By Sumit Kumar:
Social Networking may be defined as virtual digital networking platforms allowing people to get frank and socialise with others on a voluntary basis. It connects family, friends, colleagues and even foes of one, all on the same platform. It has not only revolutionised the communication among the public but has also helped in ensuring the accountability of the political fraternity and governments. The social networking websites have empowered every one of us to opine and express, people who otherwise might never have opined before such a huge audience.
All in all, one can say that social networking has given a new set of human rights to the homo-sapiens who are using it as a tool to further their evolution. But, apart from all the good things, the negative externalities of an addiction to social networking websites have added to anxiety and depression among the people.
Last year, I was at a hotel in Patna to attend my cousin’s wedding. I saw the strange but true way social networking websites impinge on our lives that very day. I saw my relatives in the age group of 18-25 chatting on WhatsApp instead of talking to each other. One of them, named Aashish, was so busy in his virtual life that he had literally forgotten that he was there to attend a wedding. He was looking more worried about posting a picture of the wedding on Facebook than enjoying the real event. He was seemingly more busy with his tabs and phones tagging all his friends to get more likes rather than enjoying the rituals and ceremonies going on in that place.
Clicking selfies has become the new version of ‘Khatron Ke Khiladi’, where reckless young boys and girls try to get their selfies at dangerous sites like hanging at the door of a moving train or in the middle of the sea to show their bravery to the Facebook community. This stupid act by many of them eventually costs them their lives and leaves their kin, especially their parents, with a lifelong state of despondency.
In the world of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, the new generation appears to be losing its touch with the real world. People have become franker on Facebook and less in the real world. I have myself witnessed many friends of mine who are extreme extroverts on social networking websites and just the opposite in the real world. I find it funny when my junior, Akash messages me to like his pictures. I find it funny thinking about the state of mind of my friend, Rohan who proudly claims the likes on his Facebook profile picture as an indication of smartness and, eventually, ends up uploading and tagging pictures on Facebook on a regular basis. Not to mention that there is no paucity of people on social networking sites who believe that typing “Jai Hind” below the picture of a martyr is the only way to show patriotism.
Albeit the percentage of this category of people seems to be minuscule, yet we cannot ignore the gravity of the addiction which has caught our generation. If not stopped, this will have huge repercussions on the coming generations, who have started using Android and Apple before their milk teeth are replaced with permanent ones. We will have to make the people understand that Facebook, Twitter and others are just a facilitators to interaction and not a replacement for them.