Anonymity has always been a pretty popular philosophy when it came to the Internet. Isn’t that how the Internet came to be so popular in the first place? One could do and go where they wanted to on the web without anyone knowing who they were. All we were and, in some case, still are, is no more than a username. Of course with the onslaught of the social network – that diabolical trend designed to open up your entire life like a cheap novel to the world – things have become just a little more, how should I put this… visible. But that's not really a bad thing.
There’s no shortage of social networks and even app developers for mobile handsets are creating media sharing applications that are, in their own right, social networks; Foursquare, GetGlu, Instagram and so on are some popoular options available today. While Facebook is still running the show, the latest SN i.e. Google + is fighting hard for its own space and picking up quite well. The likes of Orkut, MySpace and Friendster that got the ball rolling seem to be taking a back seat at the moment.
And then came a group called Anonymous. They may be called Anonymous but to netizens, these guys are now as famous as Snoop Dogg thanks to the recent hackathon they’ve been raining down on the web. Being infamous does have its disadvantages though. After being booted out of the whole social networking scene, these guys didn’t get mad, they got even. They decided to take the high road and recently announced that they’re starting a social network of they’re own called Anon Plus. Sure that sounds a bit weird and do we really need another social network? If that’s not enough, it seems that Microsoft just might also be working on something dubbed Socl.com that could also be a social networking site of some kind. It was up and then taken down almost immediately with an apology left in its wake.
Getting a bit anti-social in reality
It’s hard enough just trying to stay connected even with so many choices of networks and chat apps. With the likes of Google+, Buzz, Latitude, LinkedIn, Facebook, FourSquare, Twitter, Whatsapp, Skype etc. it’s getting a little too much. I guess the original idea was simply to allow people, who have something interesting to say… or not, but aren’t really interested in bearing all, to have a place to share it. But do they have to share it in so many places? Somehow the idea of sharing ‘interesting’ things got lost in translation and all I see sometimes is nothing more than “spam” and a little too much information than I care to have. Gossip, if you will.
But seriously, it really is getting to be quite a pain, this whole social networking bit. I’ve had people get annoyed with me because I haven’t told them what I’m up to on Facebook or accepted a friend request. There are even some who’ve decided to air my dirty laundry and their own on these forums. Embarrassing much. To make matters worse, even parents and family have gotten on the band wagon and now we’re expected to share this space with them too. Try telling your mum why you haven’t added her to your friends list on Facebook, let me know how that goes. Goodbye privacy.
What’s even more annoying is that Facebookers think that it’s ok to notify family and friends about big events in their lives through this medium instead of picking up the phone. It’s justified in their warped little minds. I mean how difficult is it to pick up a phone and call? It’s got to be easier than posting it on an SN right… right?
So maybe those ‘Anonymous’ guys, may have actually hit on something solid here. A space where no one knows who you are and are still free to express yourself, share your files and likes and dislikes. A space to perhaps even just be someone else. Hopefully they’ll be monitoring this, as these things can get out of hand and usually do. But I will say that the idea does have a certain je ne c’est qua feel about it and a certain familiarity.
The social network is here to stay and I don’t quite see the list getting smaller. While the world connects on line, you can look for me in in my nearest coffee shop, where I’ll be enjoying a nice rainy day chatting with someone across the table and not on a screen in front of me. I prefer to keep it real, as much as possible.