Saturday, September 25, 2010

Yours virtually

Facebook is gradually turning into a come-one-and-come-all kind of stage play these days, where the actors are people like you and me, i.e, the users, the director being Mark Zuckerberg and his team of Facebook developers and the viewers are the those in your 'friend's list'. The emotions, however, are all too real.

The minute you log in and find yourself on the homepage you'll be flooded with updates from your friends (or in most cases people you barely know). Updates range from a 100 people commenting on a picture of an empty vodka bottle uploaded by some drunken moron, or somebody's chest hair (Bleaaargggghhhh!), somebody changing their relationship status to 'widowed' who was 'in a relationship with ABC' just the day before to somebody cracking a Kalmadi joke (that too plagiarized or stolen from twitter) and garnering atleast 20 'likes'.

Your private life is no longer private. No matter how hard you try you'll fall a victim to the temptation of letting the world know of how well you're doing in life or your expert opinion on the CWG mess.
Sometimes I get the nagging suspicion that Facebook might just be part of an international conspiracy to monitor each and every moment of our lives. (my paranoia at its peak..I beg pardon)
Mostly I'm a silent spectator. Time and experience with social networking sites have taught me to exercise self-control. That's why I comment only when I have to. But when I find updates from friends taking quizzes such as 'How many times will you bang your girlfriend this weekend?' and 50 odd comments beneath such a post ranging from 'lmao...you pervert', 'only 10..meh I can do more' to his 'supposedly' shy girlfriend commenting 'dislike', you must agree that I, too, need to vent somewhere.


Anyway the point of this post is neither to criticize the makers of Facebook, nor the users. 'Cause no matter how I see it Facebook is a tremendously useful medium for self-promotion. The moment I publish this blog post, networked blogs, a Facebook application will help auto-publish this to my wall.
At the end of the day, how you want to use your Facebook account is entirely upto you.

But even so...I can't help but be amused when I hear of Zuckerberg's apparent uneasiness over the making of the movie 'The Social Network', which recounts his journey from being a dorky Harvard undergrad to the head honcho of a multi-billion dollar business, that is Facebook. Seemingly in the movie Zuckerberg has been portrayed as a crafty genius who conned his fellow dorm-mates into helping him make Facebook and later denied them any credit.
If you have time do click on this link for further information.

How does it feel to have little known facts about your private, secure life being let out in the open for everyone to see and analyze? In other words how does it feel to savour the taste of your own medicine Mr Entrepreneur?

The geeky coding genius Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook

Not too nice I bet.
Well in any case since David Fincher (of Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Se7en fame) is one of my favorite directors, I won't be giving this movie a miss.
Here's a glimpse :-



P.S: The next time you take a silly Facebook quiz or change your relationship status for the zillionth time, please do remember that while people in your friend's list are probably busy poking fun at your actions elsewhere, a 26-year old named Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is making millions at your expense.

Sig 2

33 comments:

Anish said...

I didnt get the point this post is trying to make...business is to make money..so what's wrong with making money with a social networking site?it's no different from any other business..rather facebook can be used for both purposes..business and pleasure...it depends on how you want to use it...I dont think it's wrong or unethical at all..as for the friends thing there is also the choice of whom to keep in your friend list..there are privacy settings too..and you can hide whoever's updates you don't wanna see...and if Mark conned his dorm-mates that's a diff issue altogether..

on a different note,atodin pore Social Network-er trailer dekhli? :P darun hobe...and you forgot to credit Fincher for Zodiac.. :D

R said...

It's best to be selective about what we want others to know about our lives, I guess - I wouldn't take a mike and inform everyone what I'm upto or my deepest thoughts - so why do that on facebook? I didn't want my bro to know something and I ended up putting pictures of the event on facebook and the next thing I knew? He's calling me to give me a nice lecture. So, I learnt the best way to deal with such unpleasantries is to behave in facebook the way we'd behave in our real lives. :)

Abhinav said...

I also feel the same , it robs you of your privacy and I don't like a world where you talk to a friend and he/she tells u," Hey i had updated that in my status , u did not see ?"
There are many other factors too ,
It's been long since i have deleted my facebook account

Samadrita said...

@Anish: Did I mention somewhere that there's some harm in making money with a social networking site?
This post wants to make this simple little point :- irrespective of whether or not you're making an ass out of yourself on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg will still be earning in millions. The aim of Facebook has always been to enable contact between strangers across the world in a way that has never been possible via any other medium. As a result of this most people are showing no self-restraint at all and are posting all kind of crap on FB. There's a limit to how open you can be.
Besides isn't it ironic? that the maker of Facebook, thanks to whom our personal lives are no longer personal, is uncomfortable about a movie portraying the truth about himself?
That's what this post is about. :)

@R: Exactly. You voice my opinions. Because we're using a virtual medium we forget where we should draw the line.

