Mr, Make Friends, Miss, Apps
In just a few short years, social networking sites like Facebook, Orkut and Twitter have soared to the top of the online traffic charts, replacing traditional favourites and causing us to entirely rethink the Internet's potential and future.
We're experiencing a degree of interconnectedness never before seen. And it's only going to get increase. Forget cocktail parties, because this is socialising en masse!
However, we must keep in mind that this new social networking culture demands a few rules of etiquette and common courtesy.
But what happens when all etiquette flies out the window?
You get the 20 most annoying social networking personalities, presented here for your perusal!
You fire up the social networking website of choice, and what's the first thing you confront? Roughly 46 consecutive messages from Ms Minutiae, who has thankfully decided to document EVERY EXCRUCIATING MINUTE of her boring existence: 'is hungry', 'wants a sandwich', 'made a sandwich, pretty good', 'watching Scrubs', 'time for bed?', 'yep, time for bed'...AHHH!
You've only met this guy a few times in 'real' life. You know him, but not really. Of course, that hasn't stopped him from entrenching himself in your 'virtual' life. Post a few photos online, and in a few hours he's commented on every picture in every album! And every time you log on, he's there to send you an instant 'instant message' -- 'what's up?' or 'how are u?' Frighteningly, he knows your schedule better than you do. Be afraid!
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh
Mr Make Friendship
Girls, you know what we're talking about. This guy is downright infamous in India. He doesn't know you at all, but still 'entices' you with his scary, blurry profile pic and pleas 'to make friendship'. Next, please.
Out at the pub, and maybe had a few too many? Never fear, this girl is there to capture you in the most compromising positions! Of course, the next morning she'll be sure to post the pics online and 'tag' you, even before you get over your hangover. With friends like these, who needs enemies?
Ms Application Invite
Purple-starred teddy bears, chocolate cupcakes, hugs, new name generators, stupid quizzes etc. No matter how many times you turn down her invitation to join the 'People who forget they are People' group, she'll dutifully re-send it the following week, along with seven other invites. Just give up already. Your inbox has been taken over!
Mr Gym Rat
'Just ran 7 kms and did some abs. Feel the burn.' 'Is excited to pump iron for two hours tonight.' 'Is eating raw whey protein and drinking grass juice.' Okay, dude. We get it. We're all very impressed and we'll be cheering you on in the upcoming triathlon. In the meantime, eat a pizza or something.
Mr and Mrs In Love
He loves his girlfriend. She loves him right back, muah! They write messages like, 'Misses his super beautiful princess more than anything in the world!', 'Is the luckiest girl in the whole world, with the most handsome husband' and 'Will love his pumpkin pie till his dying days!' Um, thanks guys. Next time, do you mind not re-sharing your nuptials on the Internet? Thanks.
Mr and Mrs In-And-Out-Of-Love
On the flipside is this loony couple, who fight like cats and dogs, each and every day. You know you're dealing with some certifiable nutcases, because thrice a week, their 'relationship status' changes: 'single', 'engaged', 'confused', 'it's complicated', 'single', 'engaged' etc. And it always seems to end with professions of love and fidelity for all to see. I'm sensing a pattern here...
Always seemed like a timid enough guy. But now you're privy to the inner recesses of his mind. And it ain't pretty! Rants, ravings, notes, quotes from obscure philosophers etc. Hey, buddy, passion's a good thing. But a 17,000 word tome on the crumbling civic society of India, brought on by market reforms and a bad education system? Write to Tehelka or something.
Ms New Mom
'Shafin walked today!', 'Ate two baby carrots!', 'Had carrot-coloured crap' and so on. Look, new mom, we all know you're incredibly, incredibly excited. But we, on the other hand, are completely uninterested in learning about the consistency of little Junior's poo. Do you see the conflict of interests here?
Ms Hates My Job /Teacher /Life
'Had the worst day EVER!!!!!', 'Despises her new professor', 'Wondering, 'Why me, God?'. Yep, it's the whiney, self-important complainer! Yes, dear, we know you are looking for a bit of sympathy. But every day? Every hour? Go for a walk. You don't need validation electronically.
Nothing like the super uncool uncle crashing the party to destroy the atmosphere. Now, never fear, his game of sabotage can be done online! You and your friends have a funny thread going, full of biting wit and inside jokes? Here comes Ole Uncle, to post: 'Hi guys! 2 Funny!' GROAN. Also, his own wall is peppered with the same message, from 15 different school-age friends. 'Wow, Rahul, is it really you? I haven't seen you in 29 years! This FaceBookings things is AMAZING!'
Mr Random Surfacer
Doesn't really use the service. Has 29 friends. And replies, four months after your birthday wishes, 'Thanks. Sorry. Didn't see your message. Don't get the Facebook craze. Gimme a call sometime if you want to meet'. Okay, great. Take your stand against digitised friendship. But, in the meantime, delete your account already! Would you leave your voice message box full for months on end, without calling anyone back? Nope. Why not? It's rude. Plain and simple.
Mr Spelling Fail
'WOTTT??? UR KIDDING? CRAIZYNISS!' 'GNG TO SKOOL 2 MEAT MA FRIENDZ!' 'YOUR JOKIN. ARE GAME IZ 2MORRO.' Take a breath (not a breathe), and crack open those Standard I text books. It's time to put the friends on hold. Learning the basics is priority number one, friend.
Conversely, there's this brainiac. 'Actually, the population of Australia is less than 25 million.' 'Actually, the spelling is corroborator, not corroborater.' 'Actually, the climate of Argentina is less tropical than you'd imagine. Ever hear of Padigonia?' Okay, bud. Next time I'm scheduled to appear for a GK quiz, I know who to call. But met ME call YOU.
One thousand, three hundred and two friends? Really? Would you even be able to pick these people out of a police line-up? Bumping into someone once at a random conference doesn't constitute 'friendship'. No one's impressed, because we all know that a super-high number of friends online usually correlates with a super-low cool quotient.
FarmVille King, Scrabble Champion, Mafia Don Extraordinaire, Texas Hold'em Poker pin. Ever check the timings, when this guy's insanely high scores are posted? A 24-hour period -- on a work day -- usually looks something like this: 3:12 am, 5:09 am, 3:11 pm, 11:48 pm, 2:55 am etc. Somebody's setting himself up to get fired. Sleep -- try it. It's pretty important.
Why thank you, young citizen journalist. Without your timely posts, I'd never had found out that: 'Michael Jackson has died! OMG! RIP!', 'A cyclone is approaching Mumbai', 'Obama speaking in Cairo right now', 'Industrial Growth lower than expected', and so on. Hey, when I want the news, I'll go to a news site. Until then, go to journalism school.
Mr Profound Lyrics
"So that's why I sailed down to Memphis, with a black cat by my side " Um, guy, posting vague lyrics from 1970s-era hits doesn't make you a rock star. Also, thanks for sharing that screechy, blurry video of The Police playing live in rural Scotland in 1979. Rock on!
Mr Tireless Self Promoter
'So and so suggested you become a fan of www.funnypicturesofcatsincostumes.com', 'so and so suggested you become a friend of the band Twisted Wretched Agony'... Again. Look, we're all really impressed you've tested out your entrepreneurial hand with a great humour web site. And I'm sure you're new band is the cat's whiskers. But I really don't want to be bombarded by borderline-spam from one of my semi-friends. It's just...awkward.
So, folks -- chances are you've already identified your 'type' in here and categorised your friends! Think we missed out on anyone? Write in to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know which ones you've come across!