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Why do we react to everything around us

I'm referring to the public display of one's private thoughts over social media platforms. This is something I've always pondered about. Recently, a friendly discussion on a private group on this topic led to resurfacing of random bits of introspective analysis that had been filed away at regular intervals in my head. 

Yes, social media is meant for social and public discussions without which their existence will be threatened. However, it surely has become a double-edged sword in our lives. We cannot ignore it yet we have to steer clear of giving it too much importance. We seem to be not getting that balance right and end up being rather too serious in our attitude towards life. 

Many moons ago, I had written about how we have lost the sense of humour these days. Who could get miffed over what we'd never know! Opinions are being expressed every nano-second. I see a chain reaction for every single incident or issue that has happened either within an immediate circle or somewhere far flung in some other part of the world. You never know what could trigger violent reactions in people who otherwise seem rational and calm. 

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It's not always about issues that may have affected you personally, in the case of which it's perhaps understandable that the person considers public ranting as a means of expressing frustration/opinion/raising concern. I see opinions expressed for every single, stray, random incident that could have happened in some corner of the world but has shaken or shocked you enough to be outraged. Even if these are just temporary outbursts, a venting outlet, a sort of catharsis for the person in question, I wonder wouldn't it have been more beneficial to pick up the phone and talk to a close confidante and let out the frustration? Why choose a public platform? 

Why not, you ask? Because this invariably results in a ripple reaction. A second person expresses disagreement and another third person consequently picks up a fight with the second's disagreement and a totally different fourth guy who is silently watching the scene unfolding has taken umbrage over the opinions expressed and chooses to lash out separately, juxtaposing the events in a completely different light. Again, we see ripples being created. Rinse. Repeat. Just imagine the whirlpool of negative energy that we are consciously or sub-consciously producing. And, this whirlpool has far-reaching effects only because you chose to make your private opinions  public, to even those who need not have known it in the first place. You are entitled to your opinions and thoughts but is it essential to create a drama and fuss over everything? 

Another problem with social media is that it forces you to comment or like or retweet someone's status. We are so consumed by living our lives online that we feel compelled to share our thoughts on every single update on our timelines. On a normal day in our lives offline we'd generally ignore many facets of our fellow beings because otherwise, our lives would become a living hell. It is only prudent to pick and choose our battles in our already frenzied and difficult lifestyle. It's healthier for the mind and body too. Yet, when it comes to our online lives, we want to jump into every single thread of conversation. It becomes a matter of great pride and compulsion to mark your presence amidst the melee. No wonder, we give rise to funny and newly discovered syndromes like the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)! 

If we could just mind our business and scroll past our timelines like we would on a stroll outside our homes, life will be so much better for everyone, no? It's really not needed to voice your opinion every single time and that too for an audience you don't really care for. We have not yet matured to take disagreements in our stride and if you accuse the other of intolerance it is only because you are the other side of the intolerant coin. It does not mean one is right and the other is wrong. 

What are your thoughts? Have I opened a pandora's box? I promise to not get offended ;-)


Comments

  1. You said it in the first line: It's social media :) All social :) I am a bit torn, to be honest. I find that writing or blogging about it or even micro blogging it on our social media platforms gives us some sense of relief. Not everything needs dissection, of course. But it's more an outlet than anything else.

    The key, I think, is to stay above the rabble, pick your topics to get vocal about, not get drawn into arguments and share your thoughts in the hope that it will resonate with someone out there. Earlier we'd do it in the privacy of our homes. Now we do it with the whole world. One small (large) difference.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I agree to writing as an outlet to issues that have genuinely touched you or affected you. Earlier it used to be personal blogs now it's more open for all. well-thought out reactions and responses are always good to hear and read. I'm talking about the outbursts and counter reactions to every single news piece out there. The discernment towards topics is missing is what I'm trying to say.

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  2. When we talk about our actions or rather reactions to the posts on social media platforms, it boils down to the easy access of the same to a huge chunk of our population. I don't think the outrages are new, it is just that the voices from distant corners are now reaching us thanks to social media. I For that matter am one of those who doesn't have to react to every status update, I can simply read and move on, shut my mind out of arguments.

    No matter how much I dislike or disagree but I certainly don't want any of the outrages to stop per se, because we need to hear/ read all points of view. We always have a choice to block out the voice we don't want to hear or simply log out ourselves. It is more about self-control rather than the issue of the whole world going opinionated suddenly. We were always like this just limited to a small premises & now the world is our oyster.

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    Replies
    1. Era, I like the way you see this. It says we were always all a tiny piece in this whole vast world. Just that we are able to hear the other hundred, thousand voices across the globe. Again, the point remains of exercising self-control. The circle of reaction and counter-reaction, the judgement, the anger, they all seem so pointless at times!

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  3. How right you are and definitely scanning past the time line should be akin to a stroll:)

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    Replies
    1. Nice to see your comment, Rahulji! thank you :-)

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