Why I thought of writing about this topic is very simple. Right about now when I switched my laptop on, the first thing I did was switch on my wireless connection and type facebook.com on the chrome’s address bar. I’ve been on Facebook for the past 6 years now, and despite of how I’m not very active on it anymore, it’s always the first thing I open when I switch my laptop on. However Facebook has lost its charm now. Like Orkut and Hi5 did years ago, but it has had a far longer life than most other social networking websites. Twitter is buzzing high right now, with all the celebrities tweeting about their day to day affairs, and a gazillion people following their extremely regular tweets with their eyes glued to their screens.
Not only websites, social networking is right in the grasp of our hands now with the instant messaging apps which are practically no less than social networking websites in their functioning and their connectivity and reach. WhatsApp, Line, BBM, Telegram; I’ll run out of names to write if I had to list down all of them, the networking space is practically that flooded with these applications. Apart from social networking, there’s professional networking via sites like Linkedin, which are no less than the regular social networking web sites. Now I’m not here to tell you what all there is in the social networking space because you’re all probably far better equipped in that area than I am. But the effect of social networking in our lives is so massive and evident that it deserves some recognition I guess. My family members, like even the distant ones have created this group on WhatsApp where they constantly keep sending riddles and jokes and pictures of the places they’re visiting, or their kids and celebrations etc. In fact today, when I woke up in the morning and checked my phone, it had pictures of my Aunt on the Airport on that group. She had taken ‘selfies’ at the airport to surprise the rest of my relatives. (She was flying down from another city today to surprise everyone). I’ll be very honest here. The moment I saw the pictures, my head was practically spinning. It was the last thing I had expected from my Aunt. But apparently everyone in my family has gone really modern in my absence so I’ve more surprises in store for me I guess.
Not that I feel any less annoyed by the constant chit chatting, which for me is more like spamming on that group, I HAVE to appreciate how well connected everyone is thanks to it. You can find your long lost friends on facebook and have a nice casual chat online. You could probably even go ahead, get their numbers and maybe fix a date to meet up.. As a matter of fact, Facebook is how I got in touch with my today best friend. It was the result of one night of spamming his facebook wall, and we’ve been best friends for over 3 years now. Social media is so fast, the cutting edge technology has taken us far ahead in terms of connectivity and data sharing than we could have imagined merely ten years back. Let alone meeting old friends, it’s such a great space to meet new people. I have become friends with god knows how many people through it. Not that they were totally unknown, But I don’t think I would’ve managed to actually get to know them as well as I do today if it wasn’t for all these instant messaging apps or these websites. People fall in love over Facebook apparently, which is beyond my comprehension because in no frame of mind do I see that happening to myself but well, love is blind. In fact, over the virtual space now, love doesn’t have to be blind at all. You have pictures all over a person’s profile and you can stalk them all you want, provided obviously their privacy settings permit you to do that.
But there’s access to so much information about a person that you almost feel like you’ve known them in person. You find your common friends, common interests.The whole idea of networking is to basically cut across regional cultural and physical barriers and help people with mutual interests, ideas etc. communicate over the virtual space, and that these sites and apps do very effectively. But like all other things in the world, the virtual space isn’t free of flaws. It connects you to people away but distances you from people close by. There’s a major lack of privacy with your personal space open to invasion by one and all. They’re also very distracting, especially for teenagers who are supposed to focus on more important things in life. I, for one can’t go without WhatsApp for over a couple of days. There’s like an infinite amount of attachment I have with my cell phone now. We’re practically inseparable. Definitely there are cons to social networking, spread of cyber crime, picture morphing, unsecured information etc, but its pros are way more effective. It brings people all over the world so much closer. You don’t ever have to worry about how physically apart you are, because there are so many ways to keep in touch now, That too free of cost. It’s affordable, accessible and convenient. And however criticized it may be, it’s this generation’s way of life.