By Tawseef Ahmad Mir
“Social media is something of a double-edged sword. At its best, social media offers unprecedented opportunities for marginalized people to speak and bring much needed attention to the issues they face. At its worst, social media also offers everyone an unprecedented opportunity to share in collaborative outrage with reflection (Roxane Gay)”.
Imagine the last time you spent a whole day without checking your Facebook news feed or WhatsApp chat box. Can’t remember? Same is the condition with me. The world we live in, is world full of posts, likes and follows, pokes. We live in the age where communicating has taken on a whole new meaning. The social media era has altered the way we talk, share information and especially our life style. Some find this to be a good development, while others think a little differently. When you think about it, if everyone is using social media, it must be a good thing. Social networks allow us to get information across communities, and even countries, quicker, faster than ever before. One can send a message one second and it is being received the next.
Most of the households living in this digital era have access to mobile phones and various types of computer technology used to connect to others on the internet. Social media has effectively reduced global communication barriers. There are a lot of positives with the emergence of social media networks in the present era. We can now connect with others overseas without any hindrance, sharing our thoughts and ideas to a worldwide people, to an individual or a select group of people. Writers and bloggers can now share their blogs quickly and easily to a global audience. Social networking has also connected people on the national and global level for particular objectives and social causes that can lead to positive outcomes.
We can not only share our own ideas but also share other people’s ideas making advertising on social networks which is ideal for business marketing. Business advertising has the capability of reaching to general public further than ever before through the many platforms that are available to choose from. Social media advertising allows the sharing of videos, memes and graphic art, images, infographics and much more to express the hidden talent. We can also purchase goods and services online through different sites. In the field of education, social media is playing a vital role. Online education has been made possible. Children living in remote areas can now study from home using Skype, YouTube and various other social networking sites which allow for visual face to face communication and contact with other humans outside of their homes. Students are able to make contact with experts from all over the globe. The option of free and paid education is now at our fingertips.
But, even with the ability to see what someone in other part of the world is doing while you’re in your living room in Kashmir, there are still a few drawbacks to the world of social networking. While most people use Facebook, this doesn’t mean it’s an inherently goo. With communication methods quickly altering, it brings up the issue of the way we are connecting with people. We have lost a sense of intimacy in our generation with this new way of conversation. If we have to tell someone something at any point in time, we text them instead of approaching them directly.
If there is an issue with a friend or relative, most of us are going to text them about what’s wrong, instead of being with them physically. It seems the most pressing dilemma is wasting time on our phones looking at what other people are doing or posting, instead of focusing on what we are doing. Don’t get me wrong, I am the fish of the same pond, but it has become so much harder to focus on what you’re doing in the moment without checking to see what someone else is doing at the same time. We have the blessing of sharing information at the drop of a hat to the whole world, but there also exists the curse of killing our time following others, which makes us forget to enjoy the moment we are in ourselves. There are benefits and drawbacks, positives and negatives. In the end, it is the balance of finding a way to keep up with others, but remembering to live our own life at the same time. Don’t let yourself to be the person who finally looks up from their screen to find they missed all the fun that they could have had. Comparing both the positive and negative aspects of social media, we need to think whether social media a bane or boon to modern society?
The author is a research scholar of Botany at the Jiwaji University Gwalior. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org