The clock strucks 7 on the wall above the white board, the sun sets somewhere far beyond the wall, and the computer screens display the orkut windows. This was the usual scene in a marketing start-up where I spent one month in summers last year, it is still the same scene in the office where I pass time in these summers. Enter a hostel-computer-center, you witness the same scene. What’s so grand about orkut that every netoholic (internet alcoholic) is addicted to it? What is the Role of Orkutting in the lives of orkut users.
A big one I should say. As it turns out Orkut is like a huge chat room. It is easy to find many new virtual profiles, real pics, and shreds of conversation. It is the best place, as I am told, to meet new people (?), to strike a conversation and later to move on to better chat applets like ymnsger or gtalk. So Orkut really helps in broadening one’s social network. PR as they call it. Others find it useful in staying connected with collegemates… well, I am myself not very sure what “staying connected” means here.. But the implications are that you get to exchange “scraps” or one-liners, saying/asking how one is doing in general, and we all know, everybody says i’m fine.
So, do you stay on orkut just to tell people about rockin’ life? Na re! Orkut has helped many of my friends to get through their last year in college. The big public chat room where people can gossip, share jokes, pull legs, discuss plans, exchange phone no.s and other vital info, indulge in harmless flirting is not a small arena for timepass. It has started a new mantra: Browse karte karte hue bore, karna hai kuch kaam, shuru karo orkutting lekar google ka naam! Here guys meet new females, females meet new females (to compare themselves with, to pass judgements, and also aajkal achche ladke hein hi kahan jo dikhenge!) and oldies don’t exist.
But, facts apart, what makes me wonder is howcome people find it satisfying at all? I deleted my profile almost an year back. That might have been a calculated move and not just a random deletion of an inactive account. Though I wasn’t very active when I was a member, I always wanted to be. And I was caught up in the similar rush of checking up other people’s profiles and scrapbooks. Ofcourse, I was fortunate enough to get into blogging mode and give up often frustrating activity of orkutting, but not everyone likes to read. But the fact remains, orkut gets you hooked. Why?
Doesn’t one often wonder how the world ran before the mobile revolution took over? How people maintained relations when they left country and went to live far away from home? How much life has been changed with all the innovations in communications in the past few years? I can never answer whether all this has been for good, or worse. For that one has to go into philosophy of good/bad and I have no intentions of doing that. Instead I happily wonder how life would have been without orkut?
Without orkut, i.e w/o google, and if I am allowed to imagine, w/o windows, and then w/o computer (ouch! am I hurting many hearts here?), there is a possibility that instead of typing “how you doing” on comp screen, we would have heard more of “how you doing” in hostel quads, campus roads, acad canteens, community centres… just a possibility. Perhaps, it would have been easier to say “hello” to a stranger face to face, as there wouldn’t have been an escape route through http://… Perhaps people would have found more meaningful things to write in e-mails/letters. How many of the new generation can write letters anymore? But then, why the hell is it important to write letters anyway? Who cares as long as one is able to statisfy oneself – whether it maybe orkut or ryze or emails or letters? Yes, perhaps it is the difference in temperaments.
On a more personal note, I wonder why my temperament is so different? Why would I rather make friends around me with whom I can walk around, watch sun-set together, share a bhelpuri plate, discuss heatedly/absentmindedly/wonderingly about anything and everything, enjoy the quietness too? Why is it so difficult to find friends? I wonder how my parents who were always in transit managed to make such great friends in their neighbours that after all these years they are still in contact? Has my generation lost that friendly gene? I guess not. I hope not.