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Posts Tagged ‘social media’

school

A social media provoked syndrome i have been noticing is the sudden surge of interest in everyone to reconnect with school friends after 30-40 years! Why social media, is because it is my analysis that these days we all tend to catch up with the Raos and Murthys through whatsapp. What the rest of the world is doing becomes an imperative in our lives.

Everyone i know, almost, is meeting up with school friends and planning reunions and then re-reunions and more. It set me thinking — what is the attraction? Is it nostalgia? Is it an attempt to feel young? Or is it about gathering more and more ‘friends’?

Many in the school groups we meet were almost unknown to us back then, besides being a familiar face. But now everyone is a good friend. Even those we kept away from or had unpleasant perceptions about. Even those who scorned us or kept us out of their elite groups.

So, why this sudden newfound love to embrace all? Is it a part of growing up, facing life’s serves adroitly, surviving the turbulent seas and looking kindly on foes and friends alike? Or is it some fear of the approaching end that draws us to cling on to childhood days and surround ourselves with folks who take us back into the past? Kindred souls aged like us, with similar pains in joints and back, who give us a feeling of safety in the herd?

I for one am not sure. I did miss one or two good friends from school, having totally cut off links when our family shifted. There were times I wondered where he/she was and doing what, turned into what kind of person, wished I could catch up… But beyond that, there was no longing to reach back. Yes, I keep having dreams of being seated at the bench in classroom listening to a teacher. Of favourite places in the campus, and some events, mostly fictitious. I have often yearned to go back and sit in those benches again.

Now that I too have reconnected with my school group (National English High School, now the infamous NPS), I find myself among unknown friends. I know their names and can connect their faces. I can remember some who were mischief mongers, some who were kind, some who were studious. I remember one girl with whom I used to have such silly fights, over what I do not remember.

But nothing more. Perhaps I was a boring student or a quiet one which is why I did not share thoughts much with many.

So why am I going to a wedding of a classmate’s daughter tomorrow?

For one, I was invited and I am not rude. And then, there is a curiosity to check out what they have turned out into. Beyond that, I am not very sure. What do reunions hold? Hearing more stories – happy ones and sad too. More experiences. Maybe meet a few soul mates I had missed out back then in dismissing as snooty or uncaring? Maybe a few who will not want to check the state of my bank balance or relationships, or give measuring head to toe looks, but simply welcome one more individual.

Perhaps there are lessons to learn from these new old friends. There always are. As Richard Bach says in Illusions, everyone in our lives are there because we have drawn them to us for some reason, something to teach or learn.

So why not smile at the guy behind the counter at the bank reading your favourite author and start a friendship? Or the grocery shop owner with similar music taste? Or that kindly woman at the park where you go walking?

Why hark back to 30 or 40 years and seek folks  you have no clue about? Simply because you shared classrooms and listened to the same teachers? Does it make sense to ‘add’ friends in a life so rushed already? Another name and number in the phone. Am I being a cynical introvert?

I still am clueless but believe that social media is the culprit. It seems the in-thing to meet up with school friends. I too am going and for now it is nostalgia time for me. Let me check out if I can turn back the clock and become a wide-eyed, joyous 13-something again. There is something so luring about childhood when one had no cares and the world seemed to be perfect. Let me try relive that…

 

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raj

Family members on a holiday

I was travelling yesterday in an autorickshaw (three-wheeled vehicles) when I first saw a driver using his whatsapp when waiting at a signal. Now, why should that surprise anyone at all? With the kind of mobile and social media penetration we see around us, it should be expected that we see bus drivers checking fb status, as also doctors or lecturers. All humans. All addicted.

The fear comes when one hears phone talk while under bright lights in the operation theatre, or on way to the toilet in the aircraft when spying pilots chatting on phone! What if??? The engine driver in a train could relax for a few minutes and get pulled away into a controversial conversation with a friend during a chat, and in the course miss a boulder lying on the tracks! A surgeon could get diverted by a call or beep from the phone and be late in tackling a sudden leak.

Guess we call it fate and move on to the next plane.. of existence!

What is it that technology has that ensures this addiction, like never before? Why have books not seen this kind of devotion? Is this about a sense of control? Is it just about pandering to the ego and status and self-validation that affirms our existence? Really? Some studies have also hinted at an increase in self-esteem from social connections and a fear of being left out or missing out on what everyone is talking about. A report said that 80 percent of posts in FB are about the user! Is it all an exercise in personal branding? But I have seen folks who just keep checking on others’ posts and images, not as much on their own.

Why do 50 percent of the people, or more, start their day checking their social media?

Why for instance do I feel the need to check whatsapp once in a while amidst work? That I thought was the best way to solve the puzzle. Boredom? Not when engrossed at something. Need for a change of scene, prompted by a lack of concentration? To some extent, yes.

Many of us have surely noticed during the last decade a change in our reading abilities. Where once we could sit and concentrate, today we find it a bit difficult. Idle chatter on the other hand  needs no concentration.

I can think of no better explanation than simple addiction — to a pastime that is entertaining and promising. Promising some new information all the time which could  bring a wow moment in an otherwise stagnating life.

There is so much that needs to be done around us, whether it is with lakes or garbage or water supply. Or empowering the deprived with education, skills and services? Once we get started, there is more excitement in addressing all that than in waiting for the next exciting news of a celebrity or innovative way to cut a pomegranate to flash on our smart devices. But somehow there are not many takers. Most are tired and unenthusiastic thanks to a job routine that leaves no place for joy. We are so happy to share do-good tales on whatsapp rather than be out there doing them. Virtual over the ‘real’.

Which takes my mind to a spiritual query. The world we live in is not real, say both our ancient texts as well as emerging science (quantum physics). Layers of reality exist says one, while the other talks of myriad manifestations of the absolute. Fine. Already we live in an unreal world and now we choose to add more unreality to it by stepping into the virtual world. One more screen has been added. Surely this will take us further away from the ultimate realisation?

Where next? This addiction to the virtual world could diminish our mental abilities. It takes us away from the present moment which slides past. What can be done besides the new fad of digital detoxification, which merely offers a break and not a change in the digital routine? Will everything we do need a machine media?

Or, could there be a new world order, where we are more connected to each other thanks to social media? Even if it is at the cost of disconnecting with the immediate family we live with?? I wonder…

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