Hit Counter

9 Dec 2011

Of News & Virus

Bank rate cuts are old news now. The Big Four were in the line of fire while they 'reviewed' the RBA's decision to chop the interest rate by 25 basis points. Once the banks decided to fall in line and pass on the entire cut, the news went cold super fast.  If the banks, or even one of them, had with-held any part of the cut, the fire would still be raging. As they say, good news is no fun. 

Hundreds of emails are exchanged between people every hour of every day. Nobody bats an eyelid. Until there is one embarassing email. The most popular is one that frustrates somebody. Before the sender has moved his index finger from the mouse, after clicking on the send button (if you are a keyboard person like me, you would probably hit the Control+Enter keys), the email has travelled across half the world. In a world where social networking has a presence almost as big as the world wide web, the email has gone 'viral'. Today's joke is on Mike, who sent a rather desperate email to Lauren, after repeatedly failing to hear from her after their first date and his numerous attempts to get in touch with her. It is obvious from his email that Mike is probably upset and trying overly hard to keep a straight face as he write the email. In effect, it switches between being a statistical, analytical note to a desperate call to Lauren, to respond to him.

It is not known whether Lauren herself posted the note on the internet or someone she showed the email to, did. That is irrelevant anyway. It is exactly how a girl would respond to such an email. Share with her friends and be appalled at the nature of the letter. After a first date, that may or may not have gone well, if she had any doubts in her mind as to whether she wanted to see the guy again or not, that will now be removed from her mind. There is no way in hell that she will get in touch with this guy. She might altogether avoid being seen in the vicinity of where he lives and works. If there is a sliver of sorry feeling for the guy and she decides to call him, her friends will vehemently discourage her from doing it. In this case, the email has been made public. The more viral the email goes, the more it becomes a joke. She and her friends are probably laughing at the contents and the email's popularity by now. The seriousness of the note, if any, has altogether disappeared. It is now just another funny item on the internet that goes into Facebook's statistics as viral email or Twitter's as trending link.

Such emails are almost never forgotten. They seem to surface every now and then, when related discussions occur. I can only hope the name of the author in the email is fake. Well, considering that the person who posted the email on the internet has xxx-d out his phone number, it is safe to assume that they will not have revealed the true identity of the writer. 

There are not too many 'nice' things that go viral. What one man likes, another may not. Yet, the South Indian song Kolaveri-di went viral for weeks. Nearly every Indian who has a Facebook account posted the song on his/her profile or at the very least commented on, or liked, the link posted by someone. Last week, the original song stopped being posted but only to be replaced by various versions of 'Response to Kolaveri-di'. Of these, the Kolaveri-di sung and sweetly tweaked by Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam's son Nevaan Nigam was the most popular. This week, Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag's world record score in ODI, which has made big news is being dubbed as 'Kola-Viru-da' after his nickname Viru. It will be a while before Kolaveri-di will be replaced by something equally good.

Viral is now hip a word. At one point, viral and virus were bad things. Infections - whether physical or computers - that people shunned. English seems to be turning into a more complex language with the advent of the mingling of multiple cultures. A number of non-English foreign languages tend to use same words to mean different things, based on context. English was supposed to have been the simple language. The most difficult thing used to be the difference in pronunciation of words between the English English and the American English. Now, we have Aussie English, Jinglish (Japanese), Hinglish (Indian - Hindi) and a whole lot of other variations. This is in addition to the abbreviated SMS lingo, social networking lingo and then some. The modern English language is slowly incorporating 'acceptable' bits of all of this, as it embraces multi-culturism and turning into a slightly complicated language. It is all in good faith. Who am I to complain?

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