With every new invention or progressive discovery in the field of science and technology, our lives become a little simpler than before. But every good has an equivalent bad lurking somewhere in the shadow. Invention of mobile phones has made our living so simple that we can’t imagine our lives without them. Forget one day, even if we are kept away from our phones for just one hour, we may grow restless and will be itching to check if anyone called, messaged or pinged. Following closely on the heels of all the convenience-benefits of the mobile phones are the side effects. Loss of hearing, loss of potency, or its ill-effects on the heart are some side effects known to all.
It is not an unknown fact that in the past three years social media has taken the world by storm; even the smaller towns and villages are not much far behind. Be it marriage invitations or baby-announcements, it all happens via social media. And someone who isn’t active online, is almost considered to be outdated. It is hard to find a single home in mega-cities to not have an internet connection; and even harder to find someone who doesn’t have either of the Facebook, Google or Twitter accounts. In fact, with convergence of all the technologies into one device called mobile phone, with the synchronization of all the accounts in to one, and with zillions of fun-applications to choose from, we no longer even have to take the pain of switching on our computers. Everything is just a mobile-click, or shall we say touch, away. And I don’t even want to start talking about Blackberry messenger or the latest craze ‘Whats app’. What could possibly be wrong with so much convenience? No longer do we have to worry about killing time while travelling. There is never a dull moment. There is news on your phone, there are e- books, there are a dozen of games to choose from, and you are plugged into your favourite music all the time. And then there is some more. There are social media apps to while away your time, to chat with near-dear friends as much as your distant friends. Lost for directions? No need to ask anyone. Trust your Google maps. Looking for an Italian restaurant? Check Smart-places app on your phone. Courtesy Google once again.
When these advancements are adding so many positives to our lives, it’s hard to notice the negatives slowly but surely creeping into our lives.
A recent survey blames Facebook for one in every five divorces. How a harmless social networking site can possibly lead to so many divorces, one may ask. Isn’t it after all just a simple, wonderful way to stay connected to your friends and relatives, Facebook devotees may argue?
Facebook is a land of temptation. It lets you live your fantasies. It lets you portray yourself in the way you want. We humans, by nature, are braggers. We want to highlight the best aspects of our lives. And Facebook lets us do that. You will hardly find any one writing about their negatives or about the ugly aspects of their lives. It’s a whole new dream world, where you are allowed to conjure make-believe stories. You get a chance to sound witty. You can share deep thoughts, which are not necessarily yours. Sharing beautiful pictures, videos, catchy quotes, jokes etc. is a mere cut-paste job. How many hundred friends you have on your list determines your popularity. How many comments and likes your statuses garner, measures your worth. You have an option of hiding your real identity completely. You may be a 60-year old in Amravati, but on Facebook you could very well be 20-year collegian form Mumbai, who parties every night and uploads his pictures without fail. Who knows?
But the problem is not with Facebook. The problem is with the user. The user who can’t seem to make a distinction between his real life and virtual life. The user who finds it important to chat with some stranger for long hours rather than spend quality time with the family. The user who can’t resist the temptation to sneak up on his/her ex-flame’s profile every now and then. And if they are still on the friend list, then chat up with them on an on-and-off basis. The problem is with the user who doesn’t understand how much is too much. The problem is with the user who can’t prioritize the necessary things in his life. The problem is with the user who can’t seem to understand that the world really doesn’t care if you just checked into a popular pub or if you just went for a shower. If you are feeling low, or if your girl friend cheated on you. The problem is with the user who lets Facebook comes in the way of all his commitments. It is with the user who changes his/her relationship status at a frequency one may change clothes. An American psychologist has invented a term for this madness; F.A.D or Facebook Disorder.
You know you should visit a shrink when,
- You can’t go without checking your Facebook account at least 7 to 8 times a day.
- Your family life is suffering because you can’t seem to let go of it.
- Your PC/mobile is conked off, and you are almost on the verge of palpitations.
- Actual socialization has reduced dramatically, because you rather socialize online from the confines of your home.
- When most of the friends on your list are strangers.
- You lose your sleep over Facebook
- When online flirting, romancing affects the desire for real romance.
In my view, the discretion on how much one should let one’s virtual life interfere with one’s real life is completely in an individual’s hand. If used in moderation and in limit, Facebook is a wonderful tool, an amazing means to stay in touch with people who otherwise are inaccessible because of any reason. So let’s take responsibility for our own actions and let’s not be in control of technology. Let us keep technology in our control. It was meant to make our life simpler and not to complicate it. Let’s not keep updating our statues with trivia like just had tea, a loves b, feeling bored, going for a shower and so on. The world is not really interested in knowing your every minute detail.
Having said all this, I would like to clarify that I am an avid user of FB myself and the intent behind writing this was not to demean FB in anyway. But I want to make an appeal to people to be a little more sensible and thoughtful about their postings. And one must not forget that information in virtual world never dies. You would never know, when your posts come back to haunt you.
I welcome your views.