LONELY PLANET

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Your worth is not measured in ‘likes’, comments, notes or followers; but in your ability to love, keep comments to yourself, take note and lead

Urooj Fatima

Urooj Fatima

A post-graduate in Media Governance from Jamia Millia Islamia and a budding journalist, she writes on gender and minority issues. She is philosophical, pensive, reclusive and broods on deeper questions of life. At the same time, she also loves to travel and reads voraciously

Mother’s Day on Social Media:

“Love my mother. She is the best. Thank you so much for everything.” And there goes the selfie.

Reality at home:

Mother: “Beta, pocha laga de kamar dukh rahi hai. (Child, please mop the floor. I have a terrible back pain)”

Girl: “Mummy main busy hun (mumma, I am busy)”, and then royally goes back to “flaunt” the love on her Facebook page.

Your mother does not care about your posts. Nobody does. But she will care about the small help you do at home.

And this has become the life of almost every person nowadays. Everything is about flaunting, putting out on post whether you mean it not. But just because it is in a trend we will follow.

Reality is far away from what is being portrayed on social media these days. Earlier the case was slightly different, so much fakeness was not there on the social platform. It was used as a medium for connecting with your loved ones in distant places. Now, social media is all about hatred, abuses, trolling, religious war, jealousy, putting your fake self out there just for the sake of showing you are doing better than the rest of the people on your account.

Though social media promises freedom, increased communication and more liberty yet, the reality is that the more meaningful messages are increasingly downed by the drone of banalities. The government uses it to avoid real communication with people and it becomes so difficult to filter the good from the bad. The challenge of the modern day is increasingly about quality control, quality newspapers have never been more important, especially when so many are becoming imitations of Buzz feed and worse.

Clearly, this is a double-edged sword, but social media has provided a platform for the voiceless and disenfranchised. Blogs are still relevant but the sheer volume of blogs drowns the voices of those speaking of injustice. I like being able to read unedited, unprompted, and unfiltered thoughts as well as highly curated articles. Social media today is like a one-stop shop, everything under one roof. Instead of a walk to various outlets, meeting different people as you go, hearing different voices, there are too many unknowns and uncertainties, too much-unfiltered information, too messy and expensive to keep track of.

Surfing the internet in the 1990s, as quoted by many people, would be spending hours clicking on links to see where one would land. Hours later, you would read pages as diverse as European economy and digital multi-tracking. Surfing the internet today is more akin to hacking your way through a jungle of trite nonsense of likes, trivia and celebrity.

Unsure World

Instead of praying, we take a picture of the food first; instead of facing our problems, we tend to post them on social media. Instead of talking to the person concerned privately, we do social media shaming. People wanting instant gratification from the ‘likes’ and praises they get in social media, thus, they tend to do horrendous things just to be famous; Like filters, people pretend to be someone they are not; People want to fit in. The need for a sense of belongingness is so visible; Less talking personally. Less interaction; The courtship has become easy access; People’s life has been so overly public. Privacy is very important; Social media has been the haven of judgment; People don’t want to be themselves anymore.

Social media has made people think differently as a person. It made them more anxious, I think.

The same technology that allows a shy girl to reach out to the world can also torment her with images of people having fun without her.

It follows you everywhere now. And it follows you into your bedroom. And then you get into your bed at the end of the night. And you have a choice between all of the information in the history of the world, or the back of your eyelids, which is not a great choice – between oblivion or infinity. Is there a middle ground where kids can exist?

The internet is hard to ignore when it’s right there in your hand. A 2018 Pew Research study says that by age 14, 94 per cent of kids have access to smartphones.

Kids who can easily chat online can sometimes have a tough time talking face-to-face.

It is fairly common for a lot of the teens, because they’ve grown really comfortable with spending a lot of time on social media and texting, but they don’t spend as much time with their friends face-to-face.

Here we have all these media that’s supposed to connect us; is it making us lonelier, in a way, especially kids?

Anti-Social

Let me build a scene in front of you. Imagine you are out on a dinner with your boyfriend. You are a social media fan. Now read on.

The dessert comes.

First, you take a picture of the rainbow cake and share it on Instagram and Snapchat.

While you reply to the WhatsApp messages and do a Facebook check-in, an Instagram comment pops up, “You seem to be having so much fun. Red hearts. Kisses. Pink hearts. Love. Kisses.”

Of course, you are having fun you are hanging out with your best apps.

