Monday, November 17, 2008

face value

“What are you doing right now?”

Simple unambiguous question, wouldn’t you say? It used to be, till the folks at Facebook (consciously or accidentally) upgraded it to a complex personality test.

They’ve done this in two simple but lethal steps. One, they’ve called the answer a status update. And two, they’ve put your update out there for all to see. This means your actions can now speak louder than a heavily monogrammed Louis Vuitton bag.

This promise (or threat) seems to have brought cracking order to the fuzzy group of people we loosely and fondly call friends.

With just one question, the haves have been spliced cleanly from the have beens. The have beens in turn are separated from the been-there-done-thats. The list goes on, too long for this post to hold, without butting into the next blog.

So installments it is. Here’s the first of the ‘types’ I’ve discovered, as a part of my fully fatru research, triggered by new preference options. These let me see the status updates of not just friends, but friends of friends and friends of friends of friends. So all those of my friends with fingers on the block friend button, it may not be about you...

The so-much-to-show-so-little-space type

I think this personality type started reading the term status updates, but gave up halfway through the two-word plot. “The ending is obvious no ya?” they thought. “Actual mein, I already know that the only word that goes well with status is symbol.”

Signs of luxury, wealth and success ooze out richly from these people’s updates like ghee from a mysore pak. Any new acquisition makes it here faster than pirated copies of a new movie at the grey market.

To spot this type, you should know that some of them use a deceptively humble tone. Do not be fooled by it - it’s not a sign of modesty anymore than a 5-bedroom villa is a garib khaana. To get behind the fuzz of humility, look out for the clever use of interactive features like comments.

For example, consider this.

Gori C. is homesick for Indian food. Watch how this one grows in status with comments like, 'which part of the world are you in NOW?' And ‘you jet setter you!’ Do not make the mistake of saying 'awwww why don’t you come home for some dal chawal', unless you want to see the gory side of Gori.

Another example is the innocent info seeker who keys in SomeRat wants to know how long transpacific jet lags last. If you really want to know the answer to that SomeRat, you're in the wrong place. Try search engines pet.

Another specialty of this type of personality is that time has no meaning for them. If our barons are talking about new acquisitions which they don't have yet or anymore, this is how they will get the tenses to slave for them.

Present tense: La di da is awed by the beauty of her private island.

Past tense: D. Leer’s finger hurts from the weight of the diamond ring she wore yesterday.

Future tense: Evanna B. can’t wait to meet her new BMW.

If you still haven't spotted the ‘so-much-to-show-so-little-space type’ from among your friends, try this final surefire method. Think of any clichéd line about love and replace love with status. Status conquers all. True status is forever. Status makes the world go round. If it works for any of your friends, bingo, you’ve got your man or woman. Till death do you part.

Next: The Piles-to-show-before-I-sleep type


  1. Very cool. Waiting for the next one.
    And am going to be very careful with my updates till I see all your categories.

  2. OMG! you beyatch...:)

    now im going through all my past status to check whether did i fall in those categories....

    hahahha! love this....

  3. pleeease be your natural self ramesh, or you'll deprive me of half my potential categories :)

    hahaha pepe, just getting my claws a much
    needed manicure!

  4. this is hilarious.....incidently i just flipped on that what are you doing right now? question.....keep it coming

  5. thank you rajesh. will continue till my friend list is down to zero :)

  6. I like the comment responses more than the post :-|

    As a consolation to losing all your friends, by then you'd have clawed well past a manicure and may be even found favour with the cats in your neighbourhood, the internet savvy ones at any rate.

  7. you nailed it! FB updates have also begun as a forum for people to flaunt their pseudo-intellectualisms. "Timothy is seeped in acid sunshine", "Vikas is mourning a lost soul, in another world." It always pissed me off to read stuff I could not understand and written obviously to elicit gentle responses or inspire the reader's awe at the brilliantness of it all.

  8. Thanks for visiting, Karthik Sivaramakrishnan.

    lol, love your examples, Five Wise Men! there's no end to the amazing things people will say when they have an audience...

  9. Ashwini, dug the post. Status updates used to be simple enough until FB went after FriendFeed and added comments to updates. This led to the "Please won't you ask me more?" type of status updates as in "Bingo is really confused" or "ZeZe hopes someone goes away!!!" Its an entertainment category all by itself.

  10. thank you aspi :) i'm not sure the people who write updates necessarily want to be entertaining, and thank god for that, because it makes them even funnier...

  11. ashwini! what an observation!!! :-)it was fun to read. and i am being very careful writing something here... who knows you might start commenting on people who comment here!!! hahahaha

  12. Ramesh led me here. And now I regret it.

    Brilliant. You should be a shrink.

    You made me retrospectively self analyze every update I ever made.

    Keep them coming.

  13. Wow......... gave me creeps............. about my messages.. :P........ how about'xxx is trying to live by instinct' ' xxxx thinks love is over-rated'.... and similar ones???? Looking forward for more types.......... guess will start doing that once i get sick of waiting......atleast for starters... i can say there is this 'xxx is watching movie' diary types.........

  14. thanks letmetryit, harjee and aangtce...

  15. A comment too late..

    'Status' means never having to say you're sorry !!!