Op-Ed: (Anti-) Social Media

| January 31, 2017

“Hey there, what’s your username or handle?” is perhaps one of the most if not the most common way nowadays to socialize with people. You find a random person, like their face, sense of humor, or anything of that sort and boom — you ask their name on Facebook and add them. At least, that’s the case if you don’t know the person at all; if you have mutual friends with the person in question, then these mutual friends become invaluable “friend-finders” to make the connection. It’s common to find friend requests from people you may have just met once or twice or perhaps even seen at some party while hanging out with your friends.

The internet indeed has spun its own web of networking within the cyberweb, making it a reality to network with people in a much easier fashion and making it possible to stay in touch with people from various corners of the earth. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat; these are perhaps the most famous mobile apps and will be found on almost every person’s phone.

While there are numerous advantages of being so active on the virtual world, are we perhaps failing to see the more than obvious short coming of this two-edged sword?

Social is defined as an informal social “gathering”; there was a time where gathering very obviously meant people being physically present, unlike now where people “gather” online on social networking sites to chat with each other. Is “social networking” perhaps killing the social? Human beings are known to be social beings, but does that statement still hold? To put forth an example, I need not look far. Walk down the road, take the bus, metro, watch people walk down corridors; anywhere and everywhere you can see people of all ages engrossed into their 6 inch screens. While the internet has given us the power to have the world in our pals, it has perhaps in many ways enclosed our social boundaries to within our palms.

While the power of social networking does benefit those who are socially awkward, introverts, or shy by letting them convey their thoughts and feelings in a way that does not put them on the spot, repeated and constant reliance on the power of virtual networking enslaves us. We take the easy way out and many a times form a split personality without realizing. One persona is our real self, the person we are in the real world. We may be shy in public or have some certain interests we are too shy or embarrasses to convey, online interaction save us from the embarrassment of seeing how the other person reacts. This over-reliance on social networking in many ways is making man more of a recluse.

While one may confidently chat or flirt online, the same person will stutter and stammer upon meeting the person in the real world. This can lead to further disappointment, perhaps you have a much “cooler” and vibrant personality online, one that has a good sense of humor, effuses confidence and the real social interactions shatters that dream.

In today’s fast-moving world, where people seem to barely find time to squash in 3 meals a day, social networking does help us in saving time and effort in finding a friend online and if we do like the person we are free to inform the same. While the upside is so apparent for us to see, we must not neglect the flip side of the fast growing and gripping “social” problem. We must remember that we all do still have lives outside our phones and off social networking.

Los Angeles resident Albert Borrero tries his pair of Spectacles shortly after they went on sale in November 2016. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Los Angeles resident Albert Borrero tries his pair of Spectacles shortly after they went on sale in November 2016. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

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Category:Opinion, Society and Identity, Student Life

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