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Friday, August 11, 2017

Sarahah - why is it suddenly so popular?

My Facebook homepage is completely flooded with messages from this application as people flock to use it - its like a candy bar from childhood! Or is it?

I suddenly started thinking about why this app was suddenly so popular.

So, what basically is sarahah? 

As per this Indiatoday article, the term "sarahah" itself means honesty and the app lets you be "honest" (more on that later) ?! You get to choose an anonymous identity while posting a message to anyone (who has the app) and it supposedly leads to fun and a good amount of guessing!

Suddenly my thoughts went to childhood and a red landline phone that we had. Missed calls were fun! No caller ID, so you could not guess who it is who suddenly remembered you! You could say a lot without saying anything and it was left solely to the perception of the person hearing the missed call.

Perception meant - to each his own.
My mother probably thought - one of those irritating wrong numbers. My father probably thought - a test from the local telephone department and I... I thought - may be 'that girl' was giving me a call? (Smiles) Teenage... I tell ya!

So, after all these years and all (well, almost all) kinds of experiences, when I see people posting messages with this app and reacting strangely, I get a strange feeling. Sometimes the reactions are funny, sometimes silly, sometimes angry... well in short, I get to see almost all kinds of reactions.

But question is, does it really promote honesty? Does honesty imply, you hide your face, say something and then go into hiding again, secretly feeling elated at the reaction of your anonymous post? Sorry, is that honesty or hypocrisy?

I see, why this app can have a dizzying effect on teenagers... yes its the same feeling I had with missed calls (God knows who!), but is it honest? I do not think so! Now all of you are entitled to your own opinion and I would like to hear from you.

I did have a different idea about anonymous blogging. There used to be a platform, but it has been taken down. Anonymous blogging is not targeted at anyone. But sometimes, people just need to say aloud things to no one, not because of the need of being heard but because of the need of expressions.

We may or may not need a ear, but we cannot have our voice stifled. That is worse than death!

How is sarahah (haha!) is different from anonymous blogging?

Sarahah is designed to elicit a reaction.
It is targeted at specific people.
The expected reaction after seeing the message is the prime motivation of the one posting it.

Anonymous blogging is not designed to elicit a reaction.
It is used to vent out, free up the mind, rant.
The motivation to it is simply to be at peace with self.
Disconnection from the whole material world.
Yes it is honest, brutally so!

Anonymous blogging is honest, brutally so! Sarahah is just a passing fad! People will get over it!

Agree? Disagree? Not formed an opinion yet? Come on! Write in comments. Would love to hear from you!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Happy Friendship Day

I woke up today and was greeted with a WhatsApp notification. I thought it was Sunday morning and it took a bit of time for me to open up my eyes. With half closed eyes, I unlocked my phone and checked the detail of the notification.

I was greeted with a friend's message - "Happy Friendship Day!"

Throughout the day on numerous channels like Facebook, Twitter, blogs - you name it, this message trended. In fact I checked Indiblogger a while back and saw this message trending as well.

Then I thought where did it generate. We all know about Valentine's Day. But friendship day! Since when and why?

As per information available here and here, the tradition of dedicating a day in honor of friends began in US in 1935. The International Friendship Day was first proclaimed on July 30 in 1958. Today in several countries including the United States and India, the first Sunday of August is selected for friendship day festivities.

But the idea was proposed even earlier than that.

Courtesy: Wikipedia
According to documentation available, Joyce C.Hall, the founder of Hallmark Cards first proposed the idea of celebrating friendship day. He intended August 2 to be celebrated world over amidst festivities and it is hardly surprising that the idea met with resistance specifically because, it was perceived as a commercial gimmick to promote greeting cards, in those days. 

The life of Mr. Hall was pretty inspiring. You may like reading it here.

Although I did not find an older documented chronicle on the advent of friendship day, the history of friendship is arguably as old as the history of civilization. Human beings have forever celebrated friendship in as many ways as we could imagine.

In the age of social networking, a person can have a thousand friends and sometimes even more. However, it conflicts with the theory of Dunbar's number. The number proclaims a cognitive limit of the number of friends a human being can have stable relationship with. As per research conducted by Mr. Dunbar, 150 is the number.

Facebook today threatens this number - at least we think so! Mr Dunbar himself realized this and in 2010 did a study on Facebook.

Here is what Mr Dunbar had to say:
The interesting thing is that you can have 1,500 friends, but when you actually look at traffic on sites, you see people maintain the same inner circle of around 150 people that we observe in the real world. People obviously like the kudos of having hundreds of friends but the reality is that they're unlikely to be bigger than anyone else's. 

Now, this is something each of us can realize and probably tell how much of it is true. But the question remains, commodification of friendship wherein we send greeting cards and call people reminding them of the special day is probably fine. However, if we go beyond and flaunt number of contacts on a social networking site branding all of them as friends, does it align with our basic human abilities? We do not know. Getting a like or a positive comment does add a feel good factor to our psyche and it does provide impetus to our brain's reward center. But does that classify the actions as borne out of friendship? Does it always do that?

That's a question, that I leave to you readers to ponder upon.

I'll close this with this lovely quote by Edgar A Guest.

"I'd like to be the sort of friend that you have been to me. I'd like to be the help that you've been always glad to be; I'd like to mean as much to you each minute of the day, as you have meant, old friend of mine, to me along the way."

Happy friendship day!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

JIO vs BSNL - internet speed test comparison

I have been thinking of what to write this evening when I started toggling between my JIO and BSNL  connectivity and then figured out - well what the heck, lets write on how these two are faring at the moment.

Frankly speaking since the day I got a JIO connection, life has been good. Got a Netflix subscription and am watching movies just like how I did in the USA! Woohoo! The speed usually is pretty okay, barring one or two stops along the way and 1 minute of buffering right when the streaming starts.

Netflix gave me a free one month trial, so all the more reason for rejoicing. I'll write more on that some tome.

But anyway, today evening I noticed that the speed of JIO was little on the slower side than usual and I decided to do a speedtest and post it here.

Note: I have a BSNL UL 950 plan and a JIO per day 1GB plan.

Here are the results conducted via speedtest.net.

BSNL (wifi)
JIO (wifi)

The page did not open. Yeah you saw that right. After this famous speed test conducted by Ookla Llc (who owns speedtest.net) where they judged Airtel to have better speed than Jio, apparently a Jio network does not even let anyone test speed using their site.

Then again, TRAI conducted another speed test late July' 2017 where they certified Reliance Jio to have the best data speed.

I went to TRAI's site to see if they had a way for normal users to check speeds.

But they do not currently have a way to do that. They however have pre-populated statistics on average speeds of various internet service providers.

So, in conclusion, I did not get a chance to test JIO's internet speed with the limited means I had.

But should they have blocked speedtest.net even though they did not endorse the method of test conducted? That is a question I leave to you to get opinions on.

PS. The first part of this article was written on a BSNL network and the second part on a JIO WiFi.