The alpha and omega of the present generation, social media has literally taken over the world. If we don’t account for every minute of our lives online, we feel like we’re aren’t living – we aren’t doing it right. Whether it’s a mediocre blueberry muffin or a trek up Mount Everest, everyone will be made aware of it.
So why is social media such an important part of our lives?
Almost like a give and take system, a friend watching my “stories” online indicates my need to watch hers. To know what she is doing or what she isn’t doing. To know whether I’m having more fun or whether her life is rosier than mine. This constant need to document every facet of our day has left many feeling completely empty. I may have the most glamorous life online but in reality, I could use a little sparkle in my life. 20k followers online but no friends in reality.
Is social media a boon or a bane for the mankind?
Everything you see online isn’t true – we’ve heard this line over and over again. But with the advent of social media, this statement cannot possibly hold more ground. Filters and captions may make a person seem fabulous in every sense of the term but to judge a person from his/her picture goes against one of the very first proverbs we’ve ever learned – “do not judge a book by its cover”. And yes, this holds true for instances online as well.
There have been numerous cases of fraudulent sites and profiles urging people to meet and greet. But the one who sits at the other end of the screen is a complete mystery. There is no way of knowing who he/she may be. Of knowing his/her identity. And this has led to so many flinching stories – kidnapping, rape, murder, suicide. And unfortunately, the list goes on and on.
Online sites like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and the like constantly update privacy settings in a bid to make users feel more secure. But with the recent leak of private information, users will now have to be more on guard than ever before. Random people noting down your address and phone number doesn’t exactly scream safe, now does it?
So despite all of this, why do people still find it necessary to patronize social media to such an extent?
I can think of just one answer to this question – validation. We live in a world where validation is so important that we forget what it means to be able to judge and praise ourselves. We forget that giving ourselves a tap on the shoulder for a job well done can go a long way.
In order to truly be happy, we need to be able to look within ourselves – introspect. Have I been a good person today? Have I done the right thing? Do I need to make amends? Your Facebook friends aren’t going to make you feel better after a while. The pretty comments on your Instagram pictures will eventually come to an end. And then what?
This is when reality will kick in and you’ll be in for a rude shock. Your friends online will fail to recognize you in public and your Instagram followers will only remember you by your handle and not by your real name. And can you blame them?
So instead of waiting for this to occur, put down your phones, switch off your laptops and leave the WiFi alone. Pretend it’s 1995 and talk to each other. A real conversation with a real person sitting in front of you can make a real difference