'Stranger' than fiction

'Stranger' than fiction

Unknown friends

'Stranger' than fiction

 Keeping in touch has become as simple as sending a friend request or commenting on pictures or tagging people in photographs. And this activity is not just restricted to college or school batchmates or colleagues, but even relatives and in some cases, pure strangers.

How often have you come across a request from a person whom you just met once and started getting updates on his personal details, like where did he go on a trip or who he has become friends with, and wondered why are you being fed with such information? Social networking has become a powerful tool of keeping in easy touch with people whom you don’t really want to keep in touch.

Though there are people who use networking sites only to keep in touch with old friends, there is a new breed of people, who feel it is necessary to have anyone they have ever come in contact with, on their friends’ list. “Having a large number of Orkut and Facebook friends is like a status symbol. The more you have, the better you are,” says Ankit, a student.

“One of my friends accepts friends’ request after chatting with these people once or twice because it just increases the number of friends she has,” says Abhinav, a professional. Another wonderful thing that the friends’ list does for you is keeping you connected with people you otherwise didn’t want to take extra efforts to be in touch with. “I believe social networking sites serve the purpose of keeping people in touch with each other. All they have to do is ask each other innocuous questions like ‘how’s life’ and ‘wassup’,” says Anu, a professional.

“Getting in touch has become very easy through these media even if it is through tagging and senseless scraps. These things keep you alive in the mind of the other person without you having any obligations like calling or meeting,” says Naveen, a student. “These constantly update others about what is going on in your life — relationship status, jobs, places you are visiting or just your state of mind without even having to make a call,” says Anu.

But on the flipside, you often have requests from people you barely know. “It is weird when you have a friends’ request from a person you have just met once, and even weirder if they want some contacts or help after that,” says Suchismita, a media professional. But the worst thing is people start finding solace in these kinds of friends whom they don’t even know. “People are now spending more time updating status and playing Farmville or Mafia Wars than making a call to someone who actually matters,” says Abhinav.