A community portal is basically defined in various dictionaries and geek speak as a place where people of common interest gather virtually, to engage in activities and networking. In the recent years we have seen a huge rise in community portals in our country. So here is my take on the three major types in existence today!
The first one is the social one. People thrive on interaction, and nowhere is it more visible than Face book or Orkut. Obviously it gets a bit weird with random strangers poking each other and the adding of virtually anyone who has spoken to you once on your profile etc etc. No, absolutely no one believes you have 534 friends in real life people!!!
So why do people sign up to portals like this?? Yes yes I admit it, I joined up to seem like I was digitally conscious as well. I thought it would be a bit of shugal, but itâ€™s turned into something of a monster, eating away at my time as I sit and click through my friendâ€™s pages everyday looking for something funny, something boring, gossip? Ohhkaaay back to writing mode from the confession booth. A thought to note on this aspect, portals for social networking appeal to the voyeur in us. Yesâ€¦ it is true, no one admits it but we all like watching people, their pictures, making snide comments about them in private messages etc etc. In fact if someone made an application to see everyoneâ€™s private messages on Facebook and Orkut , half the relationships in Pakistan would fizzle out instantly! Letâ€™s also not forget the chichora virtue of these social sites. We in this country rarely have any place to meet and interact with members of the opposite sex openly. No dear reader I am not desperate. I am speaking of the general population who isnâ€™t invited to 4 Gtâ€™s and Parties every week. Not that I am either!! However it is a medium is it not? Though often exploited by people for nefarious purposes as well, still it is a good way to hook up. Where there is demand, supply shall stress its bonds to meet it they say.
Right on to the second type of portal available and in vogue these days which is basically the professional networking one. Notables on this list would be portals like Linked in, and quite recently Monster and Jobsindubai.com. The benefits of hooking up to something like this is quite obvious. Even if in a good job one can always test the waters by means of these portals and online resumes. Want to know what you are worth in Dubai or anywhere else in the world? Sounds inviting does it not? Actually these portals have led to a tremendous growth in the horizons of us Pakistanis and made the careers of quite a few people toiling away in our country.
Last but by no means the least is the information based community portal. These online sites are a step-up from the individual blogs one is used to reading. They represent a collective of writers, thinkers, poets etc who contribute with their own take on the events of the day, or just something they think should be shared. Obviously this can lead to a lot of frivolous commentary on things such as Shairs on the back of buses. However some of these portals for example Pakspectator, or Chowrangi or Chowk.com make for a lot better reading then our newspapers of the day. Simply because there are almost no censors and one can see freedom of speech being exercised in true Pakistani style here. Plus most of the news and articles one reads on these portals are totally unbiased and the common mans view of things. No wonder even the foreign news services have made it a point to keep an eye on these collective info blogs to get â€œthe real pictureâ€
The best thing though is that whether its profiles or news or resumes that you read, or interact with, you at least know that you are engaging in something more constructive then say watching the tube or daydreaming. So go ahead write on someoneâ€™s wall, send a picture, poke someone, send a video, try your hand at writing a piece, check out your fantasy career and how to go about acquiring it. Make that click my friends, who knows it, might even save or change your life!! Who knows whatâ€™s out there until you explore nahi? A new world awaits you Columbus.
Published on Feb 23rd In AAGAHI with “The News”