Amar Bail

A plant of eternity

Social Networking

Posted by Haris Gulzar on September 23, 2010

I’m not sure if the social networking websites we have had in the past few years have really helped us grow our social networks or not, but I guess it definitely has had an impact on the way we used to socialize previously. A good impact or a bad impact, that’s for us to decide…

I didn’t know much about MySpace. For me, it started off with Orkut. Having an Orkut account at the time it was launched was thought to be in style. A person was considered famous if he had an Orkut account and if he could send out 4 invites (That’s what the limit was if I remember correctly). 235 I got my invitation sent by a cousin and I felt like a super star when I tried finding many of my friends there only to come to know they didn’t have an account yet. Back then, whoever had more friends on Orkut was considered to be more social. Having more than a 100 friends on Orkut was like achieving a milestone. It didn’t matter if the people you had as your friends were actually your friends or not. And then Orkut also had an option of marking people as an acquaintance, a friend, or a very good friend, so that sort of justified having far off acquaintances to be added as friends as well. The scrapbook and the comparisons people used to make about the number of scraps they had. The birthday reminder feature, the photo sharing feature and other similar features were new and hence attracted a lot of traffic.

Then came Hi5, though for a short time only I guess. Right when it started gaining popularity and when it was getting into the lives of everyone just the way Orkut had, Facebook came into action, and that too with a lot more features than even Orkut was offering. Facebook defined social networking a completely new way. Although chat was not launched with facebook initially, but the addition of chat feature from within facebook worked wonders for facebook. Developers could build applications, account holders could do whatever previous social networking websites offered plus a lot more. You could write notes and upload videos as well. There were applications like the Graffitti that were very famous initially. 290 Then there were features like tagging people in pictures and in notes. The privacy features were supposedly better than Orkut until recently. The feature of making events and inviting friends, making groups and pages etc, the embedded emails and similar features made a facebook user stick to facebook. In short, Facebook proved to be something people were eagerly waiting for.

As the case was with Orkut, things didn’t change much with Facebook either. The way people added friends remained the same. The race to have more and more friends continued on Facebook as well. People used to remind their acquaintances when and how they met and why they should be friends on Facebook. Being friends on facebook with your real life friends was considered to be equivalent to keeping in touch with them, although the frequency of interactions, as I see it, declined exponentially. Keeping in touch with friends through facebook chat or writing on facebook wall was considered enough, and an occasional comment on a shared picture or a video meant you care for that friend. Keeping up to date with friends now is as simple as signing in to facebook.

But the question still remains. Has Orkut, Hi5, facebook or even twitter for that matter, really helped us improve our social networks? Has it improved the way we interact with our friends and acquaintances? Has it helped us socialize more than we did previously? Have the applications such as games on facebook helped us interact more with people we didn’t interact with previously? Have these social networking websites had a positive impact on our lives?


22 Responses to “Social Networking”

  1. […] This cup of tea was served by: Amar Bail […]

  2. I think it helps us reconnect and maintain long distance relationships. Keep us abreast of our friends and what not.

  3. nadia said

    Facebook helps me stay in the loop with the latest on what’s going on – specially with family and friends whom I don’t get to call or see often. I noticed that although some people aren’t keen on making phone calls, they make sure they update their Facebook status regularly.

  4. brocasarea said

    it has definitely increased the reach…….

  5. Result:

    People who can’t stop logging onto Facebook are narcissistic, insecure and suffer from low self-esteem.

    Researchers from York University quizzed 100 students between the ages of 18 and 25 on how often they checked out Facebook. The students also took a psychological test that measured their level of narcissism. The York team found that the more a person clicked onto their own Facebook page, the higher they scored for narcissism.

    The same test revealed that those who can’t get enough of Facebook also suffer from insecurity and low-self esteem, which are traits often tied to narcissism.

