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In today’s digital age, social media has become an integral part of our lives. With the rise of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, we are more connected than ever before. These platforms have become a source of entertainment, information, and even education for many of us. But at what cost?
We often find ourselves asking questions like “How many likes did my post get? How many of my friends shared it? Did people find me desirable in my new sleeveless dress? How many people viewed my profile? Is it time to upload a new selfie/velfie? Should I pick up an issue that will make me insanely popular? How many crops to click on in Farmville today? How many candies to crush?” If questions like these haunt you early in the morning and through the day, chances are that social media has started turning you into a village idiot.
We’re not saying this, scientists are. And that too in the reputed Journal of the Royal Society Interface. The journal says that while the instant access to information and interaction is making us feel smarter (because we get answers easily), in reality it is making us dumber by robbing our powers of concentration, contemplation, and reflection.
Consider the following facts: The majority of social media users are teens. Teens usually learn and fumble their way into adulthood when they become more sure of themselves. Instead of learning something new, or engaging in physical activity or something productive, Indian teens gather on Facebook, share their photos and posts and spend a lot of time on unproductive activities that do nothing to help their intellect or physical well-being.
Working adults mostly use social media during work hours. This distracts them from the work at hand and either makes them deliver low quality or delayed jobs. In either case, it’s a no-brainer that social media makes Indian workers unproductive and the nation poorer.
Social media is live and kicking 24/7 and you have access to it all the time — on your PC, when you are mobile, in the cafe, while travelling, in your loo, while resting at home, etc. The effects are showing. Let’s face it, most urban Indians are addicted to social media. Such addiction cannibalises free time and has the potential to disrupt sleep, kill confidence, build stress and inject an unpleasant attitude.
Social media is not just about making friends, sharing and reading. It is about gaining appreciation. It has made narcissists out of many Indians, and many more are in the pipeline. The selfies, velfies and the regular photos are all put there to garner likes and shares and eventually earn some praise. These shenanigans can actually end up making us air-headed and shallow. It screws up our language skills. It makes us communicate, most of the time, from our devices instead of a physical 1-1. Our attention spans have gone flying out of the window.
Facebook and Twitter have turned many of us into beings with the attention span of a Pokemon character. Many posts, especially the political ones, have turned us into intolerant, raging bulls. If we see something that goes against our opinion, we shower it with our verbal puke. Check any political post or Twitter account and you’ll know what I mean.
Provocation and controversies work like a magnet on all social media networks. Many online magazines have become sleeper hits ever since they started courting controversy and provocation. Think about what this can do to your personal growth over the long term — you’ll end up being a negative person, prone to condemning everything in sight or mind.
Most of the information put out there on Facebook and Twitter is either fake, biased or motivated.
In conclusion, social media has become an integral part of our lives, and we cannot ignore its impact on our productivity and intellect. While it has its benefits, it is important to recognize its negative effects and take steps to avoid them. As the saying goes, everything is in moderation, and the same applies to social media. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through feeds and obsessing over likes and shares, we should use it as a tool to connect with others, learn something new, or promote our business or brand.
There are many ways to use social media productively, such as following educational pages, joining groups related to our interests, and connecting with industry experts. By doing so, we can expand our knowledge and skills, and even find opportunities for personal and professional growth. We can also use social media to stay informed about current events, share our opinions, and engage in meaningful discussions.
However, to avoid the negative effects of social media, it is important to set boundaries and limit our usage. We should prioritise our work, hobbies, and relationships over social media and avoid using it as a substitute for real-life interactions. We should also be mindful of our privacy and security, and avoid sharing personal information or engaging in risky behaviours online.
In conclusion, social media is not inherently good or bad, and its impact on our lives depends on how we use it. It is up to us to make conscious decisions about our social media usage and use it in a way that adds value to our lives. By doing so, we can avoid becoming a village idiot and instead become smarter, more productive, and more fulfilled individuals.