Gone are the days when accomplishments were kept under wraps, away from public gaze. The common refrain used to be ‘nazar lag jaye gi. Hence, sharing of good news was discouraged. Not true any longer.
In the age of social media, everyone seems to be flaunting achievements and crowing about one’s accomplishments on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Not only is there a generous over sharing of good news, but every activity, even a visit to a mall, is to be announced on social media. For some dining out is not a private experience, the dishes they order, the food they eat is meant for public consumption on social media. Every moment must be clicked and uploaded instantly to get likes and comments.
These and many more trends I have observed ever since I joined Facebook a couple of years ago. I am horrified to see everything from a hook-up to a break up being flashed by the Gen X and Y on social media. Public display of affection may not be a part of Indian culture but privacy doesn’t seem to be a hall mark of romantic relationship for the youngsters. Lovey-dovey couples can be seen on social media platforms in romantic poses looking at into each other’s eyes. It is another matter that some of them may be having a rough ride in relationship but they are head over heels in love with each another on Facebook and Instagram.
Social media gives a sneak peek into people’s life, their public persona but you won’t know how much of it is real. The fact is social media is deceptive giving an impression that everything is hunky dory in the lives of others which may be a pretence. Online spaces are often oriented towards exaggeration. Everything on social media platforms is glamorous from people to places to food. It is here you find stunning beauties, the most exotic locations and the happiest people having an awesome time.
Seeing everyone having a perfect life, you wonder if you are the only one leading the drudgery of an ordinary life. Theodore Roosevelt said, ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’. Social media sites prove to be killjoy. By triggering comparisons, these are quite capable of creating self doubt and anxiety over illusions. Especially damaging is the comparison in the battle of likes and comments, which are more often than not, based on the principle of reciprocity, responding to another’s action with an equivalent action, like for like, and comment for comment. The more you give, the more you get. ‘
Most of us do understand the reality behind wow comments and exhilarating likes yet continue to be trapped in the web. A WhatsApp joke sums up the predicament of many like me. ‘Not so young a woman is contemplating exiting from Facebook but she can’t. The reason: A person of her age will not be able get anywhere else the compliments like ‘beautiful’, ‘gorgeous’, and ‘elegant’ garners that she garners on Facebook.’
Jokes apart, social media has proved to be a blessing by helping us stay connected especially in these challenging times. Of course, it is up to us to steer clear of the superfluities.