We are living in a world; surrounded by voices, talk, sensations, experiences and we now have our online experiences to add to it. Social Media has become indispensable in people ‘s lives. We are living separate lives on it- connecting, bonding, networking, discussing and sharing views and thoughts. It is attractive, addictive, delusional, illusionary and highly distractive, yet it is vital, necessary for the human narrative and discourse; through the alternate media, we are getting to hear voices and thoughts we were not exposed to before; hence, so many systems consider social media as a threat to their hegemony, if not controlled.
Yet, what about the other side? I have made many wonderful friends on social media in the past few years. I have met all my soul mates on them, through the exchange of thoughts and connections. We feel deeply happy and get dependent on them. And when we meet them in real, we take it to the next level. But what if we are not able to meet them in real? we interact with them on line, form bonds, plan to meet and never able to meet owing to some or other reason? But what if something more deadly intervenes such as severe illness or death which takes that person away from us? We stay in a bonded-yet-unbonded state. A bond which was there, alive but which was not extended to completion. How painful can that be?
Nowadays, there are three reasons which are compelling me to keep away from social media beyond a limit:one is the seemingly vacuous daily nothings exchanged online, which in small amounts is fine but when it becomes a daily habit is energy and time draining; the unending politicisation of discourse which has created unlimited negativity on the medium and an observer finds the aggressive interactions and exchanges draining and pointless; a third is the fact ( now being realised) that every connection needs investment of time, energy and love, just like in real life; there is nothing called virtual relationships or friendships online; just because the medium is a virtual one, does not make the exchange of thoughts and the meeting of minds artificial. I have made wonderful friends, have lost a precious friend to death who I could never meet in real and now it seems I may lose another, whom I had hoped to meet sometime. These three traits are not much different from real life experiences. An active online life can be as stressful as the real world.
So, having a vital, social media life requires the same kind of precautions and taking care of oneself, as is required in real life. One needs balance, space, and care of oneself to the utmost. One needs to be careful to not get sucked into the immense drama that is 24 hours ongoing on the social media platforms. Friendships should be few and nurtured; invest in those who you really, really connect with; It is humanely not possible to be friends with everyone who is online. Ideally, it would be great if you can use SM for a purpose such as professional purpose and for creative/expression purposes- but there also there are issues, not everyone is comfortable with the way you choose to express and you may expect to face criticism and the attitude of people who cannot stand you. A thick skinned mind and heart is very essential for making the best of social media ( if you are not using it for a professional purpose, that is).
Social Media is a gift and blessing; it can thrill but can also kill, if you are not careful!