I have always wondered why I am not such a big fan of social networking sites. I do have my account set up in a couple of them, but I was never totally into it. Atleast not enough to catch up with buddies of my age, who spend almost half of their online lives in social networking websites.Everywhere you see, there is this need to tell people what you are up to. My friend tweets almost every other minute, right from “ Oh, I just broke the nail of my index finger on my left hand” to “ Ewww, the guy who sits next to me wore yellow pants to work today”. In a way, it’s nice to click on a link and find out what your friends are upto, but sometimes, I do wish I could go back in time to those days, when you had to call a friend on her landline phone to find out if she would be able to make it to the party in the evening. Aaah, the old school me…I am sooo not cool, I know :P
Everyone seems to know what’s happening in our lives. So when you actually meet a friend in person, there is so little to catch up on. I have been in situations where, while I scratched my head and wondered what to talk about next, my friend duly pulled out her pink mobile from her green handbag and tweeted “ Catching up with Pavi over coffee..wowie!” While my name gets hyperlinked on her page, people click on it to be led away to a dead Twitter account that was last updated when Akbar’s wife delivered Humayun. When I come online on GTalk the next time, a well wisher pings me “ Hey, what’s up with you? Is everything ok?! How come you don’t tweet at all? Work eh?”.
And even before I can ping him a reply, another friend’s giggling display pic pops up in the corner of screen and she goes “ Heyy, put up that pic of yours on Facebook da,the one we took last Friday”. And I feel like Queen Victoria, as outdated and as damn old –fashioned as her. But what the heck! I can choose what I want to do, cant I ? I stick my neck out with as much pride as I can gather and retort back with a little gyaan about how I do not need to flaunt my pics online. “ I will mail them to people who might wanna see them” I say. My female friends rolls her eyes and goes offline, and the male well wisher gives me some more gyaan about how it is important to have a distinct online persona these days. The conversation ends with me pinging “ Hey listen, dinner time, I gtg”.
After all this ranting, I must admit, you do feel like an outcast when you don’t “belong” to the group that breathes online. So I consciously make a mental decision and decide to stay as active as I can and try and “belong” to “the” group.But old habits die hard. And the vicious cycle continues. J
Yesterday, while walking back from the parlor after getting my hair trimmed, one famous aunty of our locality happened to pass my way and stopped for a small chat. Among other things, she quickly noticed my freshly trimmed hair and cooed “ No plans of growing your hair? What will you do for your wedding?”. I faked the most decent smile that I could and replied “ He he he..Now that you mention it, I must think about it”. Luckily, something else of more importance than my hair crossed her mind, and in the next 5 minutes, she filled me in with the latest gossip from our area, starting off from who got married recently, to whose dog pooped in whose compound. Needless to say, I was least bothered about what she had to say. Two reasons there.
One : I don’t give a heck about who is doing what, as long as it does not involve me.
Two : I knew I would be discussed next with whoever happened to bump into her after me.
My mind immediately hit a tangent as I bid her a very well deserved good bye and walked off to my gate. The aunty had no Orkut account, she was the kind who would think Facebook is a book about beauty tips, and the only “Twitter” she knew of was the one she heard in the morning from the branches of the roadside Gulmohar tree. Yet, Yet, my friends, she is as updated about the entire area ( a good 3 km radius) as any other Facebook fanatic is about the people on his friends list. It all boils down to her social networking skills. And she “tweets” every time she bumps into an unsuspecting victim on the road. :p
So I had my answer. This need to keep talking about ourselves, is not new at all!! It comes to us naturally. Only the platform we do it on keeps changing with the times. “Social Networking” is the new term for what our mothers did at Kitty Parties. It’s the present day form of the “Leaning over the compound wall” conversations that our aunties had. The nagging sessions our grannies had on the temple steps, the impromptu debates that our grandpas had on the park benches, well, that’s exactly what we do online now!!
Finally, like father, like son makes sense. And to think, I was almost blaming my generation! Phew… Aunty if you are reading this “ Namaste..Saadar pranam..Sat Sri Akaal”. :D
Buddies, here I come..To “belong”! :P Bring it on ;)