February 5, 2007

Naseeb dot com

Posted in Commentary at 11:09 pm by Iram

As the cyber world is growing, so is the number of portals designed with the specific purpose of networking in mind. Everybody has heard of Facebook, MySpace, and Friendster, and now there’s another one to add to the list: Naseeb. Though not new, Naseeb was very recently introduced to me by a friend who has managed to make some very close friends using only her high speed cable modem. Intrigued, I signed on and spent a few hours in front of the computer hoping to recover from a bout of boredom that was preventing me from engaging in my other favorite pasttime – studying. Well, I think entertained would be a severe understatement for what I felt while I chatted with random people on Naseeb via the network’s instant “Nassenger”. Aimed largely at the growing young Muslim population, Naseeb seems to have become a hideout for Muslim women seeking men and Muslim men seeking women – a glorified matchmaking site. And while it does a fairly decent job of bringing the community together, I was definitely brought up close and personal with some members of the community with whom I hope to never have any interaction again. On the positive side, though, I have electronically managed to “meet” (if you can call it that) a few individuals that I know for a fact would have become very close friends of mine had I met them in person. In this case, though, only time will be able to tell if the same outcome is reached via the Naseeb platform.

The case of Naseeb has brought up some very relevant questions in my head, though. As people grow more and more connected via the internet and other electronic sources, it appears that these very same people are losing their innate ability to communicate in person. I know countless individuals who are very eloquent in writing, but are completely unable to communicate their thoughts clearly when speaking with somebody in person. Is this a consequence of electronic communication? Are we becoming so dependent on the internet to meet and communicate with new people and old friends that we can no longer perform the same functions verbally? I know I see this trend in myself sometimes – I often find myself choosing to email or text message something rather than just picking up the phone and dialing a number. It is a scary thought, especially as I continue through medical school and hear no less than ten times a day that one of our most important strengths as future doctors will be our ability to communicate effectively and sensitively with our patients. While there are times that textual communication is more efficient than verbal there must be a limit to how much of our lives are spent typing instead of speaking, or the next thing you know people will be walking around with keyboards attached to their hands typing messages via bluetooth to people as they pass by them on the streets (yes, I know this is likely an exaggeration, but I can still visualize the mental image). My two cents…

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