Skip to main content

The changing face of communication

One of my first emails 11 years ago was to a friend seated right next to me. I had no one else's id to shoot a mail to. Id’s gradually trickled in and I soon had so many that I often couldn’t remember the faces behind them. The address book came to my rescue. Inboxes were fun, SPAM was a scourge though. I learned to live with the menace, it wasn’t easy. Reminiscence would often loom around those nostalgic years when my prayers to see an impregnated mailbox each time I logged in went unanswered. Personal letters had become a thing of the past.

That’s when IM and IRC happened. I would find more people chatting with acquaintances using instant messengers like ICQ or with strangers using the then-ubiquitous mIRC than browsing the web. A/S/L (Age/Sex/Location) was the de-facto way to initiate chat with strangers. ICQ was a craze amongst geeks. I somehow managed to crack ICQ and even made friends with a Hong-Kong teen, though my contact list remained mostly blank since most of my friends preferred to stay with Yahoo! or MSN Messenger.

Skype came along and all of a sudden you could voice chat with hitherto unheard-of clarity. Bandwidth had grown substantially and a lucky few even managed to squeeze in a video chat. Blogs entered the arena and changed the landscape forever. Everyone blogged, substance was very limited though. Some folks even won book contracts while others fought social injustice. Chinese dissidents found a new way to leak China’s heavily guarded secrets, Iranians began breaking the shackles of an ultra-conservative society, atheists discovered they weren’t as isolated as initially thought and one brave Iraqi gentleman even gave first hand reports of the US invasion of Iraq during the 2nd Gulf War to defeat local government propaganda. Even Indian politicians used it as a way to reach out to subjects they had long forsaken.

Finally came the explosion of social networks like Orkut and Facebook. Personal emails were too much of an ask and people started preferring posting little broadcasts to those who cared enough to listen. Itinerary plans, daily gossips, lunch menus, pictures and videos were shared with elan. Multiple social networks began to compete against each other for traffic and many people had to open accounts in more than one. Aggregators like FriendFeed and MyBlogLog came to the rescue of the despairing end user. Tweets became so loud, NASA personified rovers through them.

How dramatically have things changed over the last decade!

Comments

Anonymous said…
This might be me, but in the midst all this "networking" business, I find real relationships disappearing. Does one really need 200 contacts to enjoy companionship? We move places so often these days, that it is impossible to meet the same person/group for more than a few months. The result is that you "really know" nobody though you know them all. It is like flipping through a whole bunch of magazines versus reading a long book cover to cover.

Maybe I am a slow old timer, but I could dump 90% of my social contacts for a few weeks of togetherness with my closest friends.

Popular posts from this blog

The year that was

I'm wearing a rather striking shirt, one that makes me feel like a clown fooling around in a graveyard. Roving eyes latch on to me and make me too conscious of myself. Checkered in red, grey, black and maroon, I've excused myself into donning it and looking silly for two reasons. It's Friday and…more importantly, the last working day of the year. Tailored half-a-year back, I never had the courage to wear it, not until today. It's that time of the year when it's time to reflect on the events that transpired. Last year ended on the worst possible note. Dad had expired and I was numb with shock. The repercussions rippled halfway thought this year. Things were so abysmal initially that I had lost the will to live. Acrid in everything I did, I was immensely angered by time phlegmatically flowing through its cadence. It was as if Dad meant nothing to anybody. What right did people have to live the way they always had when Dad was no more? Why was much of the world still…

Searching for someone

I remember hearing a song by someone in a movie with Charlize Theron and Keanu Reeves as the protagonists. Charlize is a free-spirited girl who is terminally-ill while Keanu is an ambitious lawyer who is captivated by Charlize's ways. The most memorable thing about the movie, though, was the song. I tried to ferret some information about the song yesterday, and its unknown singer.


Searched for Charlize Theron via Wikipedia. Browsed through her filmography and zeroed in on Sweet November (2001), which rung a bell. I didn't remember the name of the movie and hoped this was the one.Clicked on Sweet November. The plot confirmed my doubt! This was indeed the movie I was looking for.Searched for Sweet November via Yahoo! Music. Managed to find the original motion picture soundtrack.Clicked on the link. Found the list of tracks. There were 13. Now which one was I looking for?Visited Amazon and searched for Sweet November. Gotcha! The list of tracks, however, gave no information about …