Many articles and journals have been published and research conducted on the admission of digital social network in our daily lives. Numerous pros have been pointed out along with the cons.
The West is realising its “not so favourable” impacts and are stitching the path to mitigate the concerns, especially in the younger generation.
Here in our culture, its spectacular rise in popularity suggests that it fulfils the needs of our budding society.
However, much to the dismay of many, the truth is not far from the reality that social media’s intrusion is crafting a “perception error” in the way we look at our daily lives.
Below, I have tried to outline a few of the rising concerns derived from published journals, conducted research, and from my own experiences over the years.
The need for social media may be great but it should be borne with a subsequent precaution in the way it is exercised.
Private or public?
Social media is a powerful tool used to manoeuvre the thought process of the users -- it speaks before even we have spoken.
Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and so forth, make us capable of throwing away our privacy along with social morality from its users.
It’s one thing when we use them for personal matters, and completely another when mass information comes into the fore.
Deconstructing the private
When social media is used to create awareness on humanitarian issues such as the ethnic cleansing of the Royingya, flood victims in Kurigram, or even traffic alerts in the labyrinthine streets of Dhaka city, it shows some of its potential in doing good for people.
But when most of its users harness the power of such platforms to show off gross levels of excess -- be it a needlessly expensive Louis Vuitton bag or a needlessly expensive meal -- the impact of social media on the human psyche starts to show its uglier side.
Not only do these fuel envy among peers -- who are probably moping about having an empty life for not owning a Chihuahua -- but cultural commentators argue that such posts on Facebook are signs of vanity, loneliness, and engagement to escape the boredom of one’s own mundane life.
But I would be fooling myself if I said I never experienced similar feelings, since I am an active user of digital media. But I often ponder whether we are actually growing with the advancement of the technology.
The need to deconstruct our private lives just to get digital appreciation in the public gaze is the saddest part of our lives brought about by this technology. What used to be “sharing” turned out to be a desperate attempt to present a perfect, idealised version of ourselves to the world.
Not to mention the addiction generated in young people to seek validation. It is almost more satisfying to get “likes” on one of your selfies taken under a banyan tree with a cousin’s friend from Alaska, than having someone actually appreciate you.
None the wiser
Not that long ago, we believed in communicating through words but that has changed since the advent of emoticons. This new language of communication make scholars wonder whether young people are losing the necessary interpersonal and social skills required to compete in the real world.
Facebook has created a world of fantasy in the minds of young people, where they can be whatever they want, whoever they want, and everyone is none the wiser.
What used to be ‘sharing’ turned out to be a desperate attempt to present a perfect, idealised version of ourselves to the world
Many speculate that young people use Facebook as a source of information to avoid using more challenging sources, such as newspapers, articles, or journal reports.
The flip-side of the coin is that social media transcends all physical boundaries. It is indeed the easiest platform for, well, social networking. For businesses, it’s the most essential and crucial tool for studying and reaching customers.
Whatever the depth of information may be, it thus provides the quickest information for its users. Not to mention, it can be used to create awareness in the shortest possible time.
But concerns arise when such platforms are misused without proper knowledge, thus creating problems for society instead.
A torrent of overwhelming data from research exists on the challenges of digital media, and they can be interepreted in different ways but one thing remains certain: The eventual outcome depends on the user’s ability to comprehend the many facades of social media’s reality.
Mahzabeen Faruque is a freelance contributor.