Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Orkut Testimonials: Are people up for sale?

What would you think of this situation? A shop does a fantastic marketing pitch in TV, Radio, Magazines, internet etc. Amazing marketing. You are thrilled at the product and you want to buy it. And so you go to the shop and - - THEY DONT LET YOU IN. Why? Because they dont know you. Actually there is nothing up for sale there. Why were they advertising then? oh! just like that. They wanted other people to know how great they were. Do you think the above situation is crazy weird and does not happen in the real world? Welcome to orkut.

I have been spending a lot of time in orkut (also called orkutting). Maybe its the enthusiasm of a new found toy or maybe orkut is really addictive. One of the things that keeps me entertained in orkut (apart from drooling at girl's photographs) is the whole testimonial thingie. If you don't know what a testimonial is - let me explain. If a person has a profile in orkut - a friend of that person writes a testimonial about the profile owner. Testimonial by definition is like an attestation of various attributes of this person (beauty, friendship, character etc) by an other person. It is like those old ladies in Surf detergent advertisement who give testimonials on TV that the detergent is simply awesome. Here people give testimonials about other people in orkut. Ofcourse people give testimonials in courts also but thats a separate story.

"She is a good girl. Absolutely fantastic. If you haven't met her you don't know what you are missing" insists one testimonial writer on a orkut profile. Another person writes in a testimonial "she is so sensitive, helpful, courageous, adjective4, adjective5, adjective6, adjective7, you must get to know her". Then ofcourse there are guys slipping in a semi-droolish "she is so beautiful" under the guise of being cool and frank but secretly hoping the girl noticed their tactful flirt.

As a reader - I am not sure how to react to these testimonials. They make me feel like a customer. I like what I am seeing. I am impressed with the testimonial, written about an unknown person, by other unknown people. I have to say, I completely trust these testimonials because I know that the profile owner would not have censored bad testimonials and would have done her/his best to present a complete opinion of himself/herself -- ;-) (yeah! right!). So I'd like to buy the person. Say if Shailaja's testimonial has glowing praises of her - I want to buy 5 Shailaja's and you can throw in a Suman also. Shailaja is sensitive, courageous, smart and beautiful (and intelligent) and Suman is very helpful around the house. I am looking for a product package that is smart, sensitive etc and one which can help around the house. How much should I pay? Oh! what? You weren't up for sale? Why not? Then what is the deal with the testimonials? Why does Raju have 53 testimonials that sing praises about how 'understanding' and 'helpful' he is? What is the end of this?

But what confuses me more is that these Shailaja's of the world have allowed these testimonials to do a fantastic marketing pitch for her but she wont let boys have 'fraanship' with her. In the 'about me' column she writes 'please dont request friendship from me if you dont know me' (this is really really common in most girl's profiles). And one of her testimonials read "you dont know what you are missing out on, if you arent friends with her" (this sort of a testimonial I found in over 50 profiles). This is too contradictory for a person like me. Yes! I am missing out. I understand the pain of the testimonial writer in imploring me to make 'fraanship' with this girl. I'd like to help him. But I can't do anything about it.

And the boys in orkut. Boys in general. I mean God had a wicked sense of humor when he created such a sex starved species such as the male homosapien. I guess most men in orkut are walking hard-on's. Most men enter orkut , browsing through profiles, internet, skype directory thinking " i need to get laid. will she work". I think the biological circuitry for the entire species is wired that way. Ofcourse girls - your friend (who is a boy) is different, your brothers (both real and created) are different. But they are the same :-). They are different while being the same. I dont mean to condescend (well! I do but thats a separate topic) but in all honesty, I sympathize with my fellow male species. There is this overwhelming desire to make the 'sex' but they have to make the 'fraanship' first. So you see all these guys leaving messages "will you make friends with me" -- "can I be your friend". So what the internet has done is bring out the male stupidity into the public domain. In my college days we had guys hand out landmark greeting cards (with a passionate face), love letters (no email in my college days, no chat, no mobile - can you believe it?). The only messenger in my days was another friend who communicated 'love' and 'feelings' to this girl. The girl tore up these cards or bashed up the messenger. However, it was all well concealed and happened in private. The boy rarely suffered public humiliation.

