Friday, August 19, 2011

The Wannabe's Social Network!

Staying away from Facebook for 2 months had its own positive effects on me. It was when I actually got to observe and finally conclude what it meant for people to be on Facebook, the best, ultimate and the easiest accessible hub of gossiping and being virtual peeping toms into someone's life.

Also, the other Social Network, that seemed to appear a completely wannabe-dominated one, was the one created by Research In Motion's BlackBerry Messenger, popularly known as, BBM, closely followed by the recent spur of Android phones and the use of WhatsApp.

It's funny how everyone just wants to be a part of the popular circles on Facebook, more so, those who haven't been of the popular ones in their schools and colleges, and are desperately seeking attention. I sometimes wonder what the need for it is. But then, it is justified.

Within the first week of dumping Facebook (due to personal reasons), I had at least 40 friends enquiring me about why I wasn't on there and when I would be returning. Not just that, by the end of a month, at least a 150 of them had asked me in some or the other way possible about it. The point I'm making here, is how interested people are in other's lives over their own. It amuses me how much our lives are supposedly attached to Facebook that for every small information we may require about someone, we would prefer to go to their profile and find it out rather than asking them by themselves (the time when I gave up on it, was just a few days before the MHT-CET result followeb by the whole admissions period)!

And that, when Facebook wasn't ever my primary social network. That, had always been and will be Twitter. But, there were barely any questions from anyone about Twitter mainly because, it's not as used as Facebook is. The portion of the population that uses Twitter is people with a completely different virtue.

All said and done, the first time I felt Facebook was the wannabe hub of the internet, was when I saw people using only their mobile phones for managing their whole online presence, precisely, Facebook. People posting status updates as popular and re-forwarded text messages and even popular tweets. People starting Facebook as the first site when they get on the computers at their friend's places and don't get off it till they are completely done with it. People who use the internet on someone else's phone, who has it free, just to check their Facebook.

I have friends who are still not on Facebook (yes, you read that right!), and they often tell me about how everyone keeps annoying them, as to why they are not, and keeps pushing them to come onto it. I then say to myself, "People have stopped being themselves, finally."

Let's face it. When your social status is associated with how many likes or comments your new photograph got; with how many people appreciated your status which was quiet really a cut-copy-paste; with who you chat with online, but behave as strangers when you actually meet; with how many video links you post when you're online; with how many people post on your 'wall', with your display picture depicting what you're ... Well, Facebook, I'm pretty sure, helps such people to boast about their own bubbles.

It's funny how at every hangout, everyone wants to just click pictures so that they can upload it the next time they are online and tell everyone else about how awesome their time was, when all they did was gossip about people based on their Facebook profiles, and make fun of those who weren't still on it.

Then comes the second part. BBM. With the whole big BlackBerry controversy making news mid-2010, and it being the headlines of news almost everywhere, BlackBerry found its much needed publicity, and thus, by the word of mouth, BBM, the service which has been of the USP of BlackBerry since the beginning, was marketed to the lower levels of the society too. Now, I don't know whether BlackBerry had planned to release the low-cost handsets earlier or took an advantage of the prevailing situation to make the benifit, but, either ways, it worked to their benefit and now, there's a sudden upsurge in the sale of BlackBerry Curve models and the BlackBerry Messenger users, in the last 3 financial quarters.

Let's roll back. How did it all begin? I suppose, a person A got a BlackBerry. Began using it and found out that he didn't have anyone much he could talk to on BBM. A friend B asked him which phone he should get, in general. A began bragging about his BlackBerry and how amazing it would be if they could talk and chat for free (after paying heavy for the BlackBerry plan)! Amused, and wanting to be following the footsteps of A, B gets one. Slowly, leading to a point where getting a BlackBerry was all about getting to talk to all your friens and because most of them had one. So much so that a person having BlackBerry in his/her hand, might hate QWERTY phones, but still uses one just because he/she gets to talk to everyone for supposedly 'free'.

