There is no doubt that social media has revolutionized the way individuals interact and communicate with each other. It is surprising how much I know about my “friends” from just stalking following them on fb or twitter. There is no need to meet up with them physically/face-to-face or ask them verbally how they are doing, all one has to do these days is “add them on fb, read their present and previous posts, check their photo album and see their information page”.
Social media has made social interaction: less embarrassing, less awkward and more efficient and fast. I simple 2 minute call to check on how your friend is doing seems too demanding, inefficient and unnecessary. Why bother? Within minutes, you can know what your “friend” has been up to in the last few days and such information is available to you without you ever leaving the comfort of your home. We have slowly begun to gauge our “friend’s” personalities and character from these virtual social interactions – strangers become friends, strangers become lovers, friends become lovers, and lovers become spouses – all thanks to social media.
So, is this trend good for everyone? Or it is a platform designed for a few? Let me illustrate its usefulness or lack thereof with an example: I have a few friends who use fb for the pure purpose of dating. For them, it’s the largest free online dating website in the world. A place where women have their guard down and are more than willing to add new people as “friends” compared to professional dating sites. What do predators have to do ? simple – add a few topless pictures on the beach holding sports equipment or a musical instrument, a fake college and “fun” job, copy & paste few humorous or philosophical quotes from the web etc and wala! you have the perfect person. In no time, they are overwhelmed with comments and “likes” and gradually their “friend” list begins to grow. In the virtual world where friction is larger than the truth, these “predators” are king – masquerading as alpha males.
Unfortunately, the social media has been cruel place for us, with an “appalling” topless pictures holding a financial calculator or a lightsaber, a boring “six-digit” job and humorous or philosophical quotes only decodable for a few, we are forever destined to refresh our fb’s and twitter accounts with a fading hope that someone would be their “friend”. So where does it leave people like myself? We are pushed towards the blogosphere, the last safe haven for the “dorky/nerdy/intellectual” types to showcase our skills. We spend hours and hours on end, without any avail, trying to use words to help people understand us and accept us, regardless of our quirks. Sometimes, we wish could cut open our brains and make it our “profile picture on fb” so people can appreciate our intellect, personality or character. It’s easy to see an athletics “six-pack” when he takes off his shirt but it’s never that simple to gauge a nerd’s IQ by merely looking at his face or body.
I guess in the virtual world, just like the real world, where people don’t care who you are but only what you pretend to be, we were always doomed to fail when it comes to “social interaction”.