Perhaps, social media does not allow you to be social.
Tanu and Arushi were great friends and flatmates too, they used to do many fun activities together like- going shopping, Yoga, exercising, partying- and enjoyed them all. Being a selfie lover, Tanu constantly kept sharing their pictures on social media on-the-go. She also shared live updates of her day’s highlights on social media.
All was good between them other than just this one problem- except for the time Tanu was doing any activity with Arushi, she was perpectually always busy on her mobile surfing through social media- sometimes uploading photos or videos, sometimes reacting to something and sometimes replying to the responses she got on her uploads. She used to get so engrossed on social media at times that she didn’t even hear/ respond to what Arushi is telling her.
This made Arushi feel left alone at times, but she didn’t complain about it to Tanu thinking it’s her time. Instead, Arushi started pursuing her hobbies and made some new friends in the due course. She also started connecting back with her old friends.
Eventually, there came many times when unlike before, Tanu had to return back to her room seeing Arushi busy in some talks or doing something of her own or she simply wasn’t there. This made Tanu realize that something was missing. Earlier Arushi constantly kept coming to her room to chat but now, she had stopped altogether.
Her thoughts got confirmed when one day in the evening when she went to Arushi’s room to chat. Seeing her on-chat with someone, she finally couldn’t control herself and naggingly said “Finish the chat fast no and talk to me.” To which Arushi just nodded smiling cutely and continued her chat on her mobile. Unknowingly making Tanu have a taste of her own medicine as she left the room feeling lonely.
One of the key question that this story makes us ponder upon- Is social media becoming a breeding ground to increase loneliness?
Studies have shown that excessive use of social media causes sleep-related problems and increases the probability of people being prone to feeling lonely, which may also lead to more serious mental health issues like depression.
Based on research, approximately 30% of the online time spent by people today is having social media interactions. Given the plethora of options available, people are increasingly becoming more impatient when it comes to engaging, exploring and developing a meaningful connection. A big reason for this- people moving-on to explore what else or what new is simply as easy as continuing to scroll-up or swipe-left.
A good analogy is the time we spend searching for what to watch on Netflix (given the range of options) than actually watching anything in particular.
Like it or not, developing a real connection takes time, genuine intent and conscious effort, unlike the superficial or surface level connections that are quick to catch on and even quicker to dissipate.
This loop is not just leaving our social circles evaporated while we continue to waste our time/energy scrolling up and down but also makes us prone to catching feelings of loneliness.
Hence, it's vitally crucial to spend our time wisely and mindfully when it comes to investing it in building genuine and authentic connections- whether it's online or offline.
As I am sure we would all agree, having one true friend who will be there when you need them is far better than having 50 superficial ones.
Having made my point, if you have the acumen to build many authentic connections simultaneously, go ahead. No number is too big for that. But staying focused and true to what you value and would want, is what makes all the difference.
Otherwise, it will hold true that perhaps, social media does not allow you to be social.
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