actuality.log


I greatly enjoyed a showing of “The Social Network” last evening. But that doesn’t make me any more likely to join Facebook!

Monday, October the 25th, 2010 at 9:14 am.

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4 Responses to “I greatly enjoyed a showing of…”

  1. soylentgreen says:

    I thought I was the only person who is not on Facebook, or for that matter any other online “social network” (I used to be part of Orchut but terminated my account in 2005 itself). Its rather tragic that the term “social network” has become synonymous with Facebook and Twitter (and whatnot). If you ask me which is the best “social network”, I would say its the golf, billiards and the bridge clubs in Madras (as well as Bombay), all three of which I’m a regular member. I’d like to tell people that I actually have and live a real life. [In fact, I do not own a computer. I’m writing this comment from my dad’s PC. Why? That’s for another day and tale]. If you ask me, nothing will ever displace exclusive member clubs – not even Facebook. The kind of networking, real networking, in these clubs is astounding. It has also thought me the value of soft skills, which gives me an edge, in a world that is even more connected than ever, as more and more people swtich to typing/clicking (and touching! no pun intended) instead of talking!

    And, no, I don’t think I’ll watch The Social Network, however promising or good it is.

    Cheers,
    Adi

    • pundit says:

      Firstly, welcome back! And I guess you’ll read this when you use your dad’s PC again.

      There is nothing inherently virtuous about not being on an on-line social network or not owning a computer. The problem that some people face (and what you really seem to be rallying against) is that they replace their actual lives and friends with strange existences on-line with virtual friends.

      What would you say of people who have full, rich lives filled with close friends and partners as well as casual virtual interactions (not that I am one of these people)?

    • soylentgreen says:

      Since I don’t have a computer, the question of “casual virtual interactions” doesn’t arise. Also, my online habits have changed so greatly that there is absolutely even checking email much less chatting is a chore, a real chore! But I do make it a point to check once a fortnight. I almost never chat online. I use a phone instead.

      My life is extremely rich, filled with variety of characters, most of whom I’m very close to. And I love meeting them, everyday, at clubs, bars and restaurants. You know, if I wanted to find out something about someone, I’ll simply call up and find out. Or meet that person at the local bar and have a conversation. How difficult is this? Beats me.

      I do not have a problem with people leading strange, virtual lives. To some people, it just makes them happy and lead “richer” lives. Fair enough. I’m just worried that if this trend continues to the next generation (which most likely will), communication will be a forgotten art, an essential soft skill, that is required to unify this world. Suddenly, we’ll have to deal with people who have NO idea how to communicate.

      I’m not sure if I’ve articulated my point properly. But to put this issue in perspective, imagine the current geopolitical situation of America vs Islam World (I’m a history and politics buff). There is simply no middle ground here. The Middle-East problem is a problem of communication, especially the West’s failure to communicate with the Islamic World. And it is crucial to bridge the gap by constant communication and dialogue. Not bombs.

      Soon we’ll be seeing kids, really smart kids, who have no clue how to approach their brethren in real life. I can only picture a situation where two people decide to meet at a Starbucks cafe (the worst ever coffee!!) only to use their gadgets to text and poke each other when they’re sitting right opposite each other. This is just one of the comic situations that I foresee happening (it is already at some places!).

      Communication goes beyond just ability to use our five senses. Its problem solving, empathy, ability to relate and feel the other person’s point of view, understanding cultures and so on. This can be achieved only by constant interactions in the real world. My argument is that the scary amount of virtual interaction in today’s world is making will make it a lot harder to solve tomorrow’s problems because of the gap between those who know how to communicate and those who don’t.

      Remember, it takes two to tango. :)

    • pundit says:

      Again, I am not defending people’s propensity today for online interaction or anything like that. All I am saying is that you are attaching some artificial importance and correctness to your own habits and rallying against people who do things differently. Your notion of “those who know how to communicate” thus seems to stem from your narrow definition of communication.

      No matter how the media changes, there will always be people who know how to communicate well and those who do not. There is nothing inherently evil about virtual interaction. e.g., I don’t quite see how a random kid in the U.S. can communicate with a random kid in the Islamic World without tools like the Internet. Perhaps such kids who understand more about each other through the virtual world are less likely to blow each other up in the real world.


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