Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why I deleted my 4sq account

I deleted my account at 4square. I did this during my recent Twitter detox and after I got a notification that someone had ousted me as Mayor of somewhere. Kinda made me realise that this 4square stuff is also about numbers.

I don't get social networks. Why do I need these numbers? Is it like some popularity thing? You know. I got so many comments on my blog, I got so many followers, I'm the Mayor of so many places. Is that some confirmation of your very cool personality? I'm sure it's great networking but I think I've had it with this obsession with numbers and fame in a place that's basically binary code.

4square was cool with all the useful tips about places, telling you what to try and what to do where. But after some time I began to feel weird when I reached out for my iPhone and rushed to check in. Why? Just so I can retain my Mayorship? Uh..like dude..it's only a website you know. You might be a Mayor but you won't be cutting ribbons. Besides, you can even create a place in your toilet pot and become it's Mayor. Yeah! Ain't no one removing me from my shit pot! Bugger off, go take a dump!

And from what I hear, you don't have to be at a place physically. You can check in wherever you want at the 4sq website. So I can check in to some cool Russian bordello sitting out here in Lower Parel? So much for authenticity. Kinda like creating bots to increase your follow count. Kinda like those spammy emails to increase your pee-pee size. Uh-huh.

Oh ok. I get that 4square is cool if you're in a new place that you don't know and you want to find the coolest, most hippest and happening thing. Yeah, I'm willing to let that once-in-a-lifetime chance pass me by. I'll use Lonely Planet or ask some dude. Or hey, there's always Twitter. Enough of all this badges, mayorships and check ins. Some real world shit too.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

On Twitter detox

Recently a bunch of us took a detox from Twitter. Our detox means no reading and no tweeting. No access to Twitter for 15 days.

I’ve used this break to figure out what Twitter means to me and what I’ve gotten out of it. So here goes. First, why I like Twitter.

1. The People – It’s always the people and the conversations. Kinda like Lost. The whole intricate story and all is all cool. But you’re there to see what happens to Jack, Hurley, Shephard, Locke and that bunch of weirdos. You relate to them. You converse with them. Maybe you’re even a voyeur. You like to know you’re not the only fuck-up around. You get to be your own freak show there. Fake, phony, original, whatever. There’s always some interesting people out there. You want to be around. Hey, I’ve even got all kindsa questions answered out there. From tech, to cycling to food to whateveryouwant. But the best part of it? I landed up meeting some really cool people who I’ve now come to know and like. That has got to be the biggest thing I’ve got out of Twitter so far. And it will keep making me come back to it.

2. The talking –I need to talk. I need to crib, complain, moan, groan. Or be joyous, thrilled, excited and shit like that. And I like it when there are others out there like me. I think that’s the fun part of Twitter for me. You’re there for idle chat, for enlightened debate, for arguments, for banter, for sweet nothings. Or just regular gaandmasti. The same stuff you’d do with your friends that you probably can’t do very often because you’re stuck in a boring job. Or maybe even a boring life. So I need to talk. I need to have a conversation. That’s when things get going. Which reminds me. I don’t get why people take Twitter seriously. I mean dude, it’s only a bunch of people talking. We aren’t changing the world here (but if that happens, wouldn’t that be cool too?).

3. The here and now – Or the ability to have a conversation anytime, anywhere. Like when I’m stuck in a traffic jam or at an airport or waiting for someone somewhere and stuff like that. Twitter is a great time filler. More so with a cell phone now becoming an extended digit on your hand (as someone told me my iPhone had become for me). But this is also a bit dicey because this is the part where Twitter can become an addiction. You get hooked on to it and then you start needing it. You’ve been stuck in a traffic jam before too, right? So what has Twitter done other than spread that misery? And make you addicted to spreading it. Make you addicted to thinking that people actually care. Perhaps they do. But only for that instant. For that then and there, which was a here and now for you.

And this gets to me to the second part. I needed the detox from Twitter to get away from:

1. The excesses – I tweet like mad. I once did some numbers that showed me that I could’ve written a book in the number of tweets I’ve done. That’s a helluva lot of time. On detox, all this time opened up for me. Boy, it felt weird. And it made me painfully aware of what all I can do with that time. Like write. Which is what I’m doing now. Something I’ve not done for a very long time. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Twitter kills blogging. At least it did for me. Twitter gets you into all that stuff about people and talking and whatever I said up there. Me? I love writing. I wish I can die writing. But that oh-so-familiar over-worked lifestyle leaves me with little time to breathe, leave alone write. (Yes, I know that if you have a passion for writing you’ll write at two in the night too. No excuses there.) And whatever time I do get, I fill it with Twitter. Some of it is stray time, some of it isn’t. I’m not sure if tweeting is also writing but I believe Twitter and blogging can co-exist. With some good planning, both can happen, which is probably the best of both worlds. Add that to my to-do list.

2. The expectations – If Twitter is like a regular bunch of people, then as regular bunches of people, we begin to have expectations once know people. Impressions and perceptions are created. If you do something ‘wrong’, you will be hauled up. Maybe that’s right, maybe that’s wrong. But here’s the thing. I think we all have our shortcomings. And I think at some point we start expecting people to behave in a certain way. I think those expectations become a burden. I’m ok with imperfect people. I like imperfect people. They’re like me. I don’t think I can live up to anyone’s expectations and I don’t think I want to. I will be inconsistent. I will be biased. I will screw up. And when I think it’s wrong, I will apologise. But give me that room to goof up and don’t judge me when I do. No really don’t do that.

3. The numbers – I think Twitter fucks things up with numbers and creates phony ‘personalities’ out of mundane people. Imagine Twitter without any numbers. Can you? This whole obsession with number of followers reminds me of the blogging days when it used to be about number of comments on your post. Does it really matter? I don’t think it does. If you’re good, people will read what you have to say. If you’re good, people will talk with you on Twitter. I don’t think there’s any bigger reward.

So our Twitter detox gets over on June 15th and I’m looking forward to being back. I miss the people and the chatter. I still think I’ve gotten more out of Twitter than what it’s taken out of me. And as long as that equation stays that way, I will keep coming back to tweet.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

10 Reasons why I liked Rajneeti

In no particular order..

1. Loved the Mahabharat angle and the turns in the plot

2. Liked the sly grabs from Godfather (this wasn't a tribute, like Sarkar)

3. Liked every single performance. Hats off to both Ajay Devgan and Ranbir Kapoor for putting themselves in an ensemble cast. And I much prefer the Prakash Jha Ajay Devgan (Apharan and Gangajal) to the Mani Ratnam Ajay Devgan (Yuva).

4. Thought Kat Kaif was super. Yes she can actually act although you will miss that in her immense hotness (and those cribs about her accent are very yesterday, so grow up)

5. Liked Dayashankar Pandey and Chetan Pandit. Missed the other guys from Jha's crew like Yashpal Sharma and Akhilendra Mishra

6. The multi-layered story. A headline of a review I saw (not read), had the word "over-written". Whatever. I don't think politics is uni-dimensional.

7. Ranbir Kapoor. Is this guy shaping out to be good or what. After Rocket Singh, I think this is his next best movie. Enough of those good boy, saving the day roles please. Reminds me of Leonardo Di Caprio in Romeo and Juliet and then in Blood Diamond.

8. Manoj Bajpai. I have no idea where he was all these years but he just walked into this movie and left his mark. The anger is still there.

9. The songs, of which we don't get to hear much. Liked the two times they play Mora Piya. Thank God FM radio is playing that super song. Also would have liked to see more of that item number.

10. Actually I'd like anything that Prakash Jha makes. So there.