As human beings, we simply love chatting and interacting with others. Add social media tools and items to this alacrity – and you get a comprehensive communication delivery package with range of medium and diverse sets of attitudes to choose from!
At the end of the day, however, these are just mechanisms bereft of that ONE thing humans take pride in – The ONE thing that makes them unique in this world – yes, I am talking about ‘emotion’. Emotions impart that tinge of warmth, very important for showing care, love and belongingness. Life and its sustenance are all about feeling of warmth.
In my student days, I recall we used to call-on often at my father’s friends and colleagues homes. It was done by rounds. Once we - then them. As the years flew by and we became online, this practice gradually disappeared. Today I can count on fingers the total number of such organized call-ons. The www is our living room today, and better still it doubles up as a common living room for both the guest and the host!
Social media offers myriad assortments of forums to vicariously get in touch with long lost acquaintances. The diverse range includes informal forums wherein everything you express is ‘ok’. Formal forums for corporate circles essentially meant for business and work consumption and exchange. Then there are plethora of blogging sites wherein individuals can open their account, start their own blogs and share their views with others. All good. However, www is a medium that is unrestrained and not bounded by rules and regulations. So enthusiastic netizens readily ‘cross-over’ from the formal to the informal terrain in forums meant for the former and vice versa. The more radical ones use these forums as a tool to vent out their angst against the world at large, notwithstanding audience appropriateness. All leading to information overload of gigantic proportions. In all this hullaballoo, the genuine netizen and their voice is lost.
Pundits recommend stringent laws and other measures by the State to rein in the netizen ‘activists’. However, this does not go down well with the proponents of freedom of expression (I am yet to figure out its real meaning, though!). The basic premise of social media of providing a platform to air unbiased and free views too goes against this principle. It’s a classic chicken and egg story! The question is how free and unbiased are the views expressed online and how to monitor that they remain within the permissible limits of freedom.
Social media is a both a boon and a bane depending on how it is treated. If handled sensibly and with discretion, it is an unparalleled boon, which helps to close in manmade boundaries and fosters development and growth. If treated in an unruly manner, social media has the potential to be a live ticking bomb, ready to explode at any point, engulfing all and sundry with turmoil and danger.
As an astute netizen, it is your choice, which will determine if your ‘living room’ exudes warmth, inclusiveness and amiableness.
Something to ponder….