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Being online yet not out of line

It's a long accepted fact that most of our communication today happens over Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter and the likes. The difference between a reply and a response is becoming blurry. Emoticons have replaced lengthy explanations; not to mention made it easier to convey a confused look or ecstasy over something. Whether you're feeling blue or euphoric, whether you want to cringe or ROFL at something, just click the right icon and you are sorted.

http://bit.ly/1Bz9kgz

But, not all is hunky-dory with the instant messaging world. If we aren't careful, we could fall prey to quick-sand of narcissism and impatience that throngs this world.

Haven't we all experienced the restlessness after we post something on whatsapp or FB? We wait with bated breath for that first 'like' or 'comment'. Much like the girl in this Tata Docomo Ad. The messenger Aps have made it worse by adding features that lets the person posting or sending the message know whether the message has been read by the intended person! So, depending upon which side of the message you are, you are either catching your breath waiting for that someone to respond or fuming that despite the double ticks in blue or 'Seen by', the person has the audacity to not reply!

The itch to respond immediately is quite real too. Over-analyzing thoughts crowd our head and we worry that we'd appear rude if we do not hit the 'like' button or comment on a fellow-comrade's post despite leaving our footprints of online presence elsewhere at that hour!

And, then there are the perils of over-communication (if there is something like that) and misunderstandings. A simple comment is torn to shreds by trying to understand the emotions and intentions behind it. Punctuation, pauses, smileys all play a crucial role here. A colon instead of a semi-colon can cause two friends to war. Could a one-liner reply to a lengthy discussion mean that the other person took offence? Is then an apology due? Oh, the confusions!

Fragile relationships do not stand a chance since you are always comparing how friend A reads and 'likes' every post by acquaintance B but ignores you (her bestie?!). Isn't it better to pick that phone and call the person to have a heart-to-heart chat instead of agonizing and staring silly at your computer screen?!

The truth is there is life beyond Facebook and Whatsapp and not everyone thinks about you all day like you do. They have themselves to think about, right? So, lets move on and not base our judgement about people in our lives upon how they behave in social media. Remember, there's always a side that is never revealed out there.

Comments

  1. Oh, how correctly you have said it. And apart from the narcissism and the addiction, think about the invasion of privacy this is causing. Features that enable everyone else to know where exactly you are in the virtual world and often in the real world too at that time. If you are not too careful, your life is thrown out in the open for everyone to read. Of course if it is a personal choice to have one's life a open book, it is fine. But not everyone is like that. Some prefer to keep their lives for themselves.

    The magnitude of our information that is getting leaked on the web knowingly and unknowingly is not comprehensible. Imagine some stranger can know your personal details if you are not too careful with the privacy settings? Yikes! It freaks me out. Which is exactly the reason I am not much of a social media person.

    You have pin-pointed the exact reason for the madness, I wish you would write more on this Uma!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True, Keirthana..too much of sharing one's life online, obsessing over trivial debates and going to lengths to prove a point seems really absurd but that's the strange reality today and your worth is decided by how popular you are virtually! The kind of information available to strangers is damn freaking too!
      Some other day, perhaps, I'll elaborate more. Thanks for such an in-depth comment, Keirthana :-)

      Delete
  2. Yes exactly. Why else do you think I'm off facebook for a week each month and not that active on whatsapp? ;) Nice, detailed post after a while, Uma. Good to see that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great idea to do a detox, Shailaja! I'm trying to practice detachment while being present in the thick of elements, a la Bhagwat Gita..LOLOL

      Thanks, Shailaja..when the muse strikes...:-)

      Delete
  3. Truly, Uma.
    Technology has so much in store & people have really become crazy keeping track of every message & like... Phew!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so true. While I admit that I like getting my share of adulation, I'm aware of the pit-falls when it goes to the extreme..

