As time has gone by, we, as a human race, have progressed more and more by the day. But, has this progress only been for the good? Everything has pros and cons, without exception. Therefore, we cannot say that progress always happens for the better. After all, there are some major drawbacks in today’s way of life and technological trends.
With the advent of the technological era (in which we live today), our biggest loss has been that of human connections. Today, social media seems to have taken precedence over our real lives. It’s no longer as much about the ‘quality of life’ as it is about its appearance on social media. Be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social networking site, a person’s value changes based on their hold on a social media platform. ‘Popularity’ is what everyone seeks on social platforms, even though they may have none in real life.
It has made people lonelier than ever before – and many are yearning for the kind of human connections they used to share before social media took over their lives. They are yearning for a time when people would talk to their friends in person or go to theatres to watch movies, or when children would jump around, play in the mud and get their clothes dirty. This was a time when the quality of the spoken language held a certain amount of class, and there was no ‘SMS language’.
Obviously, social media is not bad. After all, it connects people the world over. You could have friends in any part of the world, stay in touch with them and be involved in their lives. But we have let this take up the best part of our lives in such a way that we are letting it control us, rather than us controlling it.
It is good to be connected to people living halfway across the globe, but can we let these relationships define us? Can we let our virtual contacts exist as the only contacts, or, do we also need physical contacts with our fellow human beings living and sharing spaces around us? Do we really know these individuals? Do we really know the people we live with – be it family, friends or relatives?
The internet has opened up new realms for us. It has also made the world a smaller, more compact place by breaking cultural barriers and introducing us to the lives and traditions of different people all over the world. As wonderful as this is, it has also become a reason for mimicking and merging different lifestyles which have affected our population, often negatively in many ways.
For instance, in a country like India, exposure to the western world is, in many ways, more of a setback than anything else, especially since a majority of the country is still living in the past. This is especially true for people from rural backgrounds – and a sudden blow of modernity is not something they can often handle.
With more than half of India’s population having their roots in rural areas, it is to be expected that many of them will feel lost. While some eventually learn to adjust to the new ways of life, others fail to recover from their older habits and perceptions. When such people move from villages to big cities like Delhi or Mumbai, it is a ‘cultural shock’ for them when they see something as common as women openly fighting and arguing with men, or seeing women dressed in a manner they may consider ‘disturbing’. It is this lack of education and exposure to the modern world that may force them into extreme actions, and even criminal activities.
With the current rush to be a part of the most popular social networking sites, most people are getting disconnected from each other. It is one thing to portray a happening and colourful life on Facebook or Instagram, but a completely different thing to be living that life in real. In my opinion, if what we are portraying is really true, I don’t think we will really have the time to update it all on these platforms, or care for what people think about what we are doing.
These desires are often a result of loneliness and the absence of ‘real people’ in our lives. This ‘show-off’ attitude is kicking in, which is, in my opinion, nothing other than people saying, “I am bored and would like some interaction with my social media friends, which will fill the absence of real friends in the real world.”
Therefore, it is important that we are able to detach ourselves from social media, at will. This should not be an addiction, and this can only come by a self-realization of the harm it is causing us – in the sense that we are wasting, or rather, killing time in these places.
I agree that many of us today are starting or expanding business or professional skills through this medium, as it is the most effective and the fastest place to get a response. All the same, we should know where to draw the line.
By investing time in a long-forgotten hobby, or catching up with old friends, or spending time with family, we can end a day being way more satisfied with our lives, rather than peeking into other people’s lives and having the false belief that our life is not as fruitful as that of the rest of the world.
Featured image used for representative purposes only.