Sunday, early morning, still tired although slept for more than 7 hours. More than tired, I am lazy to do anything at the moment. Heard my cell phone ringing which was in another room. I thought “Let it ring, I will call back to the person once I get up”. But, it looks like the person who was calling was determined to make this conversation happen at this moment. Cell phone kept on ringing. It completed its 6 rings of first round and then started all over again for the second round. I was feeling as if somebody is try to shoot me till I die. Finally I got up and went to the other room to answer the call. Tried to read the number displaying on the caller id. Could not recognize it? I was extremely irritated. I thought may be somebody from telemarketing company. I made up my mind to scold and offend the caller so much that he or she will never dare to call me back ever again. I knew these are useless attempts because they have a huge army and the same person does not attack again and again. Next time it may be another person but still I made up my mind to show my frustration in most destructive manner. “HELLO!!!” I answered. “May I speak to Sakti?”. This confirmed my belief that this is none other than a telemarketing guy. I answered “YES, TELL ME, WHAT DO YOU WANT?” rudely and was shouting. Caller was bit hesitant by now, which I could understand by the shaky voice, I was happy because I was successful in my attempts. Then caller said “Is it Sakti, who studied in N.C.High school, Jajpur Road? I am his friend speaking, I am sorry if you are not the same person.” with a shaky and sad voice. I immediately realized my mistake and was feeling very guilty. I asked “Ohh I am sorry, Yes, I am the same Sakti. But, unfortunately, I am not able to recognize your voice”. He told me his name and told me some incidents that he expected me to remember. I could recognize him but not very well. I wish, if I could have seen his photo to recognize him. He told me with how much difficulty he found my phone number and how happy he was to get to talk to me. I was happy because he was happy but was not very sure who he was and how much close I was with him during my school days.
Years passed and many such calls were mishandled and ignored. I did not bother much about these friends and those memories. Time passed by and my personal world shrunk day by day due to this. Suddenly I realized that there were only few people in my life. They were people from my immediate family and immediate colleagues at work. When my family is not there in town and I am not at office, I was lonely. I had nobody to talk to. Something was missing and I was not sure what to do about it.
Then came Orkut followed by Facebook. Social networking sites. Slowly and gradually I found many of my friends whom I had lost many mileposts behind in this journey. I saw their photographs, recognize them, read their views and commented on their views too. They did the same with me. Recalled many lost memories and relived many buried moments. I could see what is going on in their life and felt as if they are just as close to me as they were when we were geographically close. Got their phone numbers at ease and called them when got time. There was a sudden change in my social life. Although it is not a traditional social life but it is no less than that. Psychologically it was the same. The difference is, in traditional social life friends used to share good moments and stand beside you in bad times. In social network sites you get to know only good times. Rarely friends share their problems here, so you do not know if anything is going wrong in their life and they need you to call them, stand beside them, unless they explicitly tell that to you. So we remain as friends of good times not the type of friends whom we recognize as ‘Friends in Need are Fiends Indeed’. Friends keep their sorrow, worries, difficulties and bad times only with them. There is another difference too, there used to be specified and dedicated time for friends in traditional social life. We used to meet either before going to work or after coming from work or on weekends that to only for few hours. Now we have easy access to these anytime we want. At work, at home and everywhere else. When I go to sleep I check updates, when I get up in the middle of the night I check updates, when I get up in the morning I check updates in my cell phone.When I get few minutes I check for updates. This ease gradually became an addiction. In search of lost friends I started ignoring my immediate life. After realizing this, decided to stop using them and stay away but again got dragged in to it. Life became difficult without this. I used them for a limited time. I started using these more to share my thoughts rather than reading others. I became more selfish than I was before using these.
I do not want to conclude that social networking sites are bad or good. If we do not restrain and let this become an uncontrolled habit then it is going to spoil our professional as well as personal life. I can only find another product similar to it. That is credit card. Misuse can kill you and proper use can make you real smart.
– Stray Dog