Saturday, August 12, 2006

Opium of the Internet

Google probably knew the accurate meaning of an 'online society', before throwing in Orkut as another sweet cookie of the Internet revolution. Little was known though about the number of people who were waiting to get a taste of this cookie. Induced by the technical nature of today's social connections, Orkut witnessed an outbreak in the number of users over a very small span of time. The statistics could be mind blowing, yet it is just the beginning; the beginning of not only a different form of existentialism, but also the implications thereby. With millions of users transporting themselves every hour to this world of online interaction, there is not much time left before we are back in the golden era of cocaine; cocaine now replaced by unsuspicious cookies of the internet. The compulsive need to view your scrapbook every morning is no better than a smoker's craving. Of course, one is of more physiological concern, and another of the psychological nature. But both indications of a diseased state. The cookie is big enough that you can eat it forever. Unfortunately, it is not healthy. In fact, the addictive nature of Orkut has inspired some people to term it as the Opium of the Internet.

The Orkut scrapbooks - an interesting place to be. The orkut profile is your presentation of yourself to the fellow community, but your scrapbook is where most of you reside. Its called 'profiling'. There is nothing new about it. Social interactions have always been good indicators of a person's demeanor. Coherence to interpersonal tastes - the people you interact with and the interactions themselves - can suggest your personal preferences. Scraps scrutinized over a period of time will not only reveal the bunch of people you are closest too, but also the nature of the discussions you have with them. The discussions itself are of no importance to a profiler; but they can tell as to what type of scraps you are most likely to reply to, and what type of a person should that scrap come from. An ardent follower of Orkut has his daily life summarized in scraps. It is not difficult to identify the different threads of interactions a person has with friends and family, and come up with a rough sketch of the person's state of mind. Actions and intent could both be revealed in your scraps. Important moments could come to known publicly. You could unknowingly tell the whole world about your new friends. Eventually, you tell people most of what you wanted to hide in your profile. You reveal an aspect of you which physical attributes do not capture - your self.

The new trend as seen is to have the shortest profile and a clean scrapbook. This could perhaps be because people have come to realize that their privacy is being breached here. But be aware, someone could still be following your life like a shadow. The cookie is so tasty that some are not happy with their share. Happy scrapping!


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