      Nice to see you here after long, Anita :-)

      Delete
  4. Good post. Very apt, it came on a day when I painstakingly deleted most of my albums on fb! What annoys me the most is the gross insensitivity of people when they are on social media...being kind of anonymous and not face to face makes it easy for people to be rude and abusive???? What does this say about us?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, why did you delete, Aparna? Anything happened? Really, people can be quite snobbish and aggressive when they have an anonymous to their name. It's scary as well as offensive.

      Delete
  5. Ah! You have read my mind. Some of my friends tell me that I act as if I am 50, because I don't chat, nor use whatsapp much and I don't even understand the SMS lingo. Some clients even whatsapp me their queries, I wonder if it's that urgent, why not just call, it makes things simpler(at least for me)
    A very valid post in today's internet world!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, don't even get me started on the SMS lingo. I cannot decipher it and get annoyed when people use it for even for a formal set-up!
      Nice to have you here, Gayatri! :-)

      Delete
  6. Very well written.Much of these are unproductive time consumers.That doesn't call for a detachment as prescribed in Gita.Some moderation curtailing the over exuberance and yet being in all these is perhaps the way to go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha..I did mean moderation..detachment was perhaps a strong word but was used in jest :-) thanks, Kp sir!

      Delete
  7. Very well put, Uma. I guess it's better for our mind, heart and soul (and life, perhaps) if we detox once in a while. After all, people only reveal what they want to reveal on social media. But then again, some people crave the attention. And social media works best for them. They're all celebrities, they like to believe :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, we have attention seekers everywhere and perhaps the most online. Who doesn't like attention and adulation ( I like too!) but it's when you begin you lose your mind and your real life over it, it's time to take stock.

      Thanks Sid for being here and commenting :-)

      Delete
  8. Very true and well written Uma. I keep feeling like I'm overdoing it and then pulling back. I think I've reached a balance of sorts, but.. have I ;) ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yes, Aparna! I've always been the person who has never shared much, yet an active participant. It's addictive; it's an constant and conscious practice of distancing myself emotionally from all the activity that goes around. I won't say I succeed each time but I try! :-)

      Delete
  9. Thankfully I am not on any of the social media sites.. I prefer the human touch rather than the online version of it :)

    I dont think I am missing something by not being on one ..


    Bikram's

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's great that you can do it, Bikram. Unfortunately these sites are dangerously addictive. Once bitten by the bug, you can only hope to keep the association to the minimum. Someone should start the Social Media Anonymous :-p

      Delete
  10. Completely agree that social media has made people narcissists. Self proclamation is at its height in facebook.
    But social media does do a good job of keeping people connected. The girls in our family (my cousin akkas, thangais and mannis) started a whats app group a few months back. Though we all live in different cities, we feel like we are together because of our everyday conversations on the group and it feels sooo good to stay connected with each other at least virtually.
    'not everyone thinks about you all day like you do. They have themselves to think about, right?'
    -Well said !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Completely agree with you, Aarthy, on the connecting part. Even we cousins who are now spread across countries find a perfect hangout on our whatsapp group and are re-living the erstwhile easy camaraderie, so it's not all bad. We just need to cut out the excessive, compulsive behaviour and we can rest easy with the goodness.
      That said, are you on Facebook?? :-)

      Delete
    2. Nope. Took an early dislike to it when I saw people post stuff like 'Enjoyed honeymoon with my dear. Thank you XYZ!!''
      Can you believe that ?? (Eye rolling smiley)
      :) :)

      Delete
  11. I have been overdoing it of late. Must not be so into social media...this includes blogging!!
    Also the level of jealousy and the 'please everyone' attitude people follow of facebook. If only everyone knew that facebook doesnt portray the real picture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, blogging cannot be considered in the same league as FB, Red! Please continue to blog often.
      Yep, the jealousy can really be harmful!

      Delete
  12. Social media is used more for stalking these days, even among friends. It is better to limit the usage. In fact just recently I found out how distracting fb and whatspp is for my writing. I am active in blogging groups in fb though they are helpful in connecting with other bloggers, truth is it is cutting into my writing time. I need a detox! Very aptly conveyed message, Uma.

    ReplyDelete

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