Happy Monday, Folks… 🙂 Monday Blues, huh? Get some ‘fuel’ (=> coffee for me ;-)) to get your engine started…
Today, I thought of writing about social media, social isolation, and communication in general.
A few of my observations / experiences so far have made me ponder about social media, its pluses & minuses, why people tend to blame gadgets / technologies advancements, and people’s communication styles.
A few scenarios are discussed below:
- A couple of my family members, friends, and acquaintances view social media just as tools to share / forward pictures, videos, and some irrelevant messages. To some extent, they are right as that is what we typically see around us, be it FaceBook, WhatsApp, Instagram etc. But, have these tools asked us to limit ourselves just to forwarding messages / pics / videos? Can’t we use these tools more meaningfully? We, sure can. It is in our hands. A few examples of people’s perception about WhatsApp and what could be done are listed below:
- Group becomes alive when it is somebody’s birthday; it is very impersonal to wish on a virtual media; there are only forwards Yes, I agree, it is true to a large extent. But, wishing someone in the group creates a celebratory mood (albeit on a virtual medium). Posting a message doesn’t take took much of anybody’s time (with all the acronyms, wishing has gotten easier… HBD so & so 🙂). we can always call that person and wish too. If the person isn’t active on the group or not even a member for whatever reason, we can always call that person and wish in person. Why can’t we make the conversations personal and relevant to our group by sharing / discussing our own thoughts / ideas?
- So many pictures / videos I don’t really care about and is eating up the phone’s memory. Yes, this is also the case. Some people blindly forward everything they receive to other groups / people. We don’t have to be that type. First of all, WhatsApp has a setting to selectively download media files. There is ‘Clear Chat’ option too. If you are forwarding a video that you think others will benefit from, add a caption / description before sending it out.
- Nobody responds to my message / That person or this person didn’t reply / He or She forgot to wish me It is not the case only on social media. It used to happen even before the invent of any of these tools, isn’t it? Expecting every person to respond to your message isn’t fair. Even if you assume other person(s) ignoring you / dislike you, give them the benefit of the doubt. People do have a 101 things to attend to in their lives; they might not have had the time to reply; they might be battling their own issues; or the worst case, they dislike you (it is okay; it is his / her prerogative, right?). There are people who closely monitor the green / blue ticks on their message, who read their message and when and start commenting that so & so read the message, but not responding. Please don’t go in that direction; that is a sign of addiction / obsession. You are posting messages / wishing people because you like to communicate / keep in touch; don’t expect everybody to do the same.
- To summarize, social medium is just another medium of communication. We can use it wisely to our advantage. Just like anything, overdoing it spells complications.
- Social media is causing social isolation is another comment we hear often. Has it? People who are in their 30s and above (i.e., in an era without mobile phones / gadgets / social media) can recall some social / family gatherings where some people communicated / exchanged ideas / thoughts, cracked jokes while some kept to themselves either by listening to the conversation or reading books / newspapers. Some would talk only about what their kids achieved and highlight how their way of living / thinking is right. Some would try to engage everyone in the conversation. Some could connect with everyone irrespective of age / generation gap. How is it any different now? In a virtual group, we see the same behavior, isn’t it? So, I feel a tool or medium cannot really change a person’s inherent nature (e.g., introvert, extrovert, ambivert, charismatic, gregarious…). Everyone is unique and special in his / her way. If you want to help people experiencing social isolation in some way, talk to that person, find a way to help him / her in a meaningful way. In fact, teach elderly folks how to use the smart phones so that they can keep in touch with their kids / grand-kids by sharing family photos and videos. Believe me, they will feel very connected despite geographical distance and inability to travel.
- There are and have been many cases related to vicious people and games on a particular social media resulting in death of many gullible kids and adults. At the same time, it has helped save a few lives as well. This happened recently while I was at a Corporate office. I was interacting with a couple of Program and Product Managers; in the middle of a session, a few of them were checking their phones, going in & out. Later during lunch break, one of those managers brought those frequent interruptions part up; I said I understood as they are dealing with task deadlines. He said it is not because of work; one of their team members had apparently posted a worrisome message on FaceBook; luckily they took appropriate measures to get to that person who had already consumed poison and took him to a nearby hospital and saved that person’s life!!! A tool is only as good as its users, isn’t it?