I think everybody would agree with me when I say that social media has become an indispensable part of our day-to-day schedule, whether or not we realize it. It has practically taken over our lives, and that too in a very sneaky way. Social media, according to Wikipedia, refers to “computer-mediated tools that allow people or companies to create, share, or exchange information, career interests, ideas, and pictures/videos in virtual communities and networks.” Ostensibly for networking, what has happened is that various social media platforms have become our lifeline of sorts. We live our life more on social media than in reality. Our food does not get digested until and unless a photo of it has not been uploaded, our self-image depends on how many ‘likes’ our profile photo has gotten, and we prefer chatting on messaging apps to chatting with the person standing next to us. Of course, the food might be so good you want to prove it, your photo might be spreading a rather important message and so you want more people to see it, and the person next to you might be a creep. But the fact remains that, more often than not, we live vicariously through other peoples’ posts, least realizing that what we are seeing is only a fraction of their lives. We feel obligated to live a life larger than it actually is because we feel that other people are just having so much more fun and living a much better life in general. It is not merely networking, it is a means to judge a person’s ‘coolness quotient’- by their amount of ‘likes’, ‘followers’, and ‘favorites’, often missing out on knowing the actual person behind the profile. Not only that, it has a lot of scary facets.
Profile photos are easily downloadable, to be used at the will of the other person, cyber-crimes are plenty and widespread and cat fishing is a reality. It is, obviously, not something that should be a worry as it is the duty of the law keepers to ensure that everybody’s privacy is protected, but unfortunate events happen and a lot of people suffer. I am not saying that we should stop using social media. Never! It helps keep in touch with family and friends and to meet new people who share similar interests. But we owe it to ourselves and the people around us to make a conscious effort to live more in reality and less in the virtual world. We can easily set aside some time when we check our various profiles, and not do it constantly. I’m sure we’d all be less distracted without the constant ‘pings’ interrupting whatever we’re doing. And we’d probably feel a lot better about our lives if we don’t keep comparing it to others’. The problem is not the platform of social media, it is our dependence on it.
By Aaina Duggal
for Campus Drift