@Abhinav: Bang on. But I think blaming the developers or the settings of the site is unjust in a way. Whether we want to guard our privacy or not is entirely upto us. :)

D2 said...

Well, Mark Zuckerberg had a good idea for business. When he had it, it was fresh and he I'm inclined to say, he did it rather well.
I don't think Facebook robs anyone of their privacy as long as they know how to use it. If I don't want certain people to see my pictures (or some of my pictures), I can create restricted access to my albums, selectively (reply to R).
I can hide updates of whoever i want. I can add on my friend list and create categories on that list with restricted permissions for each category as I wish. I think the engineers who have worked on Facebook ever since it was created have done a good job of making sure privacy is really not a concern. It is a concern to only those who care about it but didn't go through the privacy controls that they have right after they registered on the website.

As for the movie, movies are made for all sorts of reasons and are based on all sorts of events or activities that might interest an audience. 'Social Networking' is simply one of them.

Samadrita said...

@D2: I think you've misunderstood what I was trying to convey through this post. The privacy, regarding whom I add to my friend's list and what I choose to let them see, isn't the one we're debating. As for example....whether you're committed or single or in a complicated relationship, photos of everything and nothing right from your current bedsheet to your toothbrush...is there a need for letting the world know of every teeny little detail from your life? There isn't. But since FB is providing us with a medium where we can literally share 'everything' we're ignoring the issue of keeping our personal things, personal. Consequently we forget to draw the line somewhere.
Zuckerberg and his group of engineers have done a fascinating job of creating such a site and the numerous associated applications no doubt. But you have to agree they're luring us to open ourselves to the world in a way that could be unhealthy at times. It's ironic that inspite of being the founder of such an open-platform site as Facebook, Zuckerberg likes to keep a low profile and is uncomfortable with the concept of the movie.
This post was aimed at poking fun at that.

Ritu said...

The kid who made Orkut, this college kid who made Facebook, both are extremely private people. It is amazing isn't it ;) Their inventions are just the opposite.

Selenium said...

I'm blissfully ignorant of any social networking site. I don't have any dire need of letting my friends know my opinion, showing everyone my pics that I've clicked and finally, I'm not as outgoing as other people to "make friends" as easily as they do on Facebook/orkut/hi5/MySpace... -__-

However, there you had a point about making use of it the way you want it to. You use FB to showcase your writing talent or your views on some more popularly debated topics. :)
Believe it or not, you're very popular on the internet :D Guess you've made good use of it...

P.S. Ah! Yes, I suffer from some phobia regarding social networking sites... I feel if someone knows the real me on net, I might get killed in a week or something... but that's just me I guess... -_-;;

Abhinav said...

One argument that people give that facebook helps u be connected with your friends. No it depends on u , i am connected to all those who matter to me.

Also speaking about social networking , i feel the name it self is wrong , it is more about personal networking and what matters most is how people react to what u think , what u do, just think , is it not madness ?

Samadrita said...

@Ritu di: Yes exactly. The founder of Orkut..Buyukkokten too has an interesting story it seems. Read about him quite recently. And both the founders prefer to maintain a low-profile.

@Selenium: Hey you are registered at the Animax India forum aren't you? that too is social networking. :P
Well I have quit using all other social media sites....barring Facebook and Twitter. Believe it or not Twitter is extremely helpful when it comes to providing you with valuable news articles and analysis.
But I understand when you say you want to keep your distance from such open forums...atleast you're an exception among people opening themselves to the world.

@Abhinav: It is in a way. Personal networking alright...as I already mentioned that Facebook is the perfect vehicle for self-promotion or promotion of any kind for that matter. The fan pages and business pages are proof.
But one thing I have to mention...that Facebook has helped me reconnect with many old school pals with whom I lost all contact after graduating from high school. That way I guess Facebook and Orkut are effective.

pawan said...

People love to live a second life in the virtual world different from the one they live in reality. This as everyone knows is the major cause of piling bullshit on the internet. And we just need to be happy for Zuckerberg for creating facebook, coz we can dump shit and he can sell it for millions, it's a cyclic process :)

And as for the movie, first day first show, the day it releases here :D

Tanay said...

I'll like your post whenever you talk about the stupidity of the apps and the poor sense of humour and leisure of the people who use them.
I myself have made it a habit to block all apps on my news feed whenever I go through it... but hell!! everyday there are new ones that my dear friends have discovered!!!

