I was quite surprised to see SM make a post on online social networking today, because I was just discussing the topic yesterday with my temporary roomie, Doc. I gave my own example, a few months ago, a friend in Delhi persuaded me to register on Orkut, the Google-promoted online social networking site. I was never a big fan of Orkut, but I usually always agree to friend requests and I have found many people after years, it is a rather boring thing beyond a point.
Now, Doc is one of those people who think the internet is basically an endless stream of bittorrent feeds and occasionally useful for checking email and he doesn't quite understand how I spend my entire day without downloading at least two movies. Well, the reason for that is that if I tried doing that my ancient computer system would crash and given that currently ten people share a 128 kbps network in office, I'll end up downloading a movie a month.
Now, how do you explain 'social networking' to such a person?
I tried by explaining that it is a way for people to find friends they haven't met for some time online, but a rather logical answer to that is that if you haven't met this person in years, do you really want to find them?
Me : "But, it is fun for a bit, however, the novelty does wear off."
Doc : "Dude, your life has to be seriously boring if you use this. I'm sure people also try to use Orkut to pick up women."
Me : "I'm sure they do, but it is pretty sad if they do that." (I read this today)
Doc : "Isn't that MySpace site facing problems of sexual predators?"
Me : "Yeah, it is, but I haven't seen that on Orkut."
Doc : "But, K, that still doesn't make the entire exercise worthwhile, does it? It is still a thing people with sad lives do for spare time."
Me : "Can't disagree with that."
Doc : "I mean, look at you, at your media parties you go have a couple of Black's and them talk through your a** for the next three hours and come back with fifty visiting cards in your pocket."
Me : "Now that you mention it, there isn't no Black Label online!"
Doc : "See...."
Doc was right, what is the point of all this online networking when you're fairly adept at doing it in the real world. I remember when I had done a story on the spread of MMOG's in India, a lot of people use the online medium to make friends because they are socially inept in the real world - but it is still quite sad if you try to get yourself laid that way. That doesn't mean I will remove my profile from Orkut, but really how useful is it?
Most of the people on my Orkut list already have all my contact details and are fairly close to me, the couple of people I have tracked down were decent friends, but not people I can't live without. The other problem as RKT (another friend) mentioned, was that these social networking sites are so transparent, you don't know what to do when someone you're not exactly enamoured of adds you to his/her list of 'friends'.
Anyway, it has been quite a while since I have linked to some cool things I've been seeing online, so here goes, some of these links are clearly marked as 'Not Safe For Work' (NSFW).
Tokyoblog - a journey through Japan based on 'reader assignments' and put down in graphic form.
I wish I had something to trade for these! This guy is trying to pull off the red paper clip gag with 120 'adult' DVD's.
Some interesting B&W photo studies of nudes. (NSFW)
Japanese artist Yuko Shimizu's portfolio is a very interesting watch.
Dadanoias, a girl in Barcelona blogs about her life and interests. (NSFW) Check out her Flickr set too, but be warned, don't open it at office.
Fluffy Lychees. (NSFW)
Shiri Zinn makes the most astounding and expensive sex toys in the world using some of the most exotic substances known to humankind. And people love her work.