Things like skype and orkut are irresistable to the male species. On one hand all girls are in a centralized place (imagine a congragation of 'figures' in one place - that is orkut) and there is opportunity to flirt. But on the other hand its ripe and presents enormous scope for public humilaition. But the male of the species still bite it. They have an open profile with testimonials, brothers, sisters etc and they still leave 'fraanship' messages in unknown profiles. I have laughed so loud at certain guys begging, pleading and imploring for 'fraanship' in orkut. And I dont blame him. If you haven't seen orkut, go surf it - there are some seriously good looking girls out there. Would I have done in my 18-25 sex starved age? Yes! But I have the right to hypocrisy as much as the next guy.

Then there is this skype thing. My skype account is in my wife's name and I often get messages asking "would you like to be my friend". I mean the guys can just see a name on the directory. All they can see is a bunch of alphanumeric characters that indicate that the account owner is a female. Imagine how 'turned on' or sex starved the male of the species must be to just go ahead with just a name. Sometimes they call directly on skype and sometimes they send text messages. Depending on my mood I play with him or ignore him. When I play with him, I ask him point blank "are you sex starved? is that why you are messaging me". And you should see the nonsense he throws out as replies. From "I want to be your true friend" to "I want to be your brother" to "arent you a proper indian girl... why do you talk like this" - its a laugh riot. I, ofcourse, am on the other side of the fence and I feel so powerful breaking the ego of these vulnerable men with the sleight of the keyboard. Its an amazing experience. I can now see the dominance that women have over men.

Orkut is a theater. And people play their parts I guess. I think its more relevant to people in school/college than others. Maybe having 570 fans is a status symbol in some colleges. who knows?

48 comments:

D.N.A. said...

And I thought you were preparing for your exams!

Venkat said...

correct, though a libido is something that's unique to just the male of the species.., stupidity and desperation are..

eitherways these things are scary.., good to see that you are taking these guys head on..

Ramanujam said...

AS DNA says....i thought u study MBA!!!
anyways social networking....will make u a good manager;)!!!
Leave ur orkut profile link so that ur blog readers can add u:)

Anu said...

Ada ada.. hawkeye.. enna oru analysis. pullarikkardhu. Exam exam nu polambinadhu idhukku thaana?

Anyway, managing 'frenship' requests on Orkut is quite a task.

Anonymous said...

naan kekka nenachathai matha makkal ellam kettutanga.

sari orkut ponnugula jollu vidratha pathi unga wife ethvum sollarthu illaya :)

~ et ~ said...

Nice write-up :) I'm on orkut and I know exactly what u're talkin abt :)

Here's one thing that really pisses me off. The third line in my profile says I'm "John Doe" for anonymity but nobody ever reads it. And I have to explain all the time.

Kinda reminds me of the "yes, we're open" shoe polish note from "Clerks".

Anupadmaja said...

Hey You know how orkut got its name : Love it Or KUT it! :)

Anupadmaja said...

In case no one got what my revious comment means, i am asking hawkeye to quit orkut if he has problems, supposedly in a funny way.

I said...

I hate the word 'friend', simply because of Orkut.

The last bit was cool. When I am very very bored, I goto the Yahoo Chennai chat room using a cousin's ID..and it's very very funny. Indian men - all men?- are sex-starved and pathetic.

rads said...

haha. you are so right. Actually till women are hit with that knowledge it's quite disturbing to see every male id IM you. Ugh!

Anupadmaja said...

Bharath, can i be true fraanship with you? You could be my rakhi brother?

Twisted DNA said...

You are quite right. What I find more amusing is the language they use. I have about 20 variations of "friendship." -> "fren ship" "friend ship" "frindship" and so on. I just can't believe they expect the girl to respond with a message like:
"do u wnt 2 do frind ship wid me?"

