Social networking is a booming industry today. Why is it that billions, literally billions of people who have Internet access are on some sort of social media platform? Is it because of the term ‘quick and free popularity’, that a particular age group is constantly checking their mobile phones to see how many followers or likes they are getting? Or is it because it is too entertaining that we can easily spend a couple of hours and still think that we didn’t scroll through enough?
Well, partly the above statements could form a reasonable argument. But the actual reason is something different. Its loneliness. Yes..Whenever we are lonely, meaning whenever we get too dependent on others for our happiness or have a fear to lose people, we turn towards social media, whenever something bad or good happens, we immediately turn towards social media to share, in a hope that, someone out there, not through a physical contact, will keep their hand on our back and listen to our voice and will say..”well done!” Or, “hey congrats!” Or, “wow man you are a stud!” Or, “O don’t you worry pal.. everything will be alright!” These words of sympathy and care and friendship are all good but nothing happens after that. Everyone scrolls down through the posts, double taps the picture or comments to wish and that’s all done.
As soon as we logout after the next few minutes, we somehow wish to have that virtual contact so badly that we again login to see if someone has given a like or said something about what we just posted or expressed. This hope somehow feels so real that it finally becomes an addiction and thus whenever something happens with us, around us, or around the world, we first turn up to social media to express our enthusiasm or sorrow but then the result turns up to be, zero execution.
Recently I tried to gather my school mates for a casual get together. So, I sent out messages to everyone, first they agreed to meet, but then later on started to give some lame excuses and one by one, from a list of around 15, nobody turned up. You know these things are normal, but actually they are not! Not because there was really some important motive behind not coming, but then at the back of the mind there’s this thought that, ‘somewhere on some social media platform, we are all connected and seem to see each other most often, like, on a daily basis’. So why to meet and hang in and waste our time? Let’s just have a chat on WhatsApp or facebook and ‘hey.. by the way, I know what you are doing now, where you are and how you are…you are doing totally fine! Right?’
My mom and dad still go to meet their friends, my grandfather used to meet his friends even at the age of 75, and their group wasn’t small. Weren’t they busy all these years? Yes they were, but these relations lasted for that span of time because of that physical or the face to face talk which helps to connect more and to understand better. We just have forgotten the culture of meeting and the reason’s not the work we do or the fast paced life we are living in, but rather it is that loneliness which is cured only when we go on some social media platform, but not when we meet face to face. Such an irony it is.
I have had almost 900+ friends on FB and only three of us meet regularly, one of which not being on any social media. The talks we have, the discussions we carry, the advice we share is so lively and connected that our cure lies in meeting in the real. I mean you cannot have that physical contact with your girlfriend or boyfriend through social media. You meet, you gossip for a long time, have fun which gives you those magical moments, all better than just merely typing a few words and not knowing the emotions that the person is going through and after all just pretending to care.
The irony is that I have hundreds and thousands of friends and “followers” but only a handful are in that ‘hey let’s have a talk’ list. Then why should I waste scrolling through those thousands of posts by everyone lying around?
Point being, social media is a great tool to stay connected, but just to stay “connected” and not to stay “bonded”, there’s a difference. If we can spend hours using social media, even if we are literally in some busy situation, then why can’t we take a few minutes of our lives and meet the people personally and ask them what they are really going through? Why do we need some festival or some special occasion to meet someone? Or is it just that when people are finally on their deathbed, we will understand the importance of meeting in reality?