This is the age of connectivity. Our improved communication technologies have turned the world into a global village and strengthened our ties with each other. Or so it seems. On a second thought, do these tools really bring us on the same page or do they only add to our sense of alienation and disconnectedness? Has Facebook added anything of value to our social interactions? Is Twitter really a democratic platform where everyone can air their thoughts and opinions or is it a war zone where people fight with words instead of swords? What about WhatsApp? Well, here is a list of things I don’t like about WhatsApp:
1. WhatsApp does not allow for a spontaneous interaction between two people. There is a degree of deliberation involved in communication through it. I can leave my messages unread for hours while I think of a suitable reply to them.
2. Crucial information is left out in the exchange of messages on WhatsApp. It feels less like a real conversation because the gestures, tone of voice, facial expressions, etc. of the person I am interacting with are missing. Lifeless text on a cold metal screen greets me instead of the animation of a human voice.
In a real conversation, not every comment has to be met with a reply. It can be peppered with silences indicating hesitation or confusion. Somehow silences feel more awkward on WhatsApp. Chatting on it is like playing a game with racquets where every message requires a reply. Instead of a pregnant pause, the convenient emoji comes to your rescue.
WhatsApp doesn’t come with a set of rules and etiquette of its own. Am I intruding if I check the status of someone who’s not a close friend? I yearn for a rulebook and find that there isn’t one.
Building rapport with someone over WhatsApp is tough. You appreciate someone better if you talk to them in person.
All these points lead to the question – does social media facilitate interpersonal interaction or is it a hindrance?