar & daughter Anoushka Shankar. Was a divine experience under the open sky, but guess what after the concert ended, my first urge was to go back home and put my status ‘Yayyyy what a weekend’, not to miss that I also managed to click pics of the concert on my new handset with a 3.2 megapixel camera. Way to go online socializing :)