Man is a social animal and isolation can drive them crazy. On the other hand, in today’s modern world, humans also measure happiness and personal satisfaction through achievements such as having a career, wealth and self-perception. In thriving to achieve these goals, we lose our social connections. And as the social fabric weakens, more and more people have started to feel lonelier thus becoming a norm of today’s modern world.
Here’s where social networking sites are playing the prime role. In today’s fast paced world where we are pressurized to achieve more, time has become a major constraint in meeting demands of social life. Social media technology which is easier, simpler and accessible apparently helps us to manage our social relations effectively by bringing our social connections closer virtually. However, our fantasies of substituting social life with social media have started to take a toll. We are collecting friends like postcards, not distinguishing quality from quantity and substituting the actual meaning of intimacy and friendship with exchanging photos and having online chats. In doing so, we are making unknown strangers and friends as connections at the expense of losing real conversations and thus a contradictory situation occurs where we apparently have many friends while actually being lonely.
“So what is the problem with having a conversation? It takes place in real time and you cannot control what you are going to say”. This is what Sherry Turkle, a psychologist from MIT has urged upon and brought this newly-faced dilemma in to limelight in her book as well is in her TED-Talk. Her message in the talk has also been summarized in a 4-minute video “INNOVATION OF LONELINESS”.
Texting, email and chatting, all of this can let us present the way we want us to be —rather the way we think people would see and hear us so that they like us and in return we won’t be lonely. We get to edit ourselves. Instead of building true friendship relations, we are addicted to social networking where we spend hours in making our profile and promoting our self – editing photos so we get maximum likes, choosing optimal words for our status update so that we get more and more shares and faking experiences to share something and have a long thread of comments. Instead of helping us in managing our social relations as it claims, social media is controlling not only what we do but who we are. In fear of loneliness, we are losing our real self and becoming what we think people would like. Social media offers us the pleasing illusory that we will always be heard and never be lonely.
The bottom line to all above is that we are at risk because the opposite is happening. Social media is drifting us away from those around us in to a lonelier world giving us an illusion of being always connected. However, we are actually getting lonelier even when we are together physically.
(Posted also on http://www.pakistanblogs.com)