Friday, January 30, 2009

Just Another Virtual World*

It never stops bugging me how some people spend hours and hours surfing the net on useless stuff. I am not against enjoying technology or sharing information publicly but at times I'm certain that some people are just killing time, time that can be invested in a different way to make the world a better place.

Years has passed and I'm receiving invitations to create accounts on Classmates, Friendster, Hi5, MySpace, Orkut, bebo, Facebook and such social networking communities. And what bugs me the most is that the same people who invite me for certain network are inviting me for another! how do they manage to keep up with their profiles on each? How do they have time to update and check friends' account? and I complain about time!

After finding my inbox full of email invitations for Facebook from friends, relatives, colleagues and fellow-bloggers as well as people I don't even know, I decided to get myself an account and see what is it all about. Clicking the link I discovered the site was Blocked in UAE just like Urkut, Flickr and some other networks. I felt it was a relief for me. Once I'm asked about my Facebook account or sent an invitation I would simply say "it's blocked in the UAE".

Months or maybe a year passed and I hear the fuzz about Facebook. We take photos in a gallery and I hear "I'll put it on FB". We go to the park and I ask for a copy of photos and the reply is "check it tonight on FB" I need a link regarding a matter and I get the reply "Will post it on FB"!

Last Ramadan I was introduced to a girl. She was studying media in AUS and she wanted me to write her some inspirational talks to publish regarding surviving a war. Insisting that I have an influential personality she said I defiantly want to add you to the group I created on Facebook to inspire the youth. I told her I don't have an account she gave me her email and begged me to create one and add her. I wrote her email somewhere and forgot her name.

Also Last year we were visiting a family friends and while talking I discovered that their daughter is in touch with people went to my school. I asked her for their emails and she said "Add me on FB"!

I never bothered and checked what Facebook was until Hana - before she left to NZ -told me we can keep in touch through Facebook and it's a really good way to be updated. I told her I don't have an account and that I tried and it was blocked and she told me it was working now and she herself created the account for me.

Automatically I found friends and relative. and I just forgot about the account until I started to get emails notifications about lost friends and grade school colleagues who found me! It was overwhelming to find most of the people we thought we lost after all these years. Some left Iraq before we were introduced to the internet so we lost contact. Others were just busy with life and someway or another just disappeared.

Sharing photos is great but still I don't want to post my photos on the net even if there's a user control thing where I can moderate who sees these photos. And with all the hackers stories we hear... No thanks.

Anyway, that's not what I want to write about..

When I started this post I was just about to release sort of anger that didn't know how to be freed! Finding a notification that "A friend" is playing with her pet in Virtual Pet Society.. or "A friend" was sold for $5000 in Friends for Sale society.. "A Friend" reached level 28 in Mafia.. on and on I'm bugged with time being wasted in an absurd way.

I'm not in a position, nor anyone in fact, to tell people how to spend their time or where to focus their energy. One can only hope that we can invest our time to make the world a better place. But lately I've been wondering "Can we? are we supposed to do so? and how?"

People seem to be funny on virtual network societies, even when they post something devilish and evil or wage wars against each others. Death threats sounds funny! Most of them has galleries to present smiling faces, others are engaged in gardening trees and virtual flowers, exchanging gifts, cards, cupcakes and other virtual stuff. Even when they yell with CAPS on they seem funny and friendly.

Maybe by deserting real life and living a virtual one is helping people to live the way they wish to live..the style and the people associated with. They can create themselves on such networks. To share what they want to share and hide whatever they wish to hid. Their profiles represent who they want to be and that way they can control how they can be seen by others.

*I was searching on the net when I found a blog with such title. I had to say that in for copy rights :)

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Blogger The Iraqi Violet said...

Hello again Attawi:)
with my respect to the seriously members of those websites. i find such sites silly and wasting of time. someday I received an invitation to join a social website or whatever they call it! i saw things there that nobody wants to see!. anyway i deleted my account there after being bugged by the members there!
but if we live in Iraq. internet could be our heaven, the window which we can see the world through. yes, i agree it's sometimes converted to a silly stuff but everything has a bright side not just for killing time finally .
thank you.

1/30/2009 9:41 PM  
Blogger attawie said...

Iraqi Violet,

You're welcomed :)

Iraq has been an exception for the last three years. People need an escape. I won't recommend wasting time, though :) There are great sites to kill time and make use of it.

As for Facebook, I do have account there. I'm not a big fan but it does keeps me in touch with people I love and care about.

Commenting on my last post, we both agreed on respecting differences and I guess my friends and relatives are big fan of this site and it seems I'm forced to keep in touch with them through facebook.

1/30/2009 10:10 PM  
Blogger C.H. said...

It took me a long time before I eventually set up a facebook, lol. I had friends trying to convince me for over a year, actually.

But, I decided to go with it...because it can be a lot of fun. I like to join up with lots of political discussions on my FB.

I only use it every once in a while though, because just as you said Attawie, it can end up being a complete waste of time.

My brother spends most of his day on Myspace...the computer is his whole world, and I don't want to be like that. There are other things to appreciate :)

1/31/2009 1:05 AM  
Blogger attawie said...


When I found my primary school group I spent hours looking at the 750 photos there. I found myself in many of them and was able to add more than 25 of them at once.

Then I spent about two weeks only talking to them as in update each others. We even planned for a gathering during summer 2009, hopefully. It was fun finding old friends and see how they are doing in life.

1/31/2009 2:09 AM  
Blogger David said...

I think you make a good point about how people control how others see them in various virtual environments. I suppose that I do that in some ways myself. In my blog, I don't tell my whole story, just things that I want to talk about, or things that I feel comfortable talking about. But, that is my public virtual persona. In private, through emails and chats, I am willing to discuss much more personal things. In real life, though, people do much the same things. In face to face talking between people, strangers don't share any deep secrets. People who work together may know each other better, but there are still many things hidden. So, maybe virtual interactions between people aren't all that different from real interactions.

I guess that some people waste a lot of time on the internet. But, if the time spent helps them to be happy in some ways then maybe its a good thing.

I am glad that I know bloggers from other parts of the world because it helps me to understand the world better. Also, it gives me the chance to make new and interesting friends. :)

I see in your comment to C.H. that you have found a lot of old friends. Thats great! I hope you get to see them this summer! :)

2/01/2009 11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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8/18/2009 6:33 PM  

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