Status Message: Feeling +ed But Feeling Lonely

Social networking sites have been mushrooming in the country ever since Orkut started the revolution in 2004 and created a rage among the urban young population comfortable with the idea of sharing intimate details with a faceless person on the other side of the World Wide Web, but gradually shying away from the comfortable familiarity of the human touch.

The trend was quick to catch on: what started off as a platform to reconnect with your long-lost school friends gradually moved on to sharing photographs, playing online games or simply expressing yourself to the whole world.

As more specialized sites like Twitter and LinkedIn joined the foray, the dominance of Orkut gradually faded, giving way to the ubiquitous use of Facebook, valued at $100 billion. Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year old owner is a rich man who has successfully exploited the loneliness of the modern young crowd who are well-connected, yet disconnected: disconnected from themselves, disconnected from what really matters and disconnected from the REAL world.

Of course social networking gives you the illusion of being constantly informed, of being aware and of being heard. It gives you ‘a voice’, it gives you ‘a status’ and it gives you ‘a personality’. But it also robs you off something more valuable: your unique identity, the surreal sense of mystery that surrounds each person and the exclusivity of BEING YOU.

So the recent launch of Google Plus, Google’s desperate attempt to pose a challenge to Facebook, brings back the haunting question: What can it possibly offer that we already don’t have?

Can it bring back the lost art of letter writing?
Can it bring back the childhood memories and all the uninhibited laughter?
Can it bring back the warmth that only real people can provide?
Can it bring back the human touch?
Can it bring you closer to your family and friends when you are alone in a new city and desperately need a hug?
These questions must be posed to us several times before, but how many times have we sat and given it a thought? Something to think about!

Simanti Talukdar

An economics graduate and Symbi MBA by education, an analyst in an Investment Bank by profession and a writer by passion, she is one confused person.