You do not look at the person (your boyfriend) sitting across the table.

While you are on a virtual high he is trying to be busy by checking out his social media.

If he asks if you liked the cake, you say: “Didn’t you check out my Instagram update? Duh, I said I loved it.”

How could social media be so engraved in anyone? That is not how humans evolved. Or are we constantly high on the dopamine?

The likes and comments and hearts and shares on our social media activity release dopamine in our body which makes us happy.

People who are not on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are ridiculed. People wonder how could you not know that a latest Badshah video went viral on Facebook.

Not using these mediums is socially unacceptable today. I once called up a friend and she asked me if everything was okay. Why did I call her out of the blue?

A decrease in human interaction and an increase in virtual connections — push us into loneliness. This intrusion of virtual connection estranges our human relationships.

We are living in an isolation that would have been unimaginable to our ancestors, and yet we have never been more accessible.

More friends on Facebook and a high number of virtual social interactions make us feel that we are friends with a lot of people and are connected but the quality of those connections and friendships is what is important.

The Past

The origination of social media started with the Internet. It evolved, in part, thanks to GeoCities, Blogger and Napster. It then turned eerie with Craigslist, and then gained some smarts back with the emergence of Wikipedia. Friendster gave social a Second Life, and LinkedIn came along with a custom-tailored suit for the people who wanted to be social Like a Boss. MySpace ruled the world, together with the Fugees, and we were lost from the weblog. Then Facebook came and turned social media global. YouTube did to social media what TV did to radio. Suddenly birds weren’t the only species all a-Twitter.

Soon, social networks were being counted in the hundreds, with user bases in the tens of millions. By the hundreds of millions.

The first recognizable social media site, Six Degrees, was created in 1997. It enabled users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. In 1999, the first blogging sites became popular, creating a social media sensation that’s still popular today.

After the invention of blogging, social media began to explode in popularity. YouTube came out in 2005, creating an entirely new way for people to communicate and share with each other across great distances.

By 2006, Facebook and Twitter both became available to users throughout the world. These sites remain some of the most popular social networks on the Internet. Other sites like Tumblr, Spotify, Foursquare and Pinterest began popping up to fill specific social networking niches.

Today, there is a tremendous variety of social networking sites, and many of them can be linked to allow cross-posting. This creates an environment where users can reach the maximum number of people without sacrificing the intimacy of person-to-person communication. We can only speculate about what the future of social networking may look in the next decade or even 100 years from now, but it seems clear that it will exist in some form for as long as humans are alive.

Fake News

Until recently, there was news and “not news” as denoted by comments of “that’s not news” below the line on more light-hearted stories or features. Now there is “fake news”. Social media is probably the largest proprietor of “fake news.”

The fact of the matter is… as we already know, social media is a powerhouse. And it is that “powerhouse” that is taking the world of politics to new nadirs; including trends like fake news!

And Facebook holds the most responsibility for the intake of fake news.

And while the evolution of Facebook is certainly a discussion for another day, the one key thing to note is the influx of news consumption on the platform. People are becoming more and more dependent on various social media platforms predominately Facebook when it comes to consuming their daily news, both locally and globally.

The fairytale that is quick consumption doesn’t necessarily mean what we are reading is factual. Um… hello, just because you saw it online doesn’t make it true. However, one thing is for certain, in these uncertain times: Fake news is starting to make us question now more than ever the validity of what we see and read.

A major MIT study on fake news found misinformation spreads much faster and further than the truth on Twitter. The researchers suggested that people feel a stronger sense of surprise and disgust at the fake news, which makes them more likely to share it. The findings make depressing reading as politicians around the world grapple with how to educate people about determining fake news and the truth. Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are under big pressure to do more to stop the spread of fake news.

Social media is in a state of constant (growth) flux. It’s so intertwined with popular culture, entertainment and television that sometimes it’s hard to figure out where we saw what. News breaks on Twitter before cable news channels get the scoop, and live streams on Ustream and Google+ Hangouts are already fired up by then.

New networks dream of being big. Creating the next big app or social network is the new 15 minutes of fame, because nowadays everyone has the ability to create her or his own 15 minutes of fame. The tools are there. The reach is there. The money is there.

Social media has been boomed up in 2018 and has been in media all over the year. And, we have already presumed the game-changing things going to be in 2019.

It has been very clear to the open world that Social Media is not optional anymore, it is a necessity. It is a necessary platform for an individual as well as for company or

organisation.

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