BTW, I don't like Networked Blogs application coz it doesn't open the post in a new tab by default. A stupid reason I know (since you can always open it in a new tab by right-clicking and choosing the option), but I feel that when a person is browsing through the news feed, he needs the external links to open in a new tab by default, so that he can continue with reading the feed as well...

Tanay said...

But I disagree with the business angle you raised. If we are entertaining ourselves, what's wrong if someone is making money out of it?! It's their business, and they have given such a wonderful platform which can be used for great purposes.

Another thing: I LOATHE people who get likes out of plagiarised status updates and posts. I think everyone should try to promote originality by posting original stuff or giving the credit.

Nethra said...

I'm pitying myself because I waste time on these social networking sites and let others make money out of it. I gain nothing. By the way, I don't prefer posting everything that happens with me...I let know only few things. I suppose others also should do the same thing. Sometimes seeing multiple status updates from a single person is quite irritating. It feels like he/she is keeping an online diary.

Pulkit said...

Well, candidly, I don't give a damn about Facebook anymore. It used to be okay until all my classmates joined in and flooded it with their annoying updates and comments. So I try to avoid Facebook. That's what my opinion is, anyone who hates or dislikes Facebook should either stay away or, like R said, not post anything [s]he wouldn't like to be commented about. Or rather just ignore the annoying stuff and enjoy everything else (if there is any such thing). And your post is definitely not superfluous, the situation is ironic indeed. By the way, I liked your choice of the title, "Yours virtually."

astrosunilnomy said...

maintaining a line, balance is all i takes in sharing info over FB or any other site, you dont need to upload all pics over picasa, all personal photos, security settings can be hacked...just share only things u need to stay in touch with your good buddies,

sorry to take subject off topic, social networking sites uploading videos, photos etc are not big threat compared to internet banking, really feel insecure in this internet hacking times to maintain our account secure , some account verification mail had come from ICICI bank. but was fake...it seemed so real with logo etc ...really need to be careful with your money especially

D2 said...

For Zuckerberg, obviously this is no more than business. Similarly, for many people, this is no more than getting in touch with old friends and keeping in touch with new ones (the idea that led to the creation of Facebook, in the first place)

Yes, Zuckerberg is indeed a private man and I do see the irony.
I do hope the movie will be as interesting as the trailer showcases it to be.

milkmiracle.net said...

I've heard many good things about the movie. I've got a Facebook account, but I don't usually post anything.

It is fun to do some people watching sometimes.

If you do see the movie, let me know what you think.

deepa kashyap said...

I like these social networking sites during my studies breaks :)
but yeah some time its totally wastage of time on any silly discussion over someone's changed relationships, those irritating notifications and blah blah.
excess of everything is bad.. isn't.
nice topic to come up with :)

Girish said...

Well, I had a fb account from a long time, but have been active only since the past fortnight!
Its addictive, especially when you make many friends who share your own views! And reconnect with old school friends!
Everyone knows any of our accounts can be hacked anytime & it isn't exactly private. Just don't post anything too personal if you are not that comfortable.

I wouldn't miss the movie for anything. Fincher would have directed the movie wonderfully! One of my fav directors :)

Ajay Kontham said...

I really like your post and your description about the things that people do.

Sometimes, there are people who would like to expose themselves to the outside world and henceforth update each and every work (sometimes nonsense) they do. They try to grab the attention of the fellow mates in their 'friends list'(mostly unknown to themselves).

And about the applications, they are created to lure people as they are very catchy and probably each click adds some bucks to the creator.And sometimes Business means just 'Business'.

BTW I have a Facebook account and I use it just to stay in touch with my friends and probably publish my posts.

Anish said...

@samadrita-I think it's wrong to say that our personal lives are no longer personal due to him...people choose what to post and what not to post on FB...Zuckerberg doesnt...he merely provided us with a medium..and as for making an ass out of themselves..many don't feel the same about it...the ones who do it feel it's for fun and don't think there's anything to be ashamed of...so no harm done...and if you don't want to see those updates FB even has the option to hide those updates so what's the harm? :)

personally I feel Facebook is better than orkut which is overrun by fraandshippers and fakies..and twitter which is overrun by wannabe cool people...it is a much more secure and personal social networking site...

Jaspreet said...

Well, your post just reminded me of how much I am missing FB since it is blocked in our office!
As almost everyone has said ,that the use of FB depends on only 'you'.And as far as these silly applications are concerned..it's ok if does it for fun but I just don't understand the need for publishing the results.

