Meera is a 19-year old girl. She has a sleek expensive looking phone but is constantly frustrated with the “low storage” error flashing on her home screen. She sighs and deletes a couple of dictionary-related apps, so that she could make space to maintain her social networking apps.
Meera is now 21, and her schedule largely involves college and then social networking till the moment she sleeps. She is so used to Facebook that her home page is the first thing she checks in the morning, and the last thing she checks in the night.
Even the time she spends in the washroom, her phone accompanies her, browsing and double clicking on Instagram pictures. She entertains herself during the obstinate traffic by tweeting hilariously about the traffic.
Meera is a fictional character.
But, is Meera really a fictional character?
Is Meera not living in all of us, in varying intensities?
Aren’t we all equally involved (if not addicted) in the social media and it’s different platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and lately, also, the infamous dating app Tinder.
Cyber crimes, hacking, bullying, addiction, plagiarism and the like are all very conventional, explicit threat that the social media oh so graciously is known for.
But what about those implicit, unconventional, very less noticeable gradual threats that come creeping out, slowly and steadily, from the smallest loopholes of the social media?
Are we really aware of the following things (things which only appear minute) that the social media is doing to us?
• Social Media is hampering our creativity:
I remember when I was a kid, I had one of those broadband connections which would disconnect automatically whenever there would be an incoming call on the landline. The internet fares were so high that we would get barely fifteen minutes on the internet, and I would use that time to surf through the Disney Channel website. Once those fifteen minutes would be over, I would go back to either sketching different objects in my house or writing poems on those very objects! Now that I’ve grown up, my day is spent in college. Even in college, I, along with majority of my class, are either facebooking or snapchatting during lectures, thanks to the college wifi. At home, it’s the same routine.
We’re all becoming so used to the social media that we’ve almost forgotten how to do what we always loved to do. We spend all our creativity in hashtags and emoticons.
Modern times have made lives busy as it is, and in these busy lives, instead of doing things that would actually make us grow as a person, things that would give us genuine satisfaction, we divert to things that are only momentary and very superficial.
Amongst us, there are many singers, artists, musicians, painters, writers, sportspersons, but what have we been doing lately? Liking, commenting, judging, tweeting and reposting posts from other singers, artists, musicians, painters, writers and sportspersons.
Social Media is here to stay. It’s not going anywhere, anytime soon. But this time and age, this phase of your life will. Keep that phone aside, and follow your passion.
• Social Media is making us Unsocial:
Does this sound strange to you? How can something that is meant for us to socialise be making us unsocial?
Well, here’s how:
Our actual, real and genuine interactions with people have become very limited. We have large whatsapp groups, we comment on people’s pictures from years back and we fire up a post with our opinions within minutes, but when it comes to going to social gatherings, we’re least interested. We find it hard to compliment people in person, we find it hard to have a small civil conversation with them face to face.
In recent days, some pages on Facebook are famous for posts that make us very socially aware, and we, like good Facebookers, share them or comment them, helping the good Samaritan in gaining due popularity.
But do we do so in real life?
We share loads of inspiring stories about acid attack victims, but how many of us would actually go and speak to them if we see them in the same bus or the same metro?
Our interactions are only limited to social media these days. What we know of our relatives and what they know of us is also through our recent Facebook check-ins. While this is surely a very economical way of staying connected and updated, this is also leading us into isolation and is driving us away from social etiquettes, manners, the art of confrontations, improvement of our body language and the techniques of creating first impressions.
• Social Media is turning us into attention seekers:
Yes, another implicit evil that social media is driving us towards is that it is turning us into very attention seeking people, that too, without our knowledge.
Anything that we ( at least most of us) post on these platforms, we do so with the hopes of gaining a lot of likes, comments, praises and reposts. Do we post about how our parents cook for us every day? No, right? Then why do we post about that one day when we fed a street dog?
With the recent budding trend of Snapchat, we’ve all known someone who will make it a point to send you a picture of whatever he/she is eating, be it at a roadside vender or at some five star hotel (beware: if you don’t know someone like that, you COULD be someone like that!). Is that not seeking attention of the world towards what you’re eating so that they could judge you on the basis of it? You’re cool enough to have roadside food in times of cafes and restaurants, or you’re sophisticated and rich enough to afford five star hotels…
Am I right or am I right?
• Social Media is Changing/Shaping Our Opinions:
While this may not sound like a serious threat at the surface of it, it comes off as more dangerous when you really think about it.
Ask yourself, how do you judge a picture of yourself? You post it on one of these platforms, and following the number of likes and comments, you decide if it’s a good picture or a bad picture, if your dress is a good one or not and so forth.
Are you not then, shaping your own opinion about your own self based on the likes/dislikes of people?
When you log on to Facebook and you see posts of people, either their photographs or their check ins or something else entirely, do you not judge them based on that?
This Personality Shaming (as I would like to call it) has gone so far that people post false information/updates on their social media just to create a fine impression.
They will post check-ins at all kinds of places just so they could portray to the world how ‘cool’ and ‘experimental’ they are with places around the city.
I am not saying that each of you reading this does this. But, I am definitely saying that each of you reading this forms opinions about people (opinions as small as a grain or as big as hills) based on what they post on their pages.
These might seem like very small things when we read them somewhere. We all would probably think, “Blah! I am sure I am not the only one. Cmon, who doesn’t do all this? How does it matter?” but what is important to know is that these small things, which only appear small at the surface, become very deep rooted over time, and make us start living pretentious lives, so much so that we’re hardly able to differentiate between a real reality and that of a virtual kind.
We’re all sailing in the same boat, my friend. All we need is a realisation to withdraw ourselves from such deep involvement into Social Media.
Ending on this note, I would like to request all the readers to like/comment/share/repost
(YES! PLEASE NOTE THAT PUN).