This is a radical article title, i agree but as a social media affecionado and quasi activist which i believe every person should be if he has undergone college. I spend a lot of time on social media thanks to my Blackberry and having lived alone for the past few years of my life, Social Media platforms have been a loneliness killer after work. Social Media is fun and has loads of positives- network with colleagues, connect with long lost friends from varied geographies and collaborate across distributed work system to synergise with the best minds.
I have friends all across the world and Social Media truly is a blessing in that respect to keep in touch. I remember a short twitter worthy poem by Pritish Nandy on Twitter itself in his new poetry book which if if i paraphrase it correctly goes something like this- Why do i need followers on Twitter, only to kill my solitude away one by one. This line spoke to me like a clarion call.
Social Media is truly electronic narcotics, addictive to the hilt. I went on a digital fast during my very brief trip to South East Asia recently and experienced a new experience of bonding with my friends when I am in the real world, dealing with flesh and blood and not pixels and bytes. Ever since Hi5, and Orkut and the Facebook phenomenon, we are bonding with people superficially as people prefer to meet online even if they are next door neighbors. I think that is the malaise, people are addicted to their little smart phone or tab screens, doing a flurry on online activity even when the fellow traveler on the MRT needs your help.
We are addicted to the life within the cyber world or the matrix which we have ensconced ourselves in. The virtual world is only an extension of the idiosyncrasies of the real world, sometimes even more than the real one. We have virtual personas to feed, manicure and gloss over. I put my best looking pics as my display pics, i am guilty of the same act too. An act such as unfriending a person on Facebook can have real world implications. It hurts, like someone hurling insults in the real world. Social Media is an unforgiving beast, reputations take time to build but get demolished in equal quick time too.
Social Media is a reality. But this reality is fleeting at best as any other reality. Time for a rethink and get some real world folks to hang out with.