Sunday, May 21, 2006

Voyeurism and Social networking...

Was just thinking.... Isn't the entire social networking paradigm feed on our need to peep into everyone else's life and know whats going on? The same need that makes us devour the details of a celebrity's private life in a tabloid. But at a much larger scale, of much smaller people.

My religious/cultural/intellectual affiliations are on the bottom right corner, my friends are aligned to the top right. My life's work is right in the middle of it all. Neatly compartmentalized into passions, sports, music, books, activities. For whatever little its worth, I also get little tokens of appreciation: smilies, ice-cubes and hearts which give me nearly the same joy that getting a smiling face on a perfect score in a dictation did. My page is visited, read, judged. I am judged. In a perverse sense, I have made a tabloid of my life. I have fans too. And like my picture on the top left, I'm cornered.

Just wondering: What if Angelina Jolie was on orkut? She would be rated 100% sexy, obviously. What if Brad Pitt was on too? Would you know from their interactions that they had something going on? Would Osama run a community to discuss his ideas? Would the number of interns on Bill Clinton's friends list give it away?

My life is my own. A private space. My role in your life is also my own, and yours. And ours, to share. Do these have to be gauged by what we have to discuss over a public forum? What can I discuss and not discuss with you? How much am I answerable to someone for what I wrote to you? How much can I manipulate their opinion of what you and I share? Why this public display of our private conversations? Someone will scan our scrapbooks. Will read the lines, in between the lines, assume, extrapolate, fill in the missing bits, question you, question me and undermine our roles in their lives. Among other things.

Is there any need for it?

11 comments:

Jeeves,Reginald said...

You answered your first question...with your first question.
Man is a social peeping tom.Get over it.
And yeah even the comments to your post is visible to all ain't it?

Mo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mo said...

I agree with you that I should get over it.

But don't agree with the latter. The comments are strictly about the topic at hand and are not some private conversation between two people with the whole world as witness.

Jeeves,Reginald said...

Well the answer is that you are not answerable.Not even this much,if you care.Period.
For the indecisive few,there is an option on the far right hand side to delete them.All of them in fact.

The habit of man to conclude (partially/semi partially/fully)on any topic/person without sufficient knowledge about them is delicious and hence addictive and will not be lost in a hurry.

So strap on your seat belts and try to get some sleep.

PI said...

I have pondered about this for quite sometime...isn't this all a farce...a show off? Putting up the better pictures in the album, displaying good testimonials, portraying to the world how popular we are. I believe its just a phase ... like all popular things which create a hype and then die down after sometime. We are riding the wave as we are expected to and someday we ll look back and laugh about it.

Mo said...

Pi,
Its unlikely that this fad will die an easy death. We are a lot more public people than we used to be. And having a public, "projected" persona is an addiction.

Papaya said...

Your life is as private or public as you want it to be. People want to peep into your life just as much as you want to show it off.

It's our quest to seek attention that makes us our own victims.

You advertised your life, afterall, it is a free market.

Fruit Salad said...

An acquaintance becomes a friend not before you know his tastes, dislikes, interests and about his/her friends. The profile gives a gist of his life. Its a CV in a personal/informal manner.

If you dont wanna be judged by it, put a crazy pic of yourself or some cartoon, remove your album and make your profile entries funny rather than factual.

And then just use orkut as a way to find old friends, get their email ids and mail them away!

Mo said...

Dear Papaya (i)n the Fruit Salad,

I like your arguments. Considering the fact that I know who you (both?) are, its strange that you would say this and yet leave an anonymous comment. There are no links to your blog either.

In any case, my point was:
The undercurrents in your little comment(s) are visible only to me, and there is no way for any other "readers"/friends to figure those out, and know who you are, and what you and I share. (Do they need to know? Do they need to gauge.) This luxury, sweetheart, is something we don't share on orkut.

I rest my case.

--Mo

Fruit Salad with Ice Cream said...

Since you know who we are (I am), you could have as well mailed your reply to us(me), but you chose to put it in a public forum.

I unrest the case

Mo said...

Fruit Salad,

Our little discussion here is pertinent to what I wrote. If you were to say "Lets meet for coffee/teh si/ice milo/beer", I would rather do it over emails.

I wrest the case.

:D