The question used to be “do you have an online profile?” but that question is horrendously out of date. The question now is “how many profiles do you have?” because lets not kid ourselves, Social Networking has taken over our lives. The fact there has recently been a film based on Facebook called The Social Network and it was nominated for countless Academy Awards speaks volumes on how popular online profiles have become. There is another film called Catfish which has a lot to do with social networking too, but admittedly I haven’t seen either film. So where and how did this whole thing begin?

Who remembers their first email account? And the first time they went into a chat room? Oh my gosh I remember. My first account was with AOL in 1998. My user name was crazyav, yikes the thought of it is making me cringe!!! What did I do on this account? I was only 12 at the time dammit, what networking does a 12 year old need to do? Well in the early days I’d go into a chat room and be like “hey asl” to any random girl. And it was the same old shizz! “Hi, 19, female, California”, I mean this was AOL, almost everyone was American back then! “What do you look like?” I’d say all so eagerly. “I’m blonde, blue eyes, 5’6, really hot”….which means she was a brunette with brown eyes 5’3 and a bit podgy, but naive little arainmunda always believed them. They’d ask me, “asl and what do you look like”. What do you think I replied?? “12, male, London and I’m a paki with brown hair and brown eyes” or do you think I straight up LIED and did the same thing as her? Yep, you’re right, I LIED! What was my description back then? GOD it makes me cringe so bad. I’d say I was 6’2 even though I was about 5’3. I’d say I was very athletic, well…on the PlayStation I was. I’d say I was handsome, well…I might have been a little cute, but if anything I was ridiculously goofy. I said I had blonde hair and blue eyes, but that’s a given isn’t it? Everyone had blonde hair and blue eyes on AOL from 1995-2000! I said I drove a Porsche because I got 1502 in my SATs and my parents gave it to me as a gift. I didn’t even know what SAT’s were, but I knew 1502 was a high score! The only reason I knew was because (my then idol) Zack Morris from Saved by the Bell got the same score! I lied so much I made Fletcher Reede look like a trustworthy guy, and that was my warm-up act. I’d chat for an hour or so, then get bored and find someone else to talk to, same description, same lies, same 12 year old misbehaving. I mean can you imagine me with blonde hair and blue eyes? God, that’d be scary, I can see it now….

The horror!

Good look for me no?

It’s okay, stop hiding behind your chair, sit back on your seat and worry not. In fact scroll down so you can’t see the horror of what a blonde hair blue eyed arainmunda would look like! Now where was I? Oh yeah, so after the whole AOL craze some years had passed and I began to be a bit prouder of who I was. Not only that, the typical rich white internet user sterotype had died down. The online craze was spreading across the world. Common folk could now use it and it wouldn’t cost £50 a month like it used to, thanks mainly to Freeserve! Now that there were more ethnic minorities and a less racist attitude on the net, I started telling people who I really was, relief all around! Still did the chat room thing, but sometimes I would just go into a forum looking for trouble! I’d go into a KKK chatroom and be like “F*** all you wannabe Casper gaylords” then I’d proceed to rant and rave, before I’d run out of energy and leave haha! Those were the days. A shy 14 year old asian kid who had a regular life by day, was an internet troll by night!

Then the social networking craze took a turn with the introduction of FacePic and FreindsReunited. Who used FacePic? Do any of y’all remember it? If you didn’t use it let me explain; it was like Facebook, but the original. It had everything you could possibly need to network, heck…my brother met his future wife on FacePic!!! As for FriendsReunited, that shizz was no good. You had to pay around £30 a year to have a proper account? Really? £30? No wonder it failed. Some time later Hi5 and MySpace kicked in, and this is where things really got going. Social networking was becoming fun and I met so many people on both of them. I remember on MySpace, someone added me randomly from Kenilworth, I had no idea where that was when they added me and I accepted thinking who is this? They then dropped a comment on my profile saying “hi u alrite? im bored?! up to much? luv me xox” I had never met or spoken to this person in my entire life, yet the first message they dropped me was as if they’d known me for years!!!! Completely bizarre! We were friends for a while, but it slowly died down for various reasons. Hi5 was even better, it was there that I first gazed eyes on my woman. Quite strange now I think about it.

Then came Facebook, I was the first amongst my friends to join and I persuaded them all to jump on the bandwagon. It was and still can be so much fun. But it’s fizzled out somewhat? Why? Is it that social networking isn’t fun any more? Am I just growing out of it? Or is it privacy issues? I’m pretty sure it is the latter. What gets me is, back when I joined Facebook, it was only the cool cats who were on my friend list. They could see my life on Facebook, I could see theirs. But when Facebook relaxed the restrictions on who could join, it became a lot less fun for me. It used to be university students only but now if you’re a hobo on a street corner you can join. And of course, everyone has a right to do what they want, participate in what they want and become a member of any society they want, but one of the reasons I loved Facebook was because it was a youngsters only zone. And not just youngsters only, intelligent youngsters only. Now I sound pretty ignorant and I’m not implying that intelligent youngsters only exist in university, but from a social networking perspective it was such a good way to filter out the weirdo’s and oldies. Now I find myself on Facebook, with three fresh pot cousins, my mum, several aunts and uncles all on my list! It won’t be long before my 100 year old grandfather takes an interest in my Facebook! Now I’m not saying I don’t like some of those people being on my list, I enjoy seeing their pictures and being able to keep in touch with many of them. But suddenly I feel like my youthful private life is under constant scrutiny. My trip to Scotland for example, I loved it, but I know several aunts will be raising their eyebrow knowing I went there because a special someone lives there. People are too assuming and critical. They won’t know any details on what I did in Scotland, but they’ll assume I was up to no good, they’ll then spread lies, Chinese whispers will prevail, and I’ll come home from work one day with my dad saying “I heard you went to Edinburgh, got married to a white chick, drank whiskey and assaulted Alistair Darling“! Then when I tell him none of that occurred, that its all lies, he’ll believe me….but he’ll still have that image painted in the back of his mind. This is my beef with the Facebook revolution. The problem is, Facebook itself has become quite an important aspect in my social life. Leaving something I joined and have used daily since 2006 is no easy task. So what will come of my predicament? Who knows. Arainmunda signing out.