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Social media and changing social relationships

Social media determines our social relationships today. Questions like: where do you stay? And what are your hobbies? Are being replaced by: Do you use the same number for WhatsApp? Are you on FB? I’ll send you a request. And all the other questions which would otherwise be asked directly are now asked either on FB or WhatsApp. Our generation wishes to discuss personal, professional, social, cultural, political and of course virtual life on social media. Just everything under the sun is discussed on social media platforms. Earlier, only the jobless people (like me) were considered to be active on social networking sites, but now even the busiest person of our country tweets almost every day. Though he is too busy to make himself available in the Parliament to answer questions, he makes it a point to stay connected through his tweets and selfies.

Whether you just like to connect with family, friends and colleagues or share your photos, thoughts and ideas with the society you have an App for just about everything. Unlike earlier, we have our mobile phones right in our pockets, we have WhatsApp, we have FB and a whole lot of social media apps and channels to help us stay connected with each other. There was a time when people would wait for telegraphs and letters, then came the landline phones which were replaced by mobiles and in mobiles we have the smart phones now. Technology has improved drastically; distance is no longer a barrier in communication. Wherever in the world we may be, we are just a ‘touch’ away from each other, our technology has been so gracious to us that we can talk to each other face to face even though we are miles away. And most importantly, men like me are no more termed irresponsible for forgetting people’s birthdays, thanks to FB.

Though our society is changing rapidly and we are enjoying the benefits of technology at every step of our lives, there are many crucial things that we are losing out on. If we look back a few years we will understand how technology has changed and how we have changed ourselves over these years. Sometimes I wonder if all these social media apps, instant connectivity and perpetual availability have made our lives better. Can we say that we are living better lives than our previous generations? Can we say that our feelings, emotions, bonding and love have evolved and developed as much as our technology? We may be technologically connected to each other but are we the same emotionally?

We and our future generation are moving towards a life where we are kept busy doing nothing. We know our FB and other social media friends better than our next door neighbours and even relatives. Our youth are fed with the news of the latest break up in BTown and the latest entrant into the famous reality shows but we hardly know the names of our neighbours.

We are so used to express ourselves through smilies and emoticons that we do not know to express ourselves in real life. Our personal lives are for everyone to see on FB and Instagram, while we fail to see the reality unfolding in the lives of our near and dear ones. With the advent of social media, we have started ‘liking’ more and appreciating less, ‘commenting’ more and talking less, ‘tagging’ more and sharing less, ‘sharing’ more and giving less, messaging more and ‘speaking’ less.

Although, we remember to use the appropriate emoticons in our whatsApp and Hike conversations, we have forgotten to kiss our mothers when we leave the house, smile at our neighbour when we enter the lift and thank our watchman when he opens the gate…