There was a time when owning a BlackBerry was synonymous with that person being some big biz guy/girl having to deal a lot with internet, chat and e-mails on-the-go. The time when I dreamt of owning a BlackBerry myself when I would be 25 and probably in my first job.

But, that dream is now somewhere down the drain. Reason? More than 70% of the BlackBerry users today, don't use their BBs for anything except BBM and posting updates to their social networks while they are away from their desktop. Some, also being those who have their whole online presence managed from their BlackBerrys. The real purpose of a BlackBerry, e-mails and push functions, have found its way in the dungeons for all these.

Also, the Android phones that came by recently led people to get themselves internet on their phones to activate and use their WhatsApp which was supposedly a BBM-killer, only till they knew that WhatsApp worked on BB too!!

I had always said and maintained, the day social networking websites and their notifications turn more important than e-mails, for a person, the person is an addict to that network. Here, we witness that for almost everything that I have mentioned.

Leaving aside all the fuss about the internet, getting a bit more close to reality. By how much has the use of 'ma' instead of 'my' increased around you? How many people who can barely speak fluent english talk in accents that make them sound sophisticated? How many people try to be a part of the group by talking about things that they don't even know about? And for right now, I really want to know and wonder, how many people support the Jan Lokpal Bill and Anna Hazare without even having a clue of the Legislature, Constitution, Parliament, Law making processes of the country, (leave alone the two drafts, that'd be even more rare!)?

For me, and in my opinion ALL of these, are wannabes. Now, I don't want to get into the psychology of this and what it means because that's something we all know. Being a part of the crowd, to follow a herd, blindly.

Wow. Such an evolved world we live in. You choose who you really are now. You can deny by reading this, that even if you do all this, you are not a wannabe, but, I hope sometime later in your life, you do understand that who you are is much more than who the world wants you to be. Being who we are, is the greatest and the best thing that can happen to us. That's how we can be unique.

Till then... Spread the word about this blog on, 'The Wannabe's Social Network!' (I don't mind both!) *winks*


  1. I would have loved to write the comment in short but that wouldn't have helped you or motivated you. (I mean that's my thinking). Coming to the post, there's a scope for debate on this topic but that doesn't mean you are wrong. Its like the half-full, half-empty glass theory. Some concentrate on pros and some on cons. To an extent I disagree too because these gadget based social networks have also made the world smaller, enabling people to shed their inhibitions and communicate with others. I don't mind being tagged a "wannabe" because I am able to comment on your post while travelling (using a blackberry) and that wouldn't have been possible if you wouldn't have updated about it through the so called social network.

    On a good note, nicely written about the cons. Just a few grammatical corrections needed. Rechecking should help you.

    Warm regards,
    (A Wannabe)

  2. Well, about blackberry.. The friend theory may be correct, but the actual story is like, when the gulf guys banned BBS, and when the whole Blackberry security threat started, BB did get publicity, but not on the positive front... And, in a bid to recover, BB stated massive advertising campaigning; if u remeber, it was after that news that we began to see BB adverisements, and BB adverts with Indians in it. Also, thats when they released the Baby BB, Curve 8250, so that it became accessable to everyone... Newspapers, tv, sites like yahoo and hotmail... Thats, when the BB phenomenon finally spread, and , the BBM craze...
    Im not saying thats how everybody got hooked up to BB, but well, thats how many of us ended up owning one... Effective advertising.
    @Bhavin: bro, thats really not what he meant! Idk if u were in patkar, but if u were, you would have clearly got a glimpse of what he wants to portray! Aaaghh...there are many more!!!

  3. U nailed dis one!! :D

    Shruti :)

  4. Phenomenally brilliant depiction of the current mind-set that people show towards Facebook and BBM. Having been away from Facebook for 3 months, I feel that my life is much more peaceful. The amount of unnecessary gossiping that happens there is beyond belief. Twitter is much better than Facebook at this time, because the crowd which migrated from Orkut to Facebook hasn't yet migrated grom Facebook to Twitter. I am sure the day that happens, we would find another place to hang out in sans this unbridled cacophony.


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