A few years back, all we had to juggle was our friends, family and work.
Today we juggle who we actually are, who we are on our various social networks, our work, family, friends!
Do we end up losing ourselves in this sudden rush of life? Do we get caught eternally?
It has almost been a year since I quit Facebook. And once I let it go, nothing has made me want to return back. I did join Twitter, though.
Was that because I was feeling like I was missing out? Maybe. Or maybe not?
If I had things my way, I’d write letters. But one can’t write letters to oneself. (They can but not for long.) My friends insist I join Facebook again because the “distance is growing” and because “we are losing touch” but I tell them “No.”
I think I was lost (and lonely) even when I was on Facebook; lost among the happy pictures, lost among the ‘always happy’ lives of your peers, lost between who I really was when on-line and when off of it.
Whatever happened to eating a meal without clicking a picture of it and posting it online? Why have we forgotten the thrill of going to a beach and feeling the sand under our feet? Why do we go there only when we want to capture the setting sun? Why have we started living so much for others and so, so little for our own selves?
They say social networks keep us closer. I strongly believe that they make us grow apart. How many of you wish your cousins on their anniversaries on the phone or in person instead of posting a congratulations on their social network? I dare say not many. And I confess, I am guilty too. Which is probably why I’ve realized how disastrous it can get if you know not where to stop. I stopped and so I’m writing about it.
We have become robots. Because we feel the need to press a button to feel accepted; to feel emotion.
I’m certainly not implying banning these networks, no. Just that we need to draw a line somewhere and not get carried away. Can you do that? Do you think you have it in you to talk to a person face to face after locking yourself up in your room for days on end?
I’ve learned from my own mistakes. And I am happy it’s not too late. I’ll give you some incidents from my own life:
- About seven years back, when typng lyk dis was the in-thing, I used to chat with my friends online and obviously type lyk dis. My mother saw me typing like that in the chat-window and told me to stop. She said that typing like that will hamper my writing style and spellings with time. Like all stubborn kids, I didn’t listen to her.
A few months down the line, I participated in an inter-school essay competition and believe me when I say that the urge not to write (write, as in with a pen) in that same lingo was hard to defeat. I had to force myself to write complete spellings. It was terrible. That day forward, I have been writing complete spellings, irrespective of where I am writing – be it hurried university notes that are dictated so fast, the arm aches, or when I’m chatting with a friend – wherever!
- Regular visits to social networks made me forget how to greet and deal with new faces. I have always been a little socially awkward. And while talking to new people online was easy and exciting, it made me more awkward in public. Whenever I used to meet people, I refrained from making eye contacts, (not even while shaking hands with them!). I was making HUGE mistakes and was making a miserable first impression. I had forgotten to laugh without “:D” or smile without “:)”. That definitely wasn’t good. In all honesty, I still shy away from making prolonged eye-contacts (and it has almost been a year since I quit Facebook). I am definitely working on it, because for me, these things matter A LOT.
- As an added bonus, self-confidence went down the drain. When online, I took my time to cook up the most witty replies, feeling really happy with myself, that I was capable of being so smart. But when talking in person, I couldn’t afford the luxury of time before I said something, I had to be quick and smart.
Nobody is asking you to put your computers and phones in chains and bury them in your backyard – that would be too much to ask. All I’m suggesting is that we go out, meet new people in person, play, sing and just live life away from our screens, sometimes.
Because no matter how many filters we apply to our photos, we look our best with the wind in our hair.