Damn, I can make a lot of money tutoring these people how to court a woman!

Aashun said...

And one more missing thing here is the way people think there is a similarity in blogging and orkutting. I feel like killing those stupid morons [ use appropriate adjectives ] who writes cuz-coz-ther-der-gudn8 in their blogs. And people comments on each other as if they are scrapping in orkut - I-m-gng-2-movie-c-ya-there,where-is-the-soda-opener?.
Have people seriously give a thought that calling an unknown aira-gaira-nathhu-khaira person a friend insults a real blood and flesh friend who might be willing to put his head between you and the rushing truck.

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Ha haha... yeah I have my share of fun too when I login with my own id into Yahoo chatrooms! ... God bless the Bengali pronunciation and Sanskrit grammar set! :)

But I guess orkut takes a different angle. My testimonials on orkut say a lot: that I am a badass, good at apple-polishing, etc. But well, it is ultimately friends who wrote them so there is no harm inaccepting whatever they say about you :)

Anonymous said...

Dei B/B will be in Ann Arbor this weekend. Would be good if we could catch up for an hour.

Stan

Saurabh said...

Haha ...

Though I am still pondering at the amount of time spent by you on analyzing the entire scenario (seriously, I think you could write a paper on it if you have gone through 50 profiles checking details ;)), I loved the article.

Was loads of fun to read and educative at the same time.

- Saurabh

Suderman said...

lol!
you should check out this community called Orkut's worst pick up lines... it has a compilation of some of the funniest and most desperate attempts to make frandship.
and in a way orkut gives the geek/nerd a fair chance... imagine, some of these guys would never walk up to a girl in a nightclub just cuz they are afraid of the way they look. they might have a smarter line than the beefy guy out there wearing a tight t shirt and dances like travolta and in fact might be a lot smarter than the dudes... orkut gives the geeks and the nerds a fair chance... they turn to fotoshop, package themselves with a mystery snap... come up with an outrageously funny profile and they are set... in fact more preferred by the chicks in this avatar than the real ones.
but then, even the girls do that... all those girls who you wont notice at the pub cuz there are definitely more hawtter chicks around, now have a fair chance to flaunt what they got... there's a foto album, there's a personal profile that describes what kind of guy they are looking for and she doesnt have to worry about not being noticed... cuz here, the "pull" marketing works better than the in the nightclub...
so orkut in a way is the nightclub for the geeks and the nerds... the funny men too finally have a chance to get laid... :D
anyway, now the good-lookers have the pubs and parties to socialise, the funny and intellectually smart people have orkut... so what about those who dont have time or the scope for either? oh there's shaadi.com for that! but given even that requires photographs, the only way out for the rest of the guys to socialise is by blogging... hmmmm... that's also why we have blogs like TheMaanga... :D

krishna said...

u did not mention anything abt profile visits.

u can see who has visited ur profile in the last 24 hrs in orkut.

dushy said...

1.Dont sign in thro ur wife's account.
2.O !the prev comments read abt ur exam preparation.Cool!
3.Btw, I guess one should observe what happens if an orkut user doesnot fill any of the sections,I mean leaves everything blank and accepts no testimonials.
I am sure ,the visitor could report it bogus :D

anantha said...

~et~: About your John Doe issue, kazhudhaikku theriyuma karpoora vasanai? But your wiki link was a interesting touch!

Anupadmaja: Right, "supposedly funny" only!

Hawkeye: What about gals who put up an Asin photograph and guys who put up Surya's. Idhellam over a therla?

the shiva said...

well written but highly cynical...

if orkut bothers u that much, why be on it? it is a networking site after all, ppl will network the way they know...even if it means u end up bumping into the odd 'fraandsip' types..:)

just bcos u run into the quikstar types at walmart, do u junk the store?

cerisecarnations said...

that was hilarious.
I personally dont like orkut and therefore i am not on it .freaky stories i have heard from people especially girls ;D because there r guys who wanna make frndship ..how can you make frndship is beyond me?oh but one of my frnds said some guys are more direct ..they went on to comment "hey sexy wanna go out with me"..so the point is if the girls dont wanna be stalked then why stay on orkut ...they should have something like facebook i guess where unless the person gives you permission you cannot access their facebook.i am not on facebook either but if ever decide to "network" via some portal like this i rather go for facebook instead of orkut.from what i have heard orkut btw also sometimes becomes a matchmaking centre they can give bharatmatrimony a run for their money apparently

Music of Nature said...

