Caution: This piece is aimed solely towards you.
Beep. Buzz. Repeat.
Well, that’s the recursion most of our lives are stuck in. The constant notifications never leave us in peace. But then, peace of mind is too overrated, ain’t it. I have to know what’s going on in my classmate’s life whom I otherwise wouldn’t talk to or I have to find out why is everyone sending those laughing emojis in Some_Random group; something really funny must have happened. I can’t afford to be left behind. What’s the use of technology if I do not have the latest updates about anything and everything?
The fact is we have let ourselves become so habituated to technology especially the social media that without them we feel vulnerable.
No wonder social media “addiction” is now regarded as a psychological disorder. I wonder sometimes as to why it so. Why are we so attached to our phones and laptops? Why is there an urge inside us to always be online? Why do we get fidgety without a certain minimum “screen time” each day? Why have we started to give more value to people’s opinion about our very own lives? Why do we tend to measure a person’s worth with the number of likes he/she is able to gather?
Pondering upon these questions one realises that technology is seductive when what it offers, meets our human vulnerabilities. And as it turns out, we are very vulnerable indeed. We are lonely but, at the same time fearful of intimacy. Digital connections and the social media may offer the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship. Our networked life allows us to hide from each other, even as we are tethered to each other. We’d rather text than talk. Texting offers just the right amount of access. It puts people not too close, not too far, but at just the right distance. People take comfort in being in touch with a lot of people whom they also keep at bay. There is absolutely nothing wrong in this. Still, things don’t seem right, do they?
With the fascination to connect with ‘friends’ online comes the risk of disconnection with friends waiting for us to be present in the offline world. Give it a thought. When we are actually going downhill in our lives who will be there to pull us back, the real friends or the virtual ones? We on the other hand sometimes tend to give more importance to connections over relationships. Taken that we are lonely sometimes and the network seems fascinating. But if we are always on, we may deny ourselves the rewards of solitude. We expect more from technology and less from each other.
“As we distribute ourselves, we may abandon ourselves.”
Have we not recently put too much stock in others’ awareness and approval of our very own lives and faces. A picture may say a thousand words, but most of them today just plead, “Please Like Me.” The truth is, the like we earn from a picture we post on the internet is only a like of our physical image. Not all those who click “like” truly know us, even if we title the photo “soul.jpg.” Only a few people actually care about us, the rest are just curious. And it is not their flaw. We humans cannot care and treat everyone in the same manner. Some are friends and some are just connections. Accepting the difference between them and treating them accordingly is of utmost importance for a smooth and peaceful life. It doesn’t matter how many people we have on a social networking site. What matters is how we benefited them and how we benefited from them.
We are more than our body. We are more than the person we try to portray ourselves as in front of people we meet virtually. Is our existence just defined by an username and password? It’s as if it is the password to one’s soul. We are definitely more complex than that. No ones like matter more than our own opinions and our own memories.
“The wise do not buy into other people’s perceptions of who they are and what they are capable of. Instead, they bypass a person’s public persona and see who they are in their highest expression. When you see actions taken with integrity, instead of words only, you will then know a soul’s worth.” ― Shannon L. Alder