I have always thought of writing this post. This is somewhere voicing my concern over the issue.
When I was in my BE Final Year, studying in one of the premier institutes in India, I was still a novice in matters of computer. I remember the first time my friend gave me a CD of songs to copy from .As I started copying I could see envelopes “flying” from one end to other(I was laughed at a lot for this observation :)). And that was the beginning.
500 million active users spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook. And this is just Facebook. If we put together Facebook and others, more than a Trillion minutes are spent on social networking sites every month.Not only have computers changed the computing and software world, have been a core part of our profession but they have changed our relationships also. And this happens mainly because of the networking we do. Each day the way we peek into the facebook or twitter sites and wait for some jazzy comments to make our day. We want people to “like” our status, we want birthdays to flash on facebook, and we want comments on everything. Whether be it “I have travelled by a cab today” or “I have cough and cold”. It feels to me as if we are starved to get information and dying to give information, given the fact that this is an age of information burst. And as soon as even a lesser known friend “Likes” our comments we are pleased. Is this because we want listeners to our stories, struggles, triumphs ?But is it worthwhile to broadcast every single news ,however trivial it may be to a bunch of 500-1000 people of whom merely a few know us well!! This makes me feel that somehow we are losing sensitivities to divulge right information to right person at right time. When we want to tell others that we have travelled to a foreign land (which till date remains a great pat on the back!!!) we simply change our country. When we want to broadcast how happy we are, we upload our photographs. Excerpts from a research conducted by the New York University show:" hundred students, 50 male and 50 female, between the ages of 18 and 25 participated in the study. One of the biggest findings, according to the study, is that Facebook users who update their profiles frequently are more likely to be narcissistic. On the other hand, those who check the site often throughout the day are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem. Furthermore, researchers determined that women to carefully select “self-promoting” images when it came to profile photos, but men tended to brag more about themselves throughout their profiles". And I am not surely being sadistic to oppose all these. All these are good, but what my concern is, isn’t all this taking us far apart from our friends? We are becoming too much web dependant and losing the human touch. One of my friends would always ping me in Gtalk, be it I am ill, depressed, broken, happy, ecstatic or whatever. Sometimes I would be waiting just to hear her voice but alas...again those Gtalk messages!!!I felt like talking to some ghostly entity, after all, none of us are Shakespeares to be able to put down in writing every single nuance of human behavior! Yes I want to hear people, I want to meet people. Web, networking sites are only a tool to me to get in touch and not to “Stay” in touch.
Or is it a broadened phenomenon? That we are becoming more sensitive and receptive to far away, not so tangible entities than our immediate environment? While in hostel I found people talking incessantly over phone, so engrossed in those relentless encounters that they become completely unaware of even taking timely food, or knowing someone in their surroundings might get disturbed too .And I have also gone through these things, talked over phone for hours simply because I found the people on the other side of phone more close to me than people in my immediate vicinity. Guess this is the reason applicable to all. I used to try not to slip myself to that mode where I don’t care for others nearby or I don’t disturb others while in calls. And yes calls are certainly richer in humane flavor than gtalk messages. Now a days every time while I commute to office or while coming back from office I see people engrossed with their mobile phones paying no attention to crossing roads. Recent incidents of “mobile” deaths in Kolkata and other places can only second my opinion.
Yes we feel insecure without our mobile or our laptop. Once I lost my mobile and with that all the numbers. It was a matter of hardly one night when I had to be out of touch with my family and friends. And I panicked. I felt as if I was forced to live with aliens. And surely it was not because I thought I will stay with strangers because actually I would have stayed with friends, but just the inability to connect gave me hiccups. And the question still pops up. Where are we heading towards? In future will there be nothing called personal touch? No “remembering” of birthdays? Don’t we want to jam our little brains with such useless information anymore?
Will hope that my apprehensions prove to be wrong and still we can find solace in enjoying little things with friends rather than becoming web-friends.