Friday, April 17, 2015

A Virtual Friend


The world of virtual friendship started with the onset of the Yahoo Messenger service. A market place for prospective friends! Friends whom you will never meet, friends with whom you won’t dine out, a shoulder on which you will never be able to lean your head on, friends with whom you will never share your past, friends with whom you will never share your secrets! A whole new definition of friends! A virtual friend!!

As technology advanced, the anonymous agora of friends slowly started having a slow death. A slow death to the new age tsunami called the ‘Orkut’. A refined version of the virtual world! The friends in this polished spectrum were known people, probably from the early days of school or college, people from our previous work place, people who were lost as we moved ahead with life.

My social networking baptism started in the era of ‘Orkut’. An age when the ‘Scraps’ were sacrosanct as once having an email address was! I remember the initial days of having an email id were spent on checking the mails every hour. Therefore, checking my scraps every half hour was definitely not exaggerated. After all, this is what technological advancement meant! Bringing people together. Bringing people closer. What harm was it just to check whether someone, long forgotten, long lost, suddenly gets in touch one day, through this fabulous medium called the ‘Social Network’. A gregarious neighborhood of virtual connections of sorts. You can friend an already existing friend, you can friend a no friend, you can friend a friend who you thought wasn't a friend at all.

Fame is like a shooting star! The sooner you climb the sooner you fall! The faster you swish past, the faster you are forgotten!! The same was true for Orkut. The days of glory slowly started to fade away giving way to a 23 year old’s dream campus launch, Facebook. Another social networking site which created a wave for many others to follow suit but eventually murdering the pioneer, Orkut!

Facebook was no different from its predecessor; only an updated version. Probably Orkut 2.0 would have been the appropriate title for it! Another shop in the teeming marketplace of opportunities and re-connections! Another virtual platform promising a gamut for detached virtual friends!

People often say that these social networking sites are great ways to reconnect and remain in touch. Yes even I share that thought. But if being in touch just means being in the friends list, then I think it is better we don’t be friends at all. Being a friend is more appreciated when instead of posting a comment on your timeline on a special day you choose to pick up the phone and talk! A friend who doesn't need to be reminded of a birthday by a reminder! A friend who doesn't have to give a fake ‘Poke’ to wake you up from your long slumber of detachment! Yes! These social networking sites are great if each and every friend is just a call away and remembers you always. What is the use of a ‘friend’ who stays dormant from the time you re-connected and chooses to stay that way?      

The virtual world of Facebook is great if you want to show off your photos. It is also a great place for reconnecting with people who are lost in this medley of life. But whether we just choose to mummify these reconnected friends only to our friends list on Facebook or we choose to take them out from the closet and call them and blend them in our lives is upto us! A virtual friend can become a real friend when we pick up the phone and give voice to the face we see on the screen. A voice which assures us of its existence and its closeness! A voice which gives us the trust of being there when wanted! Real friendships and real friends have to be real and not virtual!