First of all to begin with, let me admit that I am a Facebook addict, just like a lot of other people of my generation (actually of every generation now). And not just Facebook but an Instagram, Pinterest, WhatsApp and BBM addict too. Honestly I do not wish to be but I am well, helpless.
Now it is a well appreciated fact that we are living in an age of social networking. The number of social networking and instant messaging applications these days is just too high and further growing up every day. But is the term “social network” justified? Or we are living in an illusion and it is actually a huge irony. I think it’s more of an irony. Larger the number of social networking websites and smartphone apps the less connected we are becoming with the real world and with the real people. Strange it may seem.
What is basically a social networking tool supposed to do? To connect us with people and keep in touch with those who are not exactly near us. But what are we really using it for? To create a virtual identity and getting so engrossed in it that we are quickly breaking ties from the real world. We are making friends over the internet but how often do we have a face to face conversation with our friends? More than we emphasize on improving our personality and working on our hallmarks and flaws we are worrying about which picture to put as the display image and how to get maximum “likes” on it.
Talking about myself, I have this pathetic habit of checking my news feed like every 30 minutes. Expecting that there would appear something new and interesting over it and hoping that I don’t miss out on any important or simply hilarious (useless) tit bit, be it status updates, pictures or stupid memes. And I also happen to check out my entire contact list’s WhatsApp and BBm display picture (DP’s) at least once a day. Because as I said I do not want to miss on anything. Now don’t you think seeing friends in real every once in a while shall be way more important than looking at their display picture and “liking” it? But that’s how we all are becoming. We may or may not be bothered by spending time with our friends but we do want to be the first one to look at their newly uploaded album on internet. We may or may not be physically present at their life’s important moments but we do want to get the online updates about it. And with so much photo-sharing apps out there it is just becoming plain annoying.
Earlier we were confined to witness the incredible world of www. only in the comfort of our homes over a computer or a laptop. But thanks to everyday advancing technology we now carry it with ourselves 24-7. At first it seems like so convenient but on a deeper level there is much more wrong to it than right. Now we go to lunch with our friends but more than we talk to each other we are engrossed in our phones. Checking out that important Email, a quick browsing of news feed, liking a picture or two, taking a couple of calls, replying to your Uncle’s cousin’s best friend’s sister because everything inside your phone is so much more important than the people sitting in front of you.
Is this socially connecting? Or just a layout for generating a stock of retards who cannot talk to people in real, spend time with them but can virtually socialize with 1000 other retards over some retarded social network.
We may term it “social network” but neither are we becoming social in any sense and nor are we networking. All that is happening is just drifting apart. Friendships and relationships are being based on a 120 character tweet, you do not probably love your best friend enough unless you declare that love online by tagging them in a 500 word long BFF speech and put up DP’s with them every Saturday night and you are just not social enough if you do not have more than 500 people on your friends list, leave alone not having an online account (OMG! How are you surviving?!). Give me a break! Can we all just please focus a little more on what is happening around us than what is happening over the internet? Be a little more considered about the people sitting next to us than those sitting miles away in front of a computer screen? Work on refining and enhancing ourselves than maintaining a charming virtual identity?
I know it is easier said than done but let’s start with putting our phones down when we are with family or friends. Consider sharing important news first with our dear ones and then decide whether we need to update it online for thousand others to see or not and analysing how people perceive ourselves when they meet us and what can we do to revamp those perceptions. Live and enjoy moments together and share laughter rather than status updates. Only then maybe we can get a little more socially connected.