November 18, 2007


It had to happen. It was just a matter of time before it happened. Keeping my charming personality in mind people ask me all sorts of questions. I am fine with that. As a matter of fact I like it too. The constant one-way flow of traffic suggests some thing incredible. So me coming up with an answer that made no sense was round the corner. Law of averages shows no discrimination and even smart people have limitations. Remember Superman and Kryptonite? So when a friend asked me how does one navigate Facebook, I was shooting off answers like a human wikipedia. A few moments later I realized that nothing was making sense to her. So I did what I thought was the best thing, told her to explore and she will learn.

Was it really that complicated? I consider myself to be above average so how difficult would it be to understand the workings of a website? I mean if I could explain golf to my cousin in five minutes (some thing that my father, an avid golfer once, couldn’t do in years) then what was Facebook? Working in my favor was the fact that I have been using it for some time now. I logged on to Facebook.

I looked around.

Who was I kidding?

Everyone knows Facebook. Hell everyone is on Facebook! Some thing that started out as a social network site for the students of Harvard College, subsequently expanded to all Ivy League schools within two months. Many individual universities were added in rapid succession over the next year. Then people with a university email address from institutions across the globe were eligible to join. Then came the high schools and a couple of large companies. Finally in 2006 anyone with an e-mail address (duh!) could join. Today it is estimated that by the end of this year the membership would reach 60 million. The dude who started all this refuses to sell it and the current offer stands at 8 billion USD!

There are...what shall I call them…all sorts of crazy things(?) that you can do there. And trust me there are many things. Basically you could send requests to people but here you can Poke them or Nudge them. What the hell is poke? According to your friendly neighborhood creators of Facebook it’s, ‘a poke is a way to interact with your friends on Facebook. When we created the poke, we thought it would be cool to have a feature without any specific purpose.’ Some think it’s a sexual advance and there is a group titled "Enough with the Poking, Lets Just Have Sex," which, as of October 2007, has more than 300,000 members! They also have something called a Superpoke.

Then there are features like Testimonial (you ask people to write about you to help build your profile), idescribe (describe someone in just 5 words), Pay it Forward (say nice things about people and they do the same for others), Reputation (say things about friends which they won’t know but see an overall rating). There are things you can throw at people and I have been thrown a cow! You can join groups and some one sent me a request to join the Burmese monks, which I might, but why would I join a group called Embrace Marijuana? The one thing that got my goat was a feature called Hot Potato- can’t hold on to something long and pass it on. Wow! There are 1,111,068 people who have successfully dealt with hot potatoes!

The thing with social networking sites is that some times you meet really old friends who were under the impression that you were either dead or signed up for some covert mission. There are times when I’m happy to learn about some old mates; one girl I knew in the mid 1980’s is married and settled in South Africa; one dude is following some religion that sounds like some underground cult and he, in his own words, has a sardonic sense of humor. God bless him! But there are times when freaks just turn up after a decade or two and pretend they were never away! I don’t want to rekindle my association with everyone I studied or worked with. Think about it if I were into it why’d I lose touch? I asked people what does one do about it? Ignore the request is the best they came up with.

Now isn’t that rude?

I learnt that what I did was ruder still. I just don’t accept or deny the request. I let it hang.

So now I’ve decided to ‘clean’ the area of activity on my Facebook homepage. I had almost 30 pending requests of various sorts- pokes, superlatives, honest boxes, pink ribbons, IQ tests, questions, writing on the wall, Shakespearean insults, cows, chumps, bites, hugs and what have you! As I wondered what makes such things tick, I realized a sad truth. This is what we do for fun now? Hurling innocent cows at each other? There are instances when people sitting on opposite cubicles in offices poke each other! I'm on it so I am a part of the movement but why am I not poking anyone? I am expecting a backlash and a social boycott but there is nothing I could have done. The flow of information is way too much for me to handle. Or maybe I could perhaps start a feature, my own 'thing' on Facebook that does just what I did- ignore everything that comes your way. Wouldn’t everyone want to ‘connect’ with the leading one.


This thing is infectious!

2 Responses to “Facebook”

  • I do not understand freakin face book. FULL STOP. It is not easy and does not make any sense to me. Call me what you will a tech retard, a demented nut or any but at least I am honest..... sniff sniff sniff
  • God I love you ! :) poke pinch prod !!
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