The social media syndrome | By Sanaa Tauseef

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The social media syndrome

MODE of connectivity to reach out to the larger audience; be seen and be heard. Where every “nobody” is “somebody” and “anybody” can be “nobody”: Such is the life on social media.

A place where people hide behind their fake identities while sometimes they are too real for the world.

This magical world has brought people close to the entire world while distancing them from real people and real experiences around them.

A few decades back, internet took the world by storm. The irritating sound of connecting through modems on our workstations/PCs opened the world on our small screens.

Later came the technology boom and personal computers were replaced by portable laptops to access internet.

Boom again in the telecom industry and now the world is accessible through smart phones being held in every hand or literally in everyone’s pocket.

Millennials, like myself, have witnessed this technological evolution over the decades and have adapted to almost every new technological advancement that has popped out our way.

When the telecom industry was growing in early years after the turn of the century, the hassles and cost of connectivity were exuberant.

From telegrams to landlines, wireless phones to mobile/cell phones; we have witnessed a massive evolution in communication.

The progress has been both in the processes and devices which has enabled us to communicate and connect with others at amazingly fast speed.

A world of knowledge in our palms, on our finger-tips and just a tap away, has proven to be enlightening in many ways.

As compared to the previous generation, people today have better and wider access to knowledge that they seek.

Internet and especially social media, has thrived on thirst of human curiosity, giving us unlimited access to connectivity at more than affordable price.

The pros or advantages of social media are undoubtedly very rewarding, communication and connectivity with the wider audience from across the globe and virtual knowledge centres have opened limitless horizons for education as well.

With online study material to lectures from professional teachers, one has an infinite world of knowledge at their disposal.

The massive outreach of social media has enabled individuals to also pursue their entrepreneurial dreams in making the entire globe a market place for business opportunities directly in the technological fields or indirectly through the use of this modern technology.

There are always two sides of a coin; hence, along with its many benefits, social media has its fair share of cons or disadvantages that effects almost every individual using these platforms.

The quick access to information has affected people’s ability to seek in-depth knowledge on a particular subject which often leads to half-baked theories or opinions and disinformation.

The risk of over-reliance on misleading and un-authenticated information poses a danger for the society at large and may also result in a damage to social fabric of the society in the hands of its own people.

The unlimited and usually unmonitored access of social media to children often puts them in a vulnerable place making them prone to becoming soft targets for the cyber predators.

Having a voice is a powerful tool on the social media, which, when crosses the barriers of tolerance and decency, can lead to cyber bullying which, in turn, can destroy mental health and self-esteem of an individual.

In some severe cases, this menace of cyber-bullying has taken many precious lives. The urge of competing in a world where mostly people put up a false display of their animated lives, often leads to an unsatisfied and insatiable ego; which is detrimental to the mental health.

Social media is a real addiction with real withdrawal symptoms. It is a powerful tool for connectivity and communication which, used for wrong means, by wrong people, leads to a disastrous outcome.

The key to using social media effectively is through striking the right balance between real and artificial world within the context of sticking to high moral values and social etiquettes

—The writer, Accountant by qualification and a travel influencer by choice, is a freelance columnist and an award winning filmmaker, based in Karachi.