I was wondering about my social-networking experience, especially from the ones floating on the net. I have been a member of two such networks, Orkut( never figured why this name!) and Facebook, and I must add that it has been a mixed experience. I quickly got bored with Facebook because of its complicated and cluttered nature, although my international network has grown over the year. Orkut is more organised and simple to use. Most of my friends are local or from India and occasionally I see their faces on the home page. I first used to think that their images appear randomly selected by the computer. Its only recently that I learnt from my more- computer-savvy daughter that the images are from those friends who are or were online some moments ago. So the scrap (this has been coined aptly – master stroke!) ‘Howz you?’ is more of inquiry about your online presence than anything else! This too has been a recent realisation. Last month, I was in South Africa, and one evening I got simultaneous scraps from two young friends from Nashik. I replied and to my astonishment got their response immediately. This went for quite some time between three of us – the banter was light, frothy and moved from one theme to another very rapidly. I had my first Orkut-chat experience. Later, I had this chat/scrap conversation on a few occasions which were never fulfilling. Something was always missing. One could never ‘really’ connect although that’s the feeling Orkut would have us believe. People, sorry, friends on the other end are always choosing what to answer and what to leave as per their convenience. The language, well, it took me a while to make sense. Da problm u c ws mine!
Of the so many friends that I have on the site I realised only 10% are in touch. The rest have just added me to their list without even once bothering to say hello. The more the merrier, I think. Or is it to just show the numbers. The scope for exchange sorry scrapping is always limited, in few lines you say what you want to and move on. The worst is that these scraps are always open for public consumption. Anybody can read what you have written or what you have received. And if you want to scrap something to someone then you have to go to their account to write those few lines. Cant do from your own account unless you have received the scrap in your scrap page. On the few occasions that I visited someone’s page I couldn’t help reading a few scraps that were there. I felt horrible. I checked myself. I didn’t want to become a voyeur although it was very tempting, but utterly useless. I always used to wonder what people do ‘visiting’ you. The profile isn’t always exciting though must say that there are some cheeky and on-your-face kind of self-descriptions. Otherwise, there isn’t much to see in such visits. I tried but soon got disillusioned. I am told people find unusual delight and time to read the scraps of others. I have stopped doing that and am glad I took the right decision. Apart from not wanting to be a voyeur I also didn’t feel right to read the scraps of my friends. I asked myself whether it was of any value. And whether it enriched my friendship? It didn’t, so I stopped doing it. Since it is an open to everybody kind of page people don’t take it too seriously. People understand its a light, for-fun kind of space and use it accordingly.
Itz only now dat am getting itz feel, do I wnt to continue? Dats very confusing, na? But lemme add even after a year I dont feel da experience has added anything of any value to my friendship. And friendship is the most sacred aspect of my life!