systemhalted by Palak Mathur

[Book Review] The Asocial Networking by Dhiraj Kumar

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Man is a social animal. This has been taught to us since we were a child and we firmly believe in it not only because it was taught but also because we appreciate the phrase from our experience. Man cannot live alone. He needs a community to take care of him, a group of people always surrounding him, helping him, talking and supporting him. A society is a reason for very existence. Solitude is something we all hate. We always want to be with someone to enjoy the journey called life.

Over time, it has been observed that people have become busy with their own lives. They do not seem to have time for anyone not even for their immediate families. They are lonely but cannot do anything about it. Leveraging the tendency of man to be social and the lacuna that they have no time to socialize, many Social networking sites like Orkut, MySpace, Facebook, etc have mushroomed, which claim to offer a virtual society to all persons who are part of these social networking sites. Our current book for review, The Asocial Networking is about such social networking sites.

Most of us are members of these social networking sites and tend to think that we know in and out about social network and are competent enough to let alone comment but write a book on the same subject. Dhiraj Kumar is one such person who has taken all his strengths and wisdom together to come out with a book on this subject.

The Asocial Network is a collection of 150 short articles which talks about the virtual world created on these social networking sites specially Facebook. It will not be wrong to say that Dhiraj Kumar has tried to give impetus to debate about Real vs Virtual world. Few years ago, I came across a social networking site, viz., Second Life, which had started such a debate among the various thinkers. At that time, my opinion was that it is a useless discussion as it depends on personal choice of someone. After reading this book, the same opinion remains and holds the ground.

I found it difficult to have belief and faith in the convictions of the author that he has presented through his articles in the book. After reading through first few chapters, I was seriously disillusioned to go ahead and read the book. Therefore, I moved to the last few chapters. Surprisingly, I found the disclaimer by the author where he says that this book might not satisfy the need for an intellectual or informed read.  The author was himself sure that he might not be taken seriously and his book might not be liked. For me, this disclaimer certainly came true.

I took around a month to read the book as there was nothing that interested me in the book. The book could have been a wonderful read if it would have been a bit more than just some futile generalizations. There is no continuity of flow from one article to another that at points I started thinking that it would have been better that these 150 articles would have been a part of a blog rather than a book.

The only thing that I liked about the author (keeping aside the thoughts, convictions, beliefs, etc. of author aside) was to use lucid writing style and more importantly having courage enough to come out with a book on this subject. It would have been great if the book was divided into sections and each sections catering to a particular conviction. Inclusion of few articles on other social networking site other than FB and removal of few others would have definitely made the book worth enough to be called a good commentary on social networking sites.

Having said this, I do not deny what Dhiraj has said. I believe that whatever he said may happen and some of it is happening in reality in the virtual world. But as far as book is concerned, it failed to impress me as a whole.

My rating 1/5.

Note: Author has sent the book as a gift in return of review of this book on my blog.

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