Thursday, November 11, 2010

Beware of ‘Idiots’ On The Road –

If I could count the number of times I’ve hurled unmentionable expletives at people on the road I out of numbers! These people – lets call them ‘Idiots’ – are everywhere. And one very noble website – is trying to save us from these..Idiots. Maybe ’save’ is too optimistic, warn maybe slightly more apt. The website was launched on 4th October, 2010 and has had received close to 1 Lakh visits in under a month. 3/4th of which were through referral sites.

The site lists the various kinds of “Idiots” you can encounter on the road here. It also allows you to share your stories about encounters with some idiots. Per chance you had a camera at hand when you did – there’s and Idiot Gallery to shame them, easier said than done of course. There are around 40 videos and 36 images as of now. A far cry from the actual number out there.

Amateur Idiot - Just one of the many kinds on the road!

What’s Good!

The website is nice looking but more importantly, the intention behind it is noble. All of us have good Ideas, but a very small percentage actually gets down to implementing them. Along the lines of Janagraaha’s ipaidabribe, the website will draw its power from the masses. Classic Web 2.0!

What’s Bad!

There isn’t anything wrong with the site per se, but there are certain limitations. Its reliance on user contribution can only take it so far. Besides it doesn’t achieve its purpose of actually identifying the ‘Idiots’. Even if the users tirelessly post photos and videos and its database burgeons into something of the order of lakhs of photos and videos, it would do nothing. Unless there was a way for it to actually identify the ‘Idiots’ in some manner (social media profiles?). Even after discounting the technical difficulties of achieving that for the sake of argument there are problems. Privacy and the fact that a very small percentage of our population actually is on social networks.

Another Idiot crossing the road!

What’s Ugly!

What’s Ugly? The truth – that even though the intentions behind the site are extremely noble, and it can use the virtuous circle of social media sharing to further its cause. In the long run, the danger is that it may just turn into an ‘Idiot Gallery’ where you go for a laugh – assuming it manages to find its way into our minuscule attention span! The fact that it had only 6000 returning visitors doesn’t paint a very encouraging picture, it means that 6 out of a 100 visitors actually came back. And given the closeness to the total number of visitors to the number of uniques, it seems like many of the 6000 din’t come back for a third time. Sad! But true.

Personally, I really enjoyed the site and yes – I have visited it more than 3 times already. I honestly hope they find a way to keep themselves relevant on the ephemeral internet.

Food for thought – If I’m on the road and instead of minding my own business I’m trying to capture one of these idiots on the lens, isn’t there a chance I become one myself?

Did you enjoy the site? Got any ideas on how to keep it relevant? Let us know.

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