Today someone has tagged me, another one linkedin me yesterday, and day before someone sent me an invite on orkut, of course these are in addition to the daily mails I get from the numerous agarwal matrimony sites (I have no clue why). And every such site wants to know everything and anything important about me when I join; my most intimate and sensitive information; such as which movies, tv shows, music and books I like, turn-ons, turn-offs.
Online social networking sites are on a roll with over 800 million members across several sites, Facebook being touted as next Google, and experts sociology touting it as a revolution. However, skeptics say that online social networking sites are irrelevant as they hardly help you expand your social circle beyond the group of people you know only too well. This is quite true given that most of your contacts/ friends/ connections on such sites would be batchmates or colleagues who know your phone number, email address, desk location, and reasons to avoid you anyways. But in case you happen to describe yourself as “Extremely passionate about everything. I live life to fullest”, there is a good chance that a few strangers would fall head over hills to become friends with you. Skeptics also argue that eventually all social networking sites can take only two routes: if it has lesser scope for anonymity such as alumni networks, it will eventually end up as a trading place (for house rentals, old cars etc., my alumni site is a great example); otherwise, it is soon taken over by spammers promising solutions to elongate your penis.
But to be fair, not only does social networking sites help you get in touch with people who decided to ignore you long back, they also allow you to keep track of the correct use of English as evident in this scrap; consider this: “m passionate bout evrythin....specialy cars, mobile fonz”. For those of us caught by sheer surprise during the “how is you” era, periodic reading of the scraps ensure that we shall never become obsolete again. Some stupid researchers, flush with public funds, are spending hours to locate potential messages left by aliens in these social networking sites. And once you join, your scrapbook gets filled by such intelligent messages like “what’s up”, “how are you?”, and if you are a girl, “Nice pic”, “hai XXX, i want friendship with u can u?” Wonderful, isn’t it? A “Daily Show” edition from Comedy Central summed up both sides of the story: Bad thing about such sites is that there are so many sexual predators out there, good thing is there are also so many sexual prey out there”. And as every matter has its anti-matter, anti-social sites have cropped up such as Snubster.
All the same, we shouldn’t consider such sites completely trivial. Quite frequently, one comes across extremely profound scraps or pokes such as this one “tell me how u r? one word. sum it up. no trivialities. good or bad?” Can anything else get us into greater introspection?