Social Media – Real or Unreal?

Merits and Demerits of Social Media

Dr. Purushothaman
December 20, 2017

I am alpha, beta gamma but not what I truly am. On social media, I show pictures - the happy ones, my events - the important ones, and my friends - probably the fake ones. The social media is not a real world where I live, where I struggle, where I act with emotions. It is only a surface where I look like a fun person who visits places and loves everyone in life.

No wonder we rarely find true friends on social media. We like the posts of friends not because we care, but because they are there and we have a virtual, unreal, and exchange oriented relationship. You like my post and I will like yours. You comment. I comment. You share. I share. But is that real? Facebook, the most popular social media platform eats our time as we connect with hundreds of friends but, are those friends for real?

Real friends are made when you have exchanged and understanding of emotions, not just words. Experts say that social media kill relationships because of this lack of emotion. The person we show up as on the social media is only our virtual self. The real self is hidden and when this is true with everyone in social media, then where will we find emotions?

Community building a grand practice on social media where people with same interests or same belief systems come together to join the group, but when it comes to actual physical meeting, you would not find a single person interested. What you get from social media is only the views of people who like your idea and those who don’t.

Social media doesn’t help us as individuals, but it does help the brands and companies targeting consumers because on the social media, we show our interest areas and we give the glimpses of the live we want to have we may not have it but we show it. Your important occasions, your demographics, and your interest areas make a rich data that can be used by companies for marketing.

What social media brings to individuals is a list of problems like:

  • As per a research done on social media users, 75% of the users are sleep deprived because of extensive use of social media

  • When social media overpowers your reality, you tend to get upset by real life situations

  • While you can chat at your heart’s content over social media, you lose your capability to communicate with people in a real scenario

  • An urge to pick up and cling to your mobile device will keep you from mingling with real people in real places

  • We only see the fab-side of the lives of people. Realities remain hidden so we know less of each other, we feel less for them, and we relate less with them

Have you ever encountered a situation where you asked your best friend on social media for help and you were let down? It has happened with most of us and the result is the unfulfilled desire of having real relations and real friends, only make us more depressed as we start to understand how fake the virtual connections on social media are. We are given five senses that connect us to each other and make us feel the emotions for each other.  How many senses do we use on social media? Just the visual! No surprise if our brains are communicating, but our hearts remain silent on social media.

Living off your computer or mobile can actually help you see the realities of life that you are nowhere close to on social media. Here are some tips that can help you use social media for good, but not become its victim:

  • Use it not as a mode of connecting but only updating or informing each other

  • While you chat with a person online, try connecting outside the desktop like over a call or a personal meeting. Anyone resisting, that is not genuinely interested in you

  • Devote a limited time for social media daily - at most an hour for personal use - anything more is addiction

  • If you are addicted to it, try reducing the time you expose yourself on social media bit by bit daily

  • Make friends outside and meet them. While you meet them, keep your phone on silent or on airplane mode. Once you will start enjoying the real world, the virtual world will lose its luster for you.

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