    The problem here is Facebook is just too damn self-affirming. We’re pretty sure that if they finally added a universal “dislike” button, Facebook would cease to be such a cyber-swamp for narcissistic/insecure types.


    I had this discussion with a friend on twitter.

    harisgulzar: Salam and Good afternoon everyone. Now I’m tweeting from Lahore 🙂 1:14pm, Jul 21 from TweetDeck

    PoPaT: @harisgulzar welcome to city of rain :p 4:09pm, Jul 21 from Twitter for iPhone

    harisgulzar: @PoPaT :-). Thank you. How are you doing buddy? 4:16pm, Jul 21 from TweetDeck

    PoPaT: @harisgulzar fine Allah ka shukar. 2-4 hi log idhar hain. Eik uk chala geya hai 2 din pehlay aur eik ja raha hai, lttle shrt on frnds :S 5:16pm, Jul 21 from Twitter for iPhone

    harisgulzar: @PoPaT I see. Kon chala gaya and kon ja raha hai? 1:47pm, Jul 22 from TweetDeck

    PoPaT: @harisgulzar kon reh geya hai? Chalay tu saray dost gay hai, except one or two. 4:51pm, Jul 22 from Twitter for iPhone

    harisgulzar: @PoPaT For example? 5:01pm, Jul 22 from TweetDeck

    PoPaT: @harisgulzar jami, (3 USA, 4 Canada, 6 UK; office frnds), kami, haris, and others. idhar kon hai? Bubs, AA, Azeem, u, Billi boy & Zaid.

    PoPaT: @harisgulzar aur idhar jo hain, sab apni apni duniya Mai hain. Nobody bothers to meet other, I mean old frnds and that sad.

    PoPaT: @harisgulzar today money is more imp then friendship, what a shame. I didn’t make new frnds so I don’t forget u all but ery1 is selfish :S


    its indeed very sad that now no one has time to wish others. Today if you are on facebook then you really count as existed else I don’t exist; according to facebookers :S. I don’t know from where ppl got busy enough to forget how to write an email and dial a cell phone. Nobody really ever bother to contact you, not because they don’t care rather because they don’t know what to do if someone is not on facebook. they didn’t know the art of expression.

    You share on facebook, express your mood on facebook and even wish birthdays on fb, why? coz you feel insecure and stupid. Whats the point of waiting and commenting a post and further waiting for a reply and then reply back the reply. why u need to say happy birthday to that person whom u never even talked in your life, infact y is he even in ur friends list? coz u have heard of his name? will he help u in need?

    Today’s social networking has changed the meaning of friends, sharing photos with family and mental state of being stable. If I say “Haris, delete ur facebook account, u r my old buddy, remember we were group partners in Final year project, ya my jiggar dude” but you wont delete it, trust me there r millions explanations and justifications like i stay intouch with ppl who really didn’t give a shit about me but they are in my friend list and hey!, hey!, hey!, I am now friend of atif aslam in fb; u will value fb over ur friends advice. Now you see what fb or any internet social networking has done.


    Other lessons:

  6. and maybe reason of this was social networking too.

  7. A very thought provoking comment by farhan..Personally i think facebook is just a load of crap(75%) of the times….then again everything has its benefits and uses…depends on what your interests are. ….
    FB can be a great resource for those who want to use it in a positive way(learning,sharing,knowledge)..
    and it can be a real destructive force for teens and young college students.(wasting hours upon hours on useless topics and more useless comments)

    Twitter is far better social networking tool then facebook as it is to the point and helps u get your message across…So #1 social networking tool for me is twitter:)

  8. they could have positive impacts but sadly they don’t have….or i am being more critical about….

