Social? Really?

December 04, 2010

[Disclaimer: This article is in no way written with any prejudices towards social networking and internet socializing. Its purpose is to point out that virtual 'social' world is shadowing the real 'social' world. That doesn't sound amusing to me, especially going forward.]

Life is an amazing journey, inter-spaced with gifts and lessons. Gifts are what we see as the 'good' things happening to us, while lessons are their 'bad' counterparts.

To me, it feels as if I'm taking a course. The course involves understanding humans- their behavior, thought patterns, belief systems etc. And in the last year I have been a student of human behavior, I have learnt things about relationships (and not just romantic ones), about people feeling good/bad or happy/sad, about their reactions to situations. (I apologize if I sound like an alien here :P )

This morning I read an article by Simon Sinek (you can read it here) about friendship. This made me think for the umpteenth time. Facebook tells me I have almost 300 (and counting) friends, Orkut says the number is closer to 225. According to twitter, I have almost 100 "followers" (I never know I was a leader ;) ) I'm pretty sure other sites will have similar stats to show me, but when I reflect and ponder about how many of these people belong to the category whom I'd like to hang out with for a whole day, or whom I would call when I'm feeling distressed, or want to open my heart to; these numbers lose their meaning.

We are indeed 'connected' and within a very easy reach of everyone in today's "networked" world. But "do we have the warmth and closeness in friendships and relationships?" is the big question.

I, being a person who hates stereotyping and everyone with a stereotyped mentality (am I committing the same felony here? Keep guessing ;) ) but it seems to me that despite having a never-before myriad of connecting technologies and devices, we kind of are not close.

The real 'groups', 'communities' and 'networks' don't exist on social networking sites, they thrive in the feeling of togetherness and unity, and in the joy of sharing and caring.

Maybe I'm more emotional than a 'practical' person (as some refer to the kaam-nikalo-chalte-bano breed of people), but my question is, am I the only one out there?