Has social media reduced distances or increased them? It’s a pertinent question and has been debated for years. Dining table conversations belong to a bygone era since all family members are glued to their smartphone screens. But it doesn’t disturb me so much because it is cutting down on the physical distance between individuals in close emotional proximity. What disturbs me is how social media is gradually changing the very psyche of our mind and making its entire purpose self-defeating.
A close friend quit the social media years ago because she was far-sighted enough to see that relations will start falling apart owing to the growing addiction to the online platforms. Facebook has become a parallel world where people meet, interact and never depart. It’s convenient because you have perennial access to a human being subjected to the frequency and duration for which they come online. This parallel world has absorbed the netizens to an extent that they don’t realize that they have a real world to tend to.
Back when I was in school, social media was a mere aid to make plans. There wasn’t this extreme degree of reliance on it that would turn us into complacent catacombs. Now, it doesn’t feel like it’s been years that I’ve met some of my school friends because hey! they are available 24*7 at my disposal. And this complacency results in us dodging strong possibilities of meeting them personally.
I’ve often been accused of embracing this dichotomy of behaving discriminately on social media and in its offline counterpart. An extrovert on Facebook compared to an introvert in real life. While I defend myself by saying,”Hey I can talk to only one person at a time in real life unless on Facebook.” But lately, I’ve realized that the same theory of detachment from the real world is instrumental in grooming this split personality of mine. While the confident `me’ on social media is sure that I can contact my Facebook “friends” anytime I want in the future, I hesitate in initiating relations offline because they (in their flesh and blood capacities) may no longer be there when I start relying on them for emotional support.
Facebook has become as real and personal as it can get. But this colonization is at a fundamental level, just a mirage. Wait, I’m not too sure about that. Are you?
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