  9. Ali Adnan said

    I agree with farhan 100% .. the “only” valid reason for someone to use FB/orkut etc is for the ppl living abroad alone, having left their family, relatives, friends behind … and contacting and communication is expensive and inconvenient .. but that too have much better alternatives …

    These social networks have indeed changed us .. but in a bad way .. it has reduced if not at all stopped most of us in interacting in the real world in a real way … the posts followed by comments threads have altered our way of conversing indirectly affecting our ability to converse in real gatherings …. seriously have u noticed that ? we can go on and on commenting and discussing on a thread .. but we are mostly lost ..
    the extent is

    AoA kia haal hai jiger
    Allah ka shukar , tu suna ?
    Alhamdulillah main theek

    aur ? kia ho raha aaj kal ?
    bass yaar wohi job .. aur tu suna tera kaam kaisa chal raha hai , zindagi kaisi guzar rahi hai?
    job .. bass chal rahi hai .. aur zindagi alhamdulillah achi guzar rahi hai ..

    (silence) .. *ab kia baat karoon ? :S*

    aur ?
    bass yaar
    (silence) .. *…*

    if this would have been a chat/post/comment/mail thread .. oh all the worlds matter would have been discussed

    What the hell happened ? the “online social networking” happened !

  10. Ali even if your friends, relatives and family are aboard then why you need facebook to keep in touch? why you need a public place to reply there status and pictures? if they have time to post status updates and upload their newly trip pictures on facebook then they certainly have same time to email and call.

    If your friends and family really care, they will call you and email you and in return you should call them too.

    facebook is a cockomayme public place and friends and family are private. when you don’t like to share your private life and “This is non of your cockomayme business” thingy then why the hell you love to do the same on fb u hypocrites.

    for me there is no valid reason for using fb else if u feel insecure and suffer low self-esteem disorder.

  11. Sana said

    One Sentence is the case for me “The closer you seem, the Farther you REALLY are”.Period

  12. @Murtaza Ali Jafri: I agree, but isn’t it affecting the way we interact with people near us, the way we used to celebrate closeness?

    @Nadia: I agree, people update their facebook status more regularly, but I think they assume they have informed whoever needed to be informed about their updated status. I mean, people wont take the pain to explicitly inform the concern people, but having a facebook account presumes you stay online all day and keep following whatever is happening…

    @Brocasarea: It definitely has, but it has had an impact on the way we reach people isn’t it?

    @Farhan: Dost, I’m glad you had a copy of the chat we had. Remember what I said next? I said this is life, and it moves on, people move on, priorities change… We have to live with it. I agree this is wrong, this should not be the case, but thats how it is. The question is, what is bringing about this change? Is, for example, facebook playing any role? And the answer from you I guess is, Yes Facebook is playing a big role in the way we used to interact with people and the way we now use to do the same…

    @Azeem: Everything has its benefits and uses, but what are we gaining against what? This is an important analysis isn’t it? And for that matter, I consider twitter the same as Facebook…

    @CaptureUniverse: Not sure if they could have any positive impacts, but they definitely have had negative impacts…

    @Ali Adnan: You’ve just said what I wanted to say… Your comment is the point I think I wanted to make…

    @Sana: I’d probably want to change it to “The closer you seem online, the farther you actually get in reality”…

  13. anummunaf said

    it is not always waste of time
    to me after whole day of hard work need to relax sooo………….. ithink it is the most compatible way

  14. @Anummunaf: ppl say same about smoking, gambling, pubs and_. If someone want to relax, goto some park and have a walk, its trillion times relaxing and provides actual self-satisfaction. Thats exactly why haris wrote this. We are building our lives around social networking, Internet rather then making them around us.

    Haris ppl do corruption, they do wrong things but that doesn’t means that if majority is doing wrong we should do the same, like our elders told us “دنیا کہ ساتھ چلو “.

    “ppl move on” thats is as wrong as having drugs. Are both ok? no, so as long as I have breath, i’ll always do, follow and support what is right not what the world is doing.

    Quote by PoPaT: you wanna read history or you wanna write one? choice is your’s to bring change in you and all.

