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SPEAK UP Guwahati Province (ING)

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ANTHUVAN Maria Arul , Guwahati says,
A Confession FB-style
By Maria Arul Anthuvan T.
forum
360° VIEW
Guwahati, Nov. 30. I have a confession to make. I am a reluctant latecomer to the universe of Facebook. I was very hesitant to join FB... not that I didn`t like the concept of FB but it looked (still does look) strange for me. At the same time, I cannot but admire the marvellous technological creativity behind FB or MySpace and the various social network services on the net with the capacity of an almost `infinite` and `universal` range of contacting people (provided they are part of the service).

But it still looks strange. Some reasons (both personal and ``impersonal``) for such an impression: for instance, in FB you are a Friend or not a Friend in relation to the other. So, it is kind of diluting the idea of friendship. Of course, there is no distinction between close friends or good friends or just friends.... or just mere acquaintances. I should say that there exists a kind of narcissism in the exploits of a FB-like technology. In other words, there is (at least sometimes) an unhealthy or exaggerated perception of oneself in relation to others. For example, for a moment or two I wanted to compare myself (being a newcomer) to others with regard to the number of contacts [=friends] that I have. I thought that to have 100 `friends` is a good start, until I realized that some of my friends ordinarily do have 800 or more friends.. or at least 400.

Some more strange things. FB once prompted me to suggest Friends to one of my Friends, because he is new to FB. What does this mean? Suggest friends to him or help him use the technology of FB so that he can get Friends (old, new, ...)? And what about the many built-in vanity games (e.g., Give hears and Receive hearts)? And there are many other unnecessary and strange modules that is part of the package of MySpace or Orkut or any other web network.

Most of the websites are free services and earn their revenues by way of advertising. But at what cost? The commercial and attractive outlook of these facilities have brought many an evil into our lives.

In the context of cybercrimes and other abuses of the social technology, there are many who have irreversibly affected their future in terms of their career and employment. Their personal details, the frank or imprudent sharing of their views or having posted their `unbecoming` photos on the net, their association with some anti-social elements, etc., have made their own lives troublesome.

Forget about the explicit evils or the extremities of imprudence, what about cyber-addiction? Or at least vanity. Or simply `a waste of time.` Has humanity created a Frankenstein out of these creative technologies? We need to take some time out to reflect on the enduring implications of the ultra-modern technologies.

Strange though it might be (or even dangerous), this is the language that the young speak today, the language of a MySpace or an Orkut or a FB. I believe the debate should be one of how we use them (not that whether we use them). The question is whether we are aware of its positive and negative impacts or not. The older generation which include the formators, the parents and other guardians are relatively illiterate or uneducated with reference to computer technology and therefore are unable to speak the language of the young. This is really unfortunate. So, I`d say that the responsibility for a better and safe use of the net lies also with the elderly generation. A summary banning of all that is in vogue is not the way forward. Formators and formees, parents and children, guardians and wards, the old and the young all need to be part of a responsible use of the networking facilities.

FB, Orkut, MySpace, Twitter, and Blogs, Chats, and Buzz, and Skype and Voip, and numerous other web-based social network services tell us that we are all connected. There is a positive and progressive consciousness of an internationalism and inclusivism, that has never been so strong. Computers and i-Phones and other technological advancements have come to stay. The challenge, as before, is to take captive every thought (every technological advancement) to make it obedient to Christ (cf. 2 Cor 10:5).

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