Friday, February 4, 2011

Social Networks and the art of being a sycopant

Lets define the terms mentioned in the title of this blog post first before we go ahead - Social Networks - Facebook, Linkedin, Orkut
syc·o·phant [sik-uh-fuhnt, -fant, sahy-kuh-]
a self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite.
 
Social Networks are hugely successful because they satisfy a basic Human need - they allow us to advertise ourselves to our friends, co-workers and acquaintances in order to gain their attention, affection and acceptance. The social networks allow us to portray ourselves in colours that are flattering so that people who know us and people who hear of us are attracted to who we are. Its like a UGC advertising. A sort of frame work which has existed for eons where people duelled in the open with their opponents and displayed their spoils of war in the open. Why am I complaining? I too use FB for the same purpose. The constant cool quotes, the links and the comments are all designed to provide a profile that screams - He is THE man you want for the job or He is THE man for you. Somewhere in between all this attention seeking are honest messages to people who are real friends - most of these messages are hidden in the private sections where the 'audience' cannot see them and figure out the real me.
 
And then there are the sycopants, those men and women who will seek out and follow movie stars, VCs, CEOs, Writers, Social Media Experts, Angel Investors and so on. These souls hang on to every comments and every link from the people they follow. Most of their comments are loud claps on everything that is said, or encouragements that are supposed to have that sweet sound of sucking up accompanying them.

Its sad really! I am not even sure if the men and women they fawn over in the open even know about their existence or do they revel in the cacophony of people who are like groupies of rock stars and rock bands. 

Or do these sycopants use these comments to show that they are close to the people they follow? Sort of that old Delhi malice where everyone knows the chacha of the minister in power.


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