  15. Ali Adnan said


    easy ho ja meray dost 🙂 … I mean your points are good a valid .. I agree with them .. I also agree that walk in a park or hanging out with loved ones, friends is much more relaxing .. but its not the case with everyone .. every one has their own likes/dislikes , priorities and life/family situations … I have known ppl whose family situations are quite messed up .. so it rather makes them more tense than relax (although I pray that Allah solves their problems Ameen) …
    It just seemed to me a little like you are imposing instead of advising or urging 🙂

    and i loved the quote by PoPat .. here is a quote from AliAdnanX(baba lahore daas dubai wala) :

    Sahi tareeqay say Jeo aur doosro’n ko bhi jeena sikhao , laikin pyar say 😀

  16. @Anummunaf: No doubt it is not always a waste of time. There are tonnes of informative pages and groups on facebook as well, but the point is, don’t you think facebook has had a negative impact on the way we used to interact with each other?

    @Farhan Shaheen: Everyone has priorities my friend. I don’t think facebook is a good enough comparison for pubs and drinking, anyways, what I meant with “People move on” was, during your college or university life, you have enough time to spend with your friends. You arent working anywhere and don’t have any liabilities. Most of the time you have is spent with your friends either studying or hanging out with them. But then you get married, you start your job. You have to look after your family, you have to give them time. You have to give time to your job. Hence priorities change and people move on…
    The only purpose of this post was, these websites have made us feel as if taking out time for our loved ones, who might not only be our university or college friends, but our relatives as well, is no more required because of the way we can interact using these social networking websites. Which I think is wrong. But no doubt these social networking websites have other very useful and informative pages as well which we definitely should use…

    @Ali Adnan: Wah wah… And thank you for explaining it the way I wanted to 🙂

  17. YWB said

    very thought provoking hmmm

  18. PoPaT said

    Haris man, u wouldn’t understand me.. maybe some years later…

    Everyone lives a different life but its always a subset of one superset.

    You are living life the A-way(superset), I am living life B-way(some other superset). So there is no point of you try to explain that I am wrong and me that you are wrong, we both might be right.

    Point of this post is not to counter post but try to figure out why I said what I said.

    And what I concluded from this post, why you still use facebook? delete your account else delete this post coz there is no point of someone blaming fb who uses it. “Hey kids don’t smoke, it might be cool but it kills coz i know that, i am a heavy smoker :p”

    Ali has point but ppl who’s family situation is messed up don’t use facebook and if they do, they are fools.

    I agree with this “Sahi tareeqay say Jeo aur doosro’n ko bhi jeena sikhao , laikin pyar say” 😀

  19. Mariam said

    Facebook is overrated. Being a member of FB for more than 3 years, I still couldnt find any purpose of updating status after each hour and telling people that you are sleeping, or eating or hanging out with friends.

  20. @YWB: Thank you 🙂

    @PoPaT: Yeah maybe some years later :-), and I’d wait for the time when I start understanding you :-P. Well, I agree with what you’re saying. I realized the fact myself after I used these social networking websites. Although I have reduced the usage of these web sites but the people I interact with, they haven’t. So the fact still remains…

    @Mariam: Some people do find it easy to inform others about their whereabouts, but overall, I agree with you that it is overrated, and so are other social networking websites… And by the way, Welcome to Amar Bail, do keep on visiting here… 🙂

  21. I know many people who, even, have multiple accounts on facebook. Sometimes, boys make fake female accounts and vice versa. Some persons tend to measure one’s rapport or PR in terms of his facebook friends or page likes. On a psychological note, it has been proved that those people who consume too many hours on facebook, lack confidence in building real life relationships.

  22. I think Facebook is a time-eater.Its another one of the windows we open to peep out of our present situation.The only good things about facebook is to be able to share excerpts you read online with your literary friends.Last year I found blogging sites were a far better way of doing that.My facebooking has diminshed tremendously since then and blog-trotting tremendously increased =)

    I interesting post and comment thread!

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