Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sorry for being away, but I was away

I came across an interesting article in the Washington Post today on the pervasiveness of me-sites: blogs and websites where the subject seems to be the self. I've always been a little baffled by facebookers and orkuters and bloggers who wish to tell us how they spent their day. Now, understand, I'm not judging (I promise). If you wish to use the internet to tell us about yourself, by all means, go ahead. All I'm saying it, don't expect me to understand the compulsion (or to visit your page/website/blog).

Look, I'm an incredibly egotistical guy. But even I would never think my life is interesting enough for me to plaster myself, my pictures or my stories all over the web. I would be terribly embarassed by it all - I would ask myself, "Who the hell cares what you did on the weekend?" and answer "Uh, no one". For me, if I'm going to blog about myself, I would need to have climbed Mount Everest or done something even more difficult, like taking a few points off Roger Federer, so that I would have something to write about. Only in that situation would a personal blog make sense. But I guess that's not true for an increasing number of people, many of whom feel the need to detail incredibly mundane aspects of their lives.

I suppose many people feel the MySpaces and Facebooks and Orkuts of the world are social networking sites and help to meet new people. I'm not so sure. Since I'm not a member of any of these things, I really can't say from experience, so if I'm wrong, by all means let me know. But I'd be truly surprised if anyone on these sites actually made a new friend through them. People find it hard enough to make time for the friends they have; you're telling me that they're going out, consciously looking for more friends? I don't think so.

In essence, these sites seem to be (again, let me emphasize I'm speaking from a distance, so I could be wrong) places where you tell the rest of the world what you're up to, what your favourite movie is and what your hair looks like this week. That's it. You can't really call them social networking sites. I doubt very seriously if anyone who's, say, interested in computer games, British politics and badminton goes around Facebook looking for someone in their area who also happens to be interested in computer games, British politics and badminton just so they can be friends. More likely is the case that the person interested in computer games, British politics and badminton is self-important enough to think that the rest of the world cares that they're interested in computer games, British politics and badminton, and hopes that the rest of the world will sit up and say "Wow! If someone is interested in computer games, British politics and badminton, they must be really cool! And look, these pictures of Saturday night's party prove his coolness! What a God!" And that's the part I don't understand. Surely the people using these sites are smart enough to know that they only seem interesting to themselves, right? Right?

7 comments:

Alien Panda said...

Isn't it then ironic then that you do end up talking about how you spend your day, i.e. you read about politics, think about some issue and write it in the blog!

cheap shots aside - Ahsan you're mixing up a lot of different things here.

Facebook - you usually need to know a person to even access their profiles, or message them so its not really a tool for meeting new people but a way of keeping in touch without having to email. Many people use MySpace and Orkut for similar purpose - or to spy on people! MySpace is alos a great place to check out bands, and these unsigned, unreleased bands have a huge following - Arctic Monkeys started out as a 'MySpace band'.

Ahsan, be prepared for a surprise, people, and a large number of them, do go online to make friends and do manage to do so. Hell online match-making sites have millions upon millions of subscribers.

I don't really understand the point of your British politics, badminton paragraph, well i do, but its a bit stupid. I don't like looking at Saturday Night party pictures (or do I?) but I'm sure there are people who do; I do however read Cricinfo and so do you. Now imagine an accompanying forum on Pakistani cricket . Now I probably wouldnt be commenting there but Im sure many people would do so, and regularly, and they might even get to know each other.

Ahsan said...

well done alien panda, you have once again managed to completely miss my point. i must say you have a talent for doing so.

"Isn't it then ironic then that you do end up talking about how you spend your day, i.e. you read about politics, think about some issue and write it in the blog!"<-this is an extremely daft comment to make. my post differentiated bloggers on the basis of the content of their blogs - the self vs other things. i am a blogger about other things. the bloggers im referring to blog about themselves. surely this is not difficult to grasp.

