Sunday, October 28, 2007

Let's face facts!

I’m now on Facebook! Well if you ask me what I’m doing on a virtual forum that’s largely the domain of 20 somethings, I don’t really have a quick enough answer. For one thing the technology fascinates me. There are all kinds of applications that allow you to do all kinds of interesting stuff related to music, travel, books, entertainment, food, games and tons more. When I need ‘timepass’ stuff, Facebook is turning into my most favourite haunt. Then again there’s a lot that can be done with photographs, which is great too. But it’s not just the technological wonder that has drawn me to Facebook – there’s the social networking thing too.

I had heard a very senior official in the global marketing team of one of the cola majors say in an interview that she along with all her team-mates hung out on areas like Facebook & Orkut to track the trends among the youth globally. Thus, more than social networking, it has turned into a professional necessity too. In a way, for me too there’s a professional compulsion – increasingly, I feel that many organizations in India are turning pro-young in a very active way. And often that leads to isolation of and even discrimination against older people in the organization. And in staying in touch with younger folks – what could be a better place than Facebook?
Of course, the same logic was thrown to me by my friend – the father of a teenager – that he was trying to persuade his daughter not to waste time on things like Facebook and instead spend more time with her studies - so how could he be seen there – sorry he was refusing my invite to join up. Again some friends who are academics don’t exactly want to be seen hanging out on Facebook with their students, that could lead to professional issues. And some others – who work for global listed companies – couldn’t get on Facebook because their employers may object. A few others felt that social networking online has a very serious fallout on their privacy and sometimes security. I can understand that all these issues are serious enough and often I wonder what I’m doing here myself. But then when I look at the diverse group of friends I have on Facebook, I don’t really regret getting on to this platform. From my colleagues – an obvious group – I’m now connected to a friend who’s a top fitness trainer and another one whose Salsa dance video is a big hit in the US. There is a restaurateur in NYC and a top VC in Silicon Valley, and many others from different places and diverse walks of life. There are former colleagues who I haven't met in many years and even friends from school who I thought I'd never meet again. And of course – the most inspiring group – my nephews and nieces – who keep me up-to-date about what’s hip and happening around the world today. So even as I poke people or send them a tequila – I don’t think it’s really a total waste of time! And for Keshu, Megha, Ashwin, Rahul, Iraj, Anand, Arvind, Schaunga & Ishani (Dasgupta) - thanks for hanging out with me. When I meet you on Facebook, I feel young and rejuvenated.

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