Social un-networking  

Posted by Praveen in

A writeup based on this news item, written for the internal blog..

Someone seems to have read George Orwell's legendary work '1984' recently. The idea of 'big brother watching over your every step and every thought' must've impressed someone higher up the order. And instead of 'big brother', we have 'big sister' watching over us. Members of her private army will scour the internet for those disobedient kids who blurt out truths which are to be suppressed. Its social un-networking at work. No more of those status updates on how smelly the toilet of your school is. No more twitter posts on how cruel and heartless your headmistress is. 140 innocent characters can make you a salary-less kid from next month. This quote which I searched out from my worn out copy of '1984' yesterday night explains the situation best-

"There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized."

Well, this might be the paragraph that led to the idea of this sudden social un-networking. But then in 1949, when this book was written, there was no internet and so there was no anonymous profiles. At best, anonymous posters used to appear at daybreak on some shop wall. But this is the time when smartasses give out their thoughts with profile names of their headmistress and headmater. Check youtube comments of some popular headmistress videos and you'll know what am talking about. With this un-networking, all that can be achieved is a sudden eruption in the number of fake profiles and anonymous posters aping the names of not only the headmistress, but the professors and assistant professors too.

In line with this wonderful initiative, we can think about some other possible future implementations...

Toilet permission
Remember those old days in school when we used to raise our hands in the middle of a classroom and asked, "Teacher, Teacher, May I go to bathroom?" So, maybe now we can send a mail 10 minutes in advance to the headmistress and ask permission to visit the 'restroom'.

Gas free zone
Although it rhymes, sadly there's no DART code for FART. So better plug the gas pipe for 9.25 hours. Or else face the consequences. Cos big brother is not only watching but listening and smelling...

Morning assembly
A weekly assembly when we can come wearing a 'uniform'. Everyone will sing that 'wretched song' in unison. Kids who did some big mischief during the past week(like stealing cubicle mate's pen, breaking coffee cup) should be called to the dias and publicly chastised.

No talking zone
Cubicles should be no talking zones. One person from each cubicle can be selected as the 'leader' or 'prefect' of the cubicle. He should write on the white board with a black marker, the names of those cubicle mates who are talking unnecessarily. This includes those who are talking on phone too. The headmistress can walk along the cubicles with a cane and punish those whose names are written on the board. Talking on phone should get 2 canings and talking to a cubicle mate should get 4 canings. Flirting will attract even severe punishments. The 2 parties will be asked to cane each other 5 times.

If all this are not enough, we can possibly consider the appointment of 'thought police', again an Orwellian idea. These two quotes will surely help in understanding the 'thought police' better- guys who will read your thoughts and punish you if you think things which you are not suppose to think.

"The thought police would get him just the same. He had committed--would have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper--the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you." "It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself--anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face...; was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime..."


As always...unrelated PS-Dont forget to take a peek at my photoblog-myopiclenses

your crusader Praveen

This entry was posted on Friday, July 16, 2010 at Friday, July 16, 2010 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Heck, welcome to the world of e-snooping!

8:14 PM

I am eager to see how they'll go about tracking down the "offenders".

9:06 PM

Your title attracted me here..from Rak's listing...because i am one who, if I had the time had complaints to file with the police (well let me not go into the reasons here :)

while i don't mind whatever happens in social networking...i wish they don't do identity thefts with the ones who prefer not to be there :)

Ofcourse the root of this article..Company Policies may have a reason,

I like this for the social criticism you have done, Praveen...though it all calls for a "for" and "against" debate -- its all about balancing freedom and responsibility, i think :)


11:04 AM

its an ugly world!

they r stupid way they can track people who use anonymous identities:P

@devika m'am
Yea..there's an ugly side to social networking just as there's in the real world. crooks will be crooks whether in the virtual world or real world. But the anonymity that the virtual world offers compels many more sitting on the fence of good and bad resort to unwanted things...and there were many ugly incidents too..

coming to the company policies, this is to be seen considering many of the recent policies that they rolled out to strangle the employees...taking full control of them...and they are crossing the limits here..

10:21 PM

Crossing the limits....i understand Praveen; I hated it so much at i've had to throw my jobs and walk out several times...i know how tough it could be, with all the HR/PR chamchagiris serving the bosses, no end,

can we ever imagine, the Indian job scene will get better?


2:18 PM

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