Samadrita said...

@Pawan: Haha Zuckerberg recycling shit..that is one interesting way to look at it. :)

@Tanay: I repeat this.I have no problem with the business angle. But we might as well stop making a fool out of ourselves by taking Facebook too seriously. That's what I wanted to convey through this post...exercize a little caution and control. And I have no problem with networked blogs as long as it is allowing the reader to go through the post and comment as well.

@Nethra: Hey I don't even see you on Facebook that often. You're definitely not included among the people who waste time there. And yea there are some people who've linked their twitter and FB accounts which is why there status is updated every 2 seconds. What a pain!

@Pulkit: Glad you liked the title. And yes I agree with what you're saying.

@astrosunilnomy: I know what you're talking about. Internet is not safe that is why my mom refrains from accessing her accts through websites and such. And I completely support her decision in this case. And uploading pictures of yourself and friends is okay...but some people upload pictures of anything and everything..like I said an empty beer bottle or a plate of half-eaten pizza...I mean WTH? They should stop somewhere. This is insane.

D2: It might have been good had people stuck to the idea of using Facebook to just stay in touch with people. Now the numerous settings and innovative, interactive applications have led them to bring everything about their lives out into the open for others to view. Glad you could see my point though.

Samadrita said...

@Anirban: People watching...lol that sums it up I guess. Will let you know after I get to see the movie. :)

@deepa kashyap: It totally is annoying to find so many notifications at times isn't it? Agree with you.

@Girish: Absolutely won't miss the movie.

@Ajay Kontham: Exactly. The FB settings have been designed in a way to lure us to expose more about ourselves. Few people can resist that temptation. And yes clicks do mean business to these people I'm dead sure. Thanks for the visit and the comment.

@Anish: Morons don't realize they're morons right? Otherwise they would've been stopped being morons a long time back. Why do you think parody sites such as failbook exist? Facebook is becoming a real life drama site day by day...numerous couples have even broken up on Facebook owing to a fight over status updates. Does it get any lamer than this?
But yea I guess you do not share similar views about the site..so no harm in there.
Another thing...if you hand an assassin with a gun and ask them to use it appropriately how do you think the situation will turn out to be?
That's the point I'm trying to make. The Facebook apps and settings are alluring enough to arouse people's curiosity. And since this is all virtual people are using them without any hesitation.
I can hide updates from a particular person...but then if they post an update that is,say, something useful to me next time,I won't be able to see it if I block him/her. That's why I don't hide updates. Zuckerberg is a private person 'cause he is a clever fellow. Unfortunately enough...most aren't.

@Jaspreet: You've made a good point. Why publish the results of such stupid quizzes for everyone to see? keep the information to yourself.

coolkamikazecat said...

just the day before to somebody cracking a Kalmadi joke (that too plagiarized or stolen from twitter) and garnering atleast 20 'likes'......
I did that some days back! But gave due credit to twitter also. I had quit orkut 3 yrs back when I got sick of people intruding in my space but then joined FB a few months back. Its okay as long as you use it in moderation.

Bikramjit Singh Mann said...

yeah true what you say but then the facebook guy has surpassed a lot and is among the richest people...

I dont use FB that much its jsut there to interact sometimes with my mates.. thats all

fb has always been criticised for being not very safe and i dont trust it that much.. thats y i hardly put any pics or anything there.. .

therre have been so many cases here , even some which have led to DEATH.. all on facebook

Bikram's Blog

Giribala said...

Thanks to Facebook and Twitter I found friends like you!!

evanescentthoughts said...

I dont think it is like invading our privacy.. some people like to upload pics and share it with friends, some dont.. Some lead a private life even in the real world by not sharing anything personal with friends but some share small thing with their friends in real life. But I like the fact that FB helps me to connect with friends who are thousands of miles apart in a different country altogether.. I really wanna watch this movie :)

Nik said...

Some time ago, me and a friend decided to call our life iG1 -

Reason : our jeevan was mostly spent in the virtual world of social networking sites (i = complex number = virtual)!

BTW, it is a David Fincher movie, so I have watch it.

Quintessence Of Illusion said...

Ahh...a long debate....whether we write crap or our updates make sense....still Zackerberg will be making money and people will be publicising themselves.....heheheheh....that cannot be stopped...what matters(both for us and Zackerberg) is that.... we should continue using FB..isnt it????

♥ Chocolate lover ♥ said...

true :/

♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ ayu ♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ said...

i didnt know he was the founder..he's somewhat cute haha..anyway, facebook became part of my world because of the easy communication process it gives me esp. in chatting with friends etc :p

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