When I joined my first ever job, this thing was growing wings. It took a flight and landed straight on my office computer where apart from C++ codes and .Net complications, laid the excitement of reconnecting, rebuilding, refurbishing. Reconnecting with old friends, rebuilding broken bridges and refurbishing the clogged memories in the slots, neatly stacked, in scraps, photos, status updates. Orkut faded all boundaries. Suddenly, the people who were long lost in the milieu of life were accessible. The friends who I knew in school, discussed the smallest of zits with but somehow renegated to background could be shouted out to, with just a simple search, first through Orkut and then through calls.
Everyone was on it; the in-thing.
I remember forming an account and immediately getting down to the business of finding the lost childhood years, comparing the grown up faces with the innocent ones etched in the memory and sending friend requests one after the other , unable to contain the excitement.
It was the time when social networking was not about likes, comments or frequently venting out the happiness, the grief, the humdrum, the nothings. Certainly not the time when every burp after a sumptuous meal was kept a count of. The time when the concerns were more genuine, the Hahas really meant the laughter.
I might have missed it in the deep recesses of my mind or why would just the mention of it made me dig deeper. I ended my self-imposed hibernation and checked my long lost account on which the last conversation happened in 2011. On April 28th, 2011 Orkut sent me a glowing badge of being an early user, reminding me of how important I was, without knowing I was already having second thoughts. And on June 29th, same year, I moved on. To a brighter partner, simply because, my every friend was on it now. I remember not liking it at first because Orkut was more homely and FB a trendy youngster.
But then, FB was the new in-thing.
It is now too. The relevance may have faded, the objective lost but it is there, holding us in its clutches. When ‘Farewell to Orkut’ blinked on my screen, a little after seeing the news already circulating on the social media, I felt a dull pain. Not that I was a loyal follower. After all, I had made an early exit, forgetting all about ‘scraps’ preferring to soak in the world of ‘Likes’. But Orkut marked the first adventure, the first ever flirting with the power to meet friends at the stroke of a key without actually being there. So, I silently logged on to my account, archived it and safely placed the zipped folder in my ‘Important’ documents, but not before going through every single moment this account has seen, all the times that I spent there, sending scraps, receiving them, hogging on the testimonials, clawing on the first pictures that I ever shared with the virtual friends. The list was actually of people I would call ‘friends’. The world was just opening up.
FB and other social media sites might be leading the way now but it was Orkut that set the path. Sad, that it couldn’t keep up the pace with the changing needs, the growing demands, the altering mindsets. Without knowing, all of us have fallen prey to the tectonic shift. Who knows, even Orkut would have eventually turned into a narcissist’s hub, a philosopher’s den or a grizzly bear’s fighting territory but that’s not how we remember it, do we?
Each one of us must be having a piece of our life, living and breathing on Orkut, reflecting on what we used to be. I do. I relived it yesterday, wondering how the tide of life has changed the course. Wondering how my interactions in the virtual world have changed. May be this demise, the slow exit, is meant to remind us of what social media is supposed to be. As the zipped folder lay safely waiting to be opened again to spread some sunshine on a dreary day, I wonder if FB would shut the shop someday, no tax on making the imagination run amok, would I be feeling the same?