Orkutters a kizhichu maatiteenga ! Good one. Me and two of my friends used to discuss the same thing for hours together and I was quite surprised to see the blog on the same issue. But orkut makes a good pass-time. I realized it after I quit orkut.

Suresh said...

{{she wont let boys have 'fraanship' with her}} - hahhaha (esp at Italics)

Testimonials (especially the ones you're talking about) are like those expensive cars advertised on TV. It's got this and that, so get it. What they don't say is - "do you got money?" I think that's where these women prove they are different. No conditions apply, it's a very good product that's not for sale. All its appraisals are to increase the market value of its shares among those who already have it :)).

jomy said...

Hehehe..what an analysis !!

U missed out on the "loveship" requests though !

Loveship is not just fraaanship ...but a lil more ! Apparentleh !

Suderman said...

youve prompted my latest post. :)

MLC said...

hawkeye ! that was too funny! u really know how to write!! nalla book padichi romba naal aachi .. so if u ever write one, let me knw!!

Anonymous said...

the post is an old man's whining on what how yellow his teeth are.
MLC you sure know how to kiss someone's ass. Let me know once you're making that barn animal porn thingy, heard it sells great it Mexico.

Nilu said...

athavathu, nee mba padikkara...

MLC said...

hawkeye! paer kooda solla dhill illaadha sila porambokku naai solradhellaam satta pannaadheenga! i'm sure there are tons of people who'd like to read the book u will author. keep it goin!

sreicanth said...

mr.hawkeye this is so true,
and it felt good to read thru..

Suderman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chetan said...

Are you male or female?

Arvinda said...

extremely well written! one of the best i have read in the near part...thoroughly enjoed the analysis.

Anirudh said...

This is most enjoyable. :)

Krish said...

What an analysis. One word: Hilarious :)

Anonymous said...

Guys who could never even talk to a girl in a bar magically become these studs and cool guys online:>

Rashmi Bansal said...

I'd put a post on my blog asking for folks who'd like to write abt orkut for JAM magazine http://youthcurry.blogspot.com/2006/11/website-reviewers-wanted.html

i see you've done an excellent job! Could we publish this piece in JAM if it's ok by you? let me know by emailing rashmi_b@yahoo.com

GREATBONG said...

Perfect analysis.

Manasi said...

BUll's eye!!wkkhr

partly cloudy said...

hilarious!
don't you know, we indian women EXCEL in sending mixed signals, its one of our fundamental rights! but seriously, this stuff is for kids, yes it IS a popularity contest, and the line in the 'about me' is just what her friends are doing....

Vi said...

I'm SO glad I deleted my account.

Siva said...

LOL... I have forwarded this post to my friends... This really got me ROTFL... You should attempt a research on social networking sites...

Anonymous said...

i disagree with the author.. i dont ask girls to be my friend to get laid. i do it just for friendship purpose. i will never ask them to send me their pic nor try to meet them. how do you suppose to make new friends.. that its self defeats the purpose of friendship site. and to those who hate orkut or any friendship site.. answer just this one question.. how the hell are you going to meet persons with similar interests.

and to the females who hate males all i will tell you is this.. - fuck yourself lesbian whores

Muthu said...

hahahha, B, you have to give the teenagers their chance.

Udaibir said...

Well dont disagree with you totally..
but not everyoes the same!!

Anonymous said...

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http://www.chokut.com

Anonymous said...

Hi Hawkeye,

Interesting post.

I know a pervert who has this as one of his testimonials " X is one of the purest guy ". wtf.