The Depravity of Orkut

I was shocked the other day when my 14 year old cousin scrapped me – ‘Wassup?’ on Orkut. Firstly, I didn’t have a clue that he was on Orkut. Secondly, what was this ‘wassup?’ language? Have school kids forgotten the good old English language? An age where we lamented the death of letter–writing with the advent of email seems to have passed us by long ago. We probably have to start lamenting about the death of email and advent of scraps in our life! When did I last receive a personal email from one of my friends or relatives? (Oh no! I am not talking about mass mailing). It was quite a while, actually. What I receive in plenty nowadays are scraps. I reply to their scrap by email and they scrap me back with a reply – what do I call such people – pea-brained cretins??

Orkut, I am told, is only a tiny fraction of the social networking market (MySpace and Facebook being the leading monsters in this space). With every passing day, I get numerous requests to join hundred other social networking websites. LinkedIn, Jaxtr etc etc. Mass marketing + Social networking seems to be a great idea, oh yes! Brilliant idea – but stop SPAMMING me with your wretched and pitiable mass mailing ideas.

My intentions might be mistaken here. I am all for social networking sites – the logical output of what Internet was meant to be. All that ‘old friends’ meet’, ‘accidentally met long-lost teachers’, ‘met my soulmate’, ‘made great friends of friends’ friends’ – I completely agree with all that. There are some times when such good talk has to be said and there are others when all this crap has to be shunted out into a black hole! Being politically correct might demand saying ‘Orkut has its own advantages and disadvantages – sifting out the good from bad is what is required’, ‘There are so many communities on Orkut that would help improve the quality of life’ – but being politically correct is not correct at all, it is just a farce. And community improving quality of life? – are we talking of ‘I love Himesh Reshammiya’ community here?

We live in times where opening a browser entails two simultaneous things – opening up a social networking site in one tab and email in another. ‘Addiction’ is a strong word to use – but I would go a step further – being active on Orkut seems more like a religion nowadays – I guess actual religion gets lesser amount of attention and time than Orkut. Status on the Internet is not about money nowadays – it is more to do with the most number of scraps, most number of communities, videos, number of friends and testimonials. Gathering these have become close-to-maniac activity (and with these testimonials – even more funny – I scratch your back, you scratch mine) – A sense of pure play exhibitionism constipating delusional grandeur!!! As Orkut progresses further, we have hacks (which let anyone with a certain script scrap everyone in their friend list – and yes, customized with the friends’ name too) – script in itself being very simple (simple because a non-computer buff like me could understand it – and could have customized it if I wanted to) – I wonder what advanced hacks would do in a few months!!

Having said this, there is a funny side to Orkut too – funny because the very people who were the lifeline of Orkut have made this possible and the variations in this category border on infinity. The testosterone pumping males – absolute strangers – scrapping females (irrespective of whether the female’s profile pic is visible or not – when guys pump something, all they need – is a name) of the strangest scraps possible with the worst spellings even the illiterate would be ashamed of. Some samples –

Hi…I am lukin for good fraanship with you. Will you be frands with me?

(What did they expect? A wholehearted yes of being frands…err..friends?)

Hello! I am Amit Sharma.

(What response does this guy expect from the girl? Oh..you had me at Hello!??? (a.k.a Jerry Maguire??)

u r so butiful. I wanna make freindship with you.

(You have already made your intentions clear, you fool! And what’s with that subtle misspelling of friendship? Orkut provides you with a online spell-checker nowadays, you know!)

Hi!

(I like this guy. Very succinct and to the point. Intentions very clear – simplicity is the best policy. The girl is most likely to ask ‘Who in the world taught you communication skills?’ rather than doubting his intentions)

One interesting answer I heard from one of my friends (very logical indeed on hindsight!) with regards to communities he had signed up for on Orkut (he had signed up for I love Linkin Park, Bertrand Russell’s fans, Online Chess forums, Business Quiz forum, Hindi Melodies from the ‘70s, etc., etc., counting to around 20). On questioning him with respect to a newfound interest in absolutely alien topics like these, he replied ‘Dude, nowadays, girls search on Orkut first before they talk to you. So better get the profile straight – scraps, videos, rigged testimonials and fake communities. That way, you have made a perfect first impression – needless to say, first impression is always the best impression’!! I couldn’t agree more and I sadly gape at the power Orkut wields over the population aged 6-60!!

P.S –

1) Thankfully, Orkut has brought in certain security features very recently where you can lock scrapbooks, photographs and videos to be visible only to a few select friends. Previously, your online life was out in the open to the entire world (barring a few, who religiously deleted all their scraps regularly)

2) And people –  I believe scrapping gives you different varieties of vicarious pleasure, but please – for Internet’s sake – Email me!!!

Update: This article was published in Desicritics.org. Link here

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2 comments so far

  1. VJ on

    I couldnt agree with you more…

    Check this guy out.. he has 40,000+ (and counting) scraps, 554 friends, 112 photos and countless tesimonials.

    http://www.orkut.com/Profile.aspx?uid=12303852902321215146

  2. Fezzy on

    Ah – see that link there? blablabla.aspx <- that right there is yer problem. See, only idiots use ASP.


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