Who would have thought that the police would use social networking sites to solve murder cases? Well, that’s exactly what happened in Mumbai, India recently. Mumbai Police used Orkut profiles to nab the alleged killer of a young lady found murdered in a suburban Mumbai hotel. The victim’s Orkut conversations led the cops to the profile of an Indian Navy officer, who is now believed to be guilty of the crime.
Well, social networking sites are beginning to serve a huge social purpose in India. Not always in such serious matters, but sites like Orkut, by far the most popular social networking site in India, are being used for several life-changing decisions.
A few months ago, a friend of mine started seeing a young lady. He even introduced her to his family. Not particularly happy with his choice, his family promptly logged on to Orkut to check the lady’s profile. Her admission to a “sex, drugs and rock & roll” lifestyle, visible on her Orkut profile page, didn’t exactly go down too well with the family. Being the obedient boy that he is, my friend broke up with her.
Another friend has opted for the traditional arranged marriage. But he is going about it in the most untraditional way. Once his family has identified a suitable match for him, he conducts what he calls an Orkut research. He scans the girl’s Orkut profile, goes through the scraps, researches her friends, communities and interest areas. Only after he is satisfied with his Orkut research does he decide to meet the prospective match.
There are reports of employers using social and business networking sites to profile prospective employees and verify their credentials.
A friend’s wife was visiting us last week. Still not initiated into Orkut, she asked me to show her around the online maze. She paid particular attention to her husband’s Orkut page, his friends and scrapbook. Thankfully, my friend was already aware of the “Delete Scrap” option which, I presume, he found quite useful.
Can you really let your guard down in the online world? How important is it to carefully manage your online personality?
Anupam Mukerji • Mumbai, India • www.mmi-india.com