This is what Times Of India’s recent article on Social Networking says. It is about getting more visibility, popularity and infatuation about all the hype of connectivity with people. The users tend to add unknown visitors as well as people with bitter past experience just for sake of making others jealous.
There are really quotable lines from the article which are very true in Indian social-networking scenario like –
There are a lot of people who go online looking for friends because they don’t have them elsewhere.
“Most of these people used to ignore my existence (in real world), but they have now started sending me friend requests online.”
Here is the excerpt from the news articles of Times Of India on November 25, 2007 –
Ragini Sharma’s most embarrassing moment in junior college came when fellow student Sachin Patil stuck a post-it on her back that read, ‘I am a dork, kick me.’ Ragini claims this “scarred her for life”, but there was a greater knock in store — heartbreak when she found out that her boyfriend Shailesh Raje had been two-timing her for over a year.
Mystifyingly, both find a place on Ragini’s ‘friend list’ on Orkut. “Oh that’s because I must have the longest friend list within my network, so anyone is okay,” breezes Ragini, now 23 and with a call centre.
Ragini got on last year and already boasts of over 3,200 ‘friends’ — a blend of a few real buddies, many passing acquaintances, strangers, and even people she hates in the real world.
Having the largest number of friends has become crucial for Ragini. On days that she gets less than 10 new be-my-friend requests or no messages (scraps) on her page, she gets depressed, claim her parents.
There is a whole new breed of addicts whose lives revolve around their social networks alone. “This can get pretty stressful for teens because being accepted or rejected in front of the whole world can do serious damage to their self-esteem,” says Dr Y Machiswala of J J Hospital, Mumbai.
Competition for friends can be so fierce that some have even resorted to faking friend lists. Sixteen-year-old Mohit Kapoor, for example, has put up 20 benami profiles and keeps scrapping himself daily. “This not only pads the number of scraps I receive, but I can also brag about things indirectly,” grins Mohit.
This kind of obsessing before the computer about unreal friends who don’t really give a fig about you has unhealthy consequences, especially for introverts who don’t have a life in the real world. Dr Harish Shetty, a Mumbai-based psychiatrist, recently treated a 32-year-old who had stopped socialising in the real world completely, focusing instead on his mythical online friends. “He came to me for panic attacks and depression when his online friends refused to sympathise with him after he recently lost his job,” says Shetty. Robert Fernandis, for instance, claims to have quit his last job simply because he thought he would never get a promotion. Why? He wasn’t on his bosses’ friend list. “He had added most of my other colleagues but never invited me. This was a clear indication that he didn’t like me,” says Fernandis. And while most suffer from the stress of not having enough friends, there are others like Rupali Deshpande who complain of the opposite kind of menace. For Deshpande, who is normally a polite person, turning down be-my-friend requests from all kinds of people she would not even have a coffee with becomes a problem.
Then there are relatives that I would rather not talk to. Now, even they want me on their lists. I hate to be rude but I certainly don’t consider these people friends,” she says. Nilesh Lobo signed up simply because he started feeling left out of office conversations.
“With people talking in an alien language — throwing sheep, poking, werewolves, top friends — I used to keep wondering what I was missing.” However, Lobo plans to shut his account soon because he thinks it’s a waste of time. “With over 100 friends scrapping you every day, you end up spending more than half your day replying to these inane messages,” he says.
There is lot of truth in these articles as far as I could find out while being in this arena for past 2 years. I could relate myself at few scenarios. It is a kinda viral which spreads fastly and makes its victims/addicts instead of usual users. Also I realized that I didn’t found myself falling prey for Social Network at any place. In fact I am the one who turned down friend request over Orkut from one of my big teenage time crushes because we weren’t in talking terms for last 3 years and it really felt good ;M). If you really don’t know how does it feel, watch Jab We Met (Hindi) and you will realize the feeling :M).
All friends in my friend list are the ones whom I know very well in real world and that is what my criteria is for making friends over social networking websites.