I don't seem to be able to explain it, but I'm not a big fan of social networking sites. My first experience was with Orkut, in fact, and after much coaxing from a couple of friends and colleagues I decided to give it a try.
It was fun at first, and I managed to get in touch with some long lost friends. It was good, for a time. And then, based on the information I had divulged when I first signed up, a prospective student who was on his way to attend the same college that I had graduated from a couple of years earlier, asked me about on-/off-campus employment opportunities there. Being a willing mentor, albeit an obscure alumnus, I provided a lengthy response which I was sure would address his doubts. I even tried to anticipate the kinds of questions he would ask and provided answers to these.
But things took an unsuspecting turn for the worse when he started telling me that he had heard otherwise. I couldn't understand it. It was like he was accusing me of keeping crucial information from him. What pleasure I seemed to derive from this was beyond me.
I decided that I had had enough because maintaining these ties online was tough, and I didn't feel like being called a liar on top of all this. It was sort of my first time, and almost my last time.
Recently, I've become part of the LinkedIn community, and I'm loving the whole professional contacts thing. I've stayed the hell away from Facebook because I anticipate random encounters of the strange kind. Or maybe, it's just too done.
I've derived a set of beliefs around this phenomenon, and sure those of you who support it are going to say I'm rationalizing, but what the hell. I think I am in touch with the people I want to be in touch with, and with those who want to be in touch with me. I have to admit that I do a poor job of this at moment, so until I get it together for myself, no website is going to help. And what's with the "armchairing" of keeping in touch anyway, regardless of which service or site a person uses?
Coming back to the picture, I don't know if Orkut ruined me. But I do know that I didn't enjoy the experience once 'other' people started getting in touch, rather persistently too, if I may add. But tell me, how ironic is this, eh? Posting a pointed remark on my Blogger blog about Orkut...both being owned by Google! ;)