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Saturday, December 19

How to survive in the real Digital India

We live in a weird world - A world where our parents, grandparents, grandparent’s sister, uncles, aunts and all the other random people in your family photo can all reach you at the click of a few buttons through WhatsApp, Facebook, twitter, Viber or the now outdated method of the classic phone call. My half major in sociology never prepared me for this (or anything in particular, except how to behave when you’re the only guy in class which is not really useful in India where there are only 943 females for 1000 of us and 0 females outside post 6 pm) situation where no classic sociologists have really taken a dive trying to explain how this huge nuclear but extended but still keeping watch of your every single post on FB family can have an impact in your life. Starting from keeping your relationship status unknown, pictures with girls/boys hidden, being tagged in those old ugly photos to comments on every single one of your photos, there is chaos everywhere. So after a lot of deliberation, thought and research during the 5 minutes in my research station (my brother told me not to use the word potty in a blog), I decided write a note on surviving in the real “Digital India”

  • How to Mute friends and ignore others - The ability to mute groups for a year is the day that I realized that WhatsApp was truly a billion dollar company. There was a morning when I woke up to a dying phone because I was stupid enough to leave my data pack on and my distant relative had to have a baby on the same night and post the picture just after the birth to receive the 100 congrats messages followed by the other thousand messages on what time, star sign, name etc. Never ever ever leave the data pack on. The next trillion dollar valuation of WhatsApp can be achieved by giving the ability to users to mute people and any comment that they put in any group that you are in
  • To forward or not to forward? That is the question that WhatsApp has to pop up twice or thrice before allowing someone to forward anything. The Goodmornings, the goodevenings, the goodnights, images with the texts and image of birds, trees, smiling/crying/nose picking (I have weird friends)/dancing babies should all be banned or have an auto delete option provided on WhatsApp. There is a certain limit to the number of thumbs up signs and smiley faces that we can reply with post which it becomes rude if we don’t reply with a sentence. This is the social equivalent of the time that you go to a cousins place and they show you random paintings/pictures and you’re expected to make “wow” sounds and if you don’t they would give you those weird stares and offer you more food.   A new section next to emoticons should be created called auto-replies – A magical kingdom almost as cool as Narnia where you can get all the replies you want based on your situation. If an aunt sends you a good morning message with a smiling baby you go to the smiling baby sub section in the good morning heading and chose the reply “Wow..Thank you, this image made me so happy..good morning to you too J
  • Between a rock, a hard place and leaving a WhatsApp group - It might actually be easier not to get noticed divorcing someone/getting arrested for prostitution (you get where I’m going) than to leave a WhatsApp group without someone noticing. Questions are asked in personal chats- “Hey, did they break up?” “Hey, does he think he’s too cool for the group? He has new friends now?” “Hey, did they get divorced? Is that why he/she left the group?”. You might have to delete WhatsApp, break your sim and go to Himalayas to truly have a valid reason to leave a WhatsApp group. Otherwise they might just add you back and you will be stuck for life wishing you were dead or the group admin was :p
  • I’ll be there for you…every day on your wall and notification bars - So I dedicate this song to all those poor souls who made the mistake of accepting the friend request of the shares, likes and comments a lot uncle/aunty. So no one told you Facebook life was gonna be this way. Your profile pic's a joke, you're farm coins are broke, your relationship status’s D.O.A. It's like you're always stuck in the home page. When it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year, but I'll be there for you 
    (When the status’s starts to pour) 

    I'll be there for you 

    (Like I've liked your every picture before) 
    I'll be there for you 
    ('Cause (I expect you) to be there for me too). 
    P.S these crazy people might do this to you during your entire Facebook life, so either just tell him/her that you hate it or just take the easier way out by getting a lot of your friends to mark the user as spam till their profile gets deleted
  • No one can get a read on my poking phase - Never really figured out what the whole poking thing was for on FB. A random person came up to me once in college and told me “Dude, why do you not respond to my pokes? Why do you not poke me back?”. I was hoping that his question would be self-explanatory but sadly I had to answer that I wasn’t active on Facebook. Pokes - weird western thing we haven’t yet figured out how to use or did Zuckerberg just lose it?
  • I dare you, I double dare you send me a Farmville request one more time..- I have a dream and in that dream I see a beautiful world where we can hire Facebook assassins (preferably a Liam Neeson like personality) to kill peoples Facebook profile using their own farm coins. Mafia wars, Farmville and all the other games that makes people send requests needs to be “taken” down. Alternatively just unfriend, block and complain about anyone sending you requests.
  • Saving private birthdays - The birthday reminders were a game changer. This feature would have saved more relationships than a psychologist ever could have. The ability to wish every random person and even post a random card like image into their wall has given wings to a lot of relationships that otherwise may have ended. Last minute birthday gift purchase support and auto copy paste of “Happy Birthday J” would be much appreciated Zuckerberg. Oh and what would be more helpful would be wedding anniversary reminders considering the rising divorce rates in India (if you already haven’t done this). We would like to make a global event out of our wedding anniversaries also.
  • The Aloo tikki Tinder- We live in an in-between cultural shift, on one side we have our parents accepting the concept of dating but the other side is their belief that everything else other than meeting and talking is kept for after marriage (condom marketing teams go LOL). There is soon going to be an Aloo tikki burger of a tinder when they come out with a dating app with options to date based on your religion, caste and convert into profile options (probably why they took up 25% stake in the dating app thrill). A cool star wars theme to show your star sign compatibility might appeal to a section of their target group might be the first.

The good thing I still feel about digital India is that we can still watch content online without referring to Web sabhas maha indian television dictionary of subtitling and beeping to understand that boobs are chest and condoms are *****( Explains why India's family planning policy = ******). I’m proud to be part of a team that enables this by delivering content without censorship through our website Now moving past that moment of self-promotion, I would really hope you guys keep supporting Net neutrality and also stop sending those cleverly placed free basics proposal to TRAI

Still looking for my crown,

- Paul Barber

(Everyone who hasn’t watched Akkare Akkare Akkare should immediately do it to get the reference)


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