"Ahsan, be prepared for a surprise, people, and a large number of them, do go online to make friends and do manage to do so. Hell online match-making sites have millions upon millions of subscribers."<-i am prepared to admit that online dating has taken off and is now a viable way of meeting a significant other. but i still maintain people dont make friends online. theres a difference between friendship and romance. if you can, name me one person you have befriended through a social networking site. hell, name me one person YOU KNOW who has befriended someone through a social networking site. if you do, ill admit i was wrong, since i told you already, im talking from afar and am not aware of the intricacies of these sites. but ill go out on a limb and suggest that you cannot.

"I do however read Cricinfo and so do you. Now imagine an accompanying forum on Pakistani cricket . Now I probably wouldnt be commenting there but Im sure many people would do so, and regularly, and they might even get to know each other."<-once again, completely missing the point. if you and i read cricinfo, and then meet on a forum discussing cricket, we are doing EXACTLY THAT: meeting on a CRICKET FORUM. we are not meeting on a social networking site, where you have a look-see at my "profile" (which i obviously try and cool up as much as possible) and decide i am worthy of your friendship and extend an invite, or start a chat coversation or whatever the fuck. and even on the cricket forum, the point is not to become friends (i challenge you to find me two people who became friends because they visited the same cricket forum) but to discuss cricket.

really, alien panda, really.

Alien Panda said...

I said it was a cheap shot Ahsan and I accept teh difference between blogging teh self vs. blogging your interests.
As for do I personally know people who have befriended poeple online, then hell yeah dude. Before the advent of MySpace etc, you had MIRC, you might remember a certain STK, he got to know those women through the internet. Apart from him, I do know of people who have befriended people on Orkut and then MET them in real life.

Ahsan you and I might be regularly commenting on a cricket forum and our social interaction would be limited to that BUT others might not limit it to that. They might email each other and they might comment on each other's personnal blog site about their personal life: does that not constitute friendship, do you require an element of physical presence?
As for physical presence - Karachi metroblogs, which is a community blog about, duh, karachi held a 'Get-Together' so that the people who comment and who post could all get to know each other in the real world.

"I challenge you to find me two people who became friends because they visited the same cricket forum". I think I might have fulfilled that challenge albeit not regarding cricket.

Lastly, even though you've challenged me to present evidence for my statements, your entire post lacks any justification. I'm aware of your disclaimer but your unsubstantiated presumptions about the web surfing habits of all and sundry lacks any objectivity, and the post becomes prejudiced hyperbole, whereby the disclaimer becomes meaningless.

MIG said...

"Now imagine an accompanying forum on Pakistani cricket . Now I probably wouldnt be commenting there but Im sure many people would do so, and regularly, and they might even get to know each other."

Well sir perhaps you have not heard of Pakpassion, the 675th most popular forum on the internet! It is precisely the answer to your question and the one place where fan meets fan and fan meets cricketer (Noddy bhai a.k.a Nadeem Abbasi). You have to imagine no more. Pakpassion has brought your dreams to reality!!!!

Ahsan said...

"As for do I personally know people who have befriended poeple online, then hell yeah dude. Before the advent of MySpace etc, you had MIRC, you might remember a certain STK, he got to know those women through the internet. Apart from him, I do know of people who have befriended people on Orkut and then MET them in real life."<--ok, cool. i was wrong.

"Lastly, even though you've challenged me to present evidence for my statements, your entire post lacks any justification. I'm aware of your disclaimer but your unsubstantiated presumptions about the web surfing habits of all and sundry lacks any objectivity, and the post becomes prejudiced hyperbole, whereby the disclaimer becomes meaningless."<--haha clearly ive touched a raw nerve here. it was precisely BECAUSE my presumptions were unsubstantiated that i gave a disclaimer. the post was not "prejudiced hyperbole" and the disclaimer was not "meaningless". but whatever, we can agree to disagree.

Farooq said...

Hah!

Im reading this blog after a long time and I MUST say Ahsan has either gotten a lot more humble or a bit more insecure.

The number of disclaimers in his initial post are hilarious. You know, stuff like "Now, understand, I'm not judging", "ALL I'm saying", " I really can't say from experience, so if I'm wrong, by all means let me know."

Awesome. I know first hand that he IS judging and he does NOT think he is or ever will be wrong but its still kind of cute to see him make the effort.

Ahsan said...

ok farooq.