Monday, September 12, 2011

The fake and the real in Celluloid


Interviewer: “How many friends do you have?”
Answer: “You mean friends in real life or facebook or what?”

The screening of Online and Available
This was a dialogue from a documentary I saw today titled “Online and Available” at the PSBT Open Frame Film Festival 2011.  I don’t know how this dialogue had the power to evoke huge laughter in the whole auditorium. Probably because, almost everyone sitting there could identify themselves with giving a similar answer to such a question! And yes, I was amused to the extent that I set-off on writing this blog entry which I had originally planned some 2 months ago while I was doing my internship and Google Plus had just entered the social networking market!

Today is the 12th of September- a day which I would probably never forget during my entire lifetime. This was the day, 7 years ago, when I had founded JATC- the children’s club in my colony! And I am actually surprised, that I was not part of any social media website then, in 2004. Orkut invaded my teenage life in February 2006 and since then social networking has become an integral part of me!

There is no looking back now. I was never active on orkut till end of 2006. And then, I got to know about the Adnan Patrawala case and learnt to be more cautious on the net. (Don’t know Adnan? Google it!) My parents didn’t like my spending of hours in front of the computer, in fact, in front of Orkut! But I never cared to listen to them!

Then somehow in April 2009, I created a facebook account. Yeah, this was the new buzz. I couldn’t adjust with the interactivity of facebook immediately and so was highly inactive at this new place for some time. But then, technology has its way of moving ahead, leaving the old behind. And soon enough, I was glued to Facebook. Orkut lay forgotten. I was a facebook addict now!!

After watching the ‘Social Network’, I was actually appreciating Mark Zuckerberg for this brilliant (probably ‘stolen’) college project called Facebook, that had revolutionized the way we use the internet.

And then the competitor arrived- Google Plus. MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn and Hi5- none could compete with Facebook. But Google Plus did have the potential to remove this ‘monopoly’ from the top-spot for a change. With the initial reviews and wait for ‘invites’ and the huge number of social networkers joining the site in such a less amount of time, it seemed that finally now there was something that was going to rival facebook. But, well, I guess, Facebook still is the winner. Google Plus was surely able to pull in a huge crowd but somehow its facebook+twitter combination wasn’t able to keep its users glued to it. At least not the way Zuckerberg could!

Coming back to where I started this. The movie. There were actually many things that I got to know from it. Some were known and the movie just brought it out. And some were, truly unknown.

The movie focussed on the dual-lives that so many of us have started living- Online and Offline. I don’t think I am going to delve into the details of what the movie had; you can find that through a simple Google Search. Let me concentrate on the more important things.

I was surely not aware of the fact that when in 2010, SMS services were banned in Jammu and Kashmir, internet ban had also been planned. But because of some technical issues (that involved separating the internet connection lines of Punjab, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and J&K) this couldn’t be done. And so, facebook became the only medium of mass communication for the youth there. 35,000 unique users were active on facebook from J&K and were communicating the interior realities of what was happening there to their friends and hence to the world.

Blogging was a medium that so many people used to help themselves get rid of emotional pressures. It provided them a platform to communicate with people virtually and more easily. (I was actually jealous of the Indian housewife’s blog that the film featured. She had s many as 470 comments on a single post! I have never had even 47!)

Leading this second and sometimes ‘fake’ life, was found funny for some and some did it for emotional help- to get rid of the tensions of everyday life in a virtually real (but non-existing) life. And there are people who actually get attached to this ‘fake’ life so much that they tend to turn their real selves into this ‘fake’ one!

I don’t know why I was compelled to make this entry today after watching the by-far most interesting movie at the Film Festival, which has lasted for 4 days already. I guess I would conclude with the continuation of the conversation in the beginning.

Interviewer: “Tell about each one.”
Answer: “Well, a couple of thousands online and probably two offline!!”

PS: Do you lead a double life as well? Do let me know with your views and comments…

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