Stigma of Social Media

Stigma of Social Media
        –Anish Ghimire

-Anish Ghimire

You visit a charming place, you go there to enjoy its beauty and be present in the moment or you go there for a good photo? Ask yourself.

‘Wait let me just upload it.’

‘Let’s click a photo I want to put it on Instagram.’

‘I don’t like this filter, it makes me look fat.’

We live in a world where these sentences are very normal. In this world there’s a guy named Hari. He goes out with his friends, one day he hikes up the hill. He reaches the top and clicks pictures, comes back home, adds a dozen filters, spends 15 minutes thinking for a caption and then writes ‘What a view’ uploading the picture. Let’s rewind now. Before typing ‘what a view’ and clicking pictures, did he enjoy the view with his naked eyes? Did he sit down, felt the air, gazed the setting sun while