Five years ago, when a dear friend first asked me to get on Orkut, I made the mistake of asking just what you did with a site like that. A blistering sermon later, I had been sent an invite, had my profile dictated to me, and had also lapsed into sweet inactivity.
Last year, I was finally harangued into creating another profile by another dear friend and this time, I have 400-odd scraps, a 100-odd friends, and 14 fans to show for it. And yet, I somehow get the distinct feeling that the dedication to "social networking" isn't really paying off.
You see, all sorts of people have come bloody crawling out and I'm just fit to howl. For all my magniloquent loquaciousness (see!), I'm truly dreadful at small talk. Truly. Also, I quite bloody hate making it and like most intelligent folk, I prefer proper conversations, don't you know.
Now, suddenly, I'm faced with people I haven't heard from in centuries but who want to know where I am, if I am married, and what I am doing with my life. Inexorably, like a deer caught in the headlights of courtesy, I eventually become polite conversation road kill.
A number of these "friends" are from school. For me, this is excruciating mainly because I absolutely loathed school AND I was a prat. Allow me to assure you of the incontrovertibility of these facts. If I'd met me in school, I'd have whacked me on the upside of my head!
Strangely, it seems that I am the only one that remembers me like that. These people seem content to initially be friendly and warm. Later, they surface only when their homepages remind them about a birthday or when some occasion's doing the scrapbook circuit.
As for me, I just don't understand why they'd want to keep such superficial contact seeing that we haven't been in touch for aeons and despite it, lived happy, fulfilled lives. Yeah sure, you never know—we could be best friends now. But I doubt that because I know it's not merely chance that I'm not in touch with anyone from school.
But let me not tell you only about these hilarious ones. Orkut is most egalitarian and also brings some other wonderfully avoidable experiences along. Sample this.
An ex-classmate from university recently scrapped me. Now him and I, we have a chequered history for a number of reasons, but mainly because of our egos. We've attempted to get and stay in touch a few times to no great or real avowals of a friendship.
He's recently had something really great work out for him and I sent him a note off-the-scrapbook that he didn't respond to. Not that I'd really expected a response, or for that matter, even expected him to believe that I was being more than polite. Indeed, the history's that chequered.
And yet, happy as I am that he'd gotten "back in touch", I think it would have been nice if he hadn't deleted scraps expressing gladness for him. With that one click, there I was—wishing for the impossible, that we still had a little understanding between us. Sigh...
Yup, yup, it's confirmed. I am most certainly less than enchanted with the bloody thing. How can I be? It's full of all that won't or can't leave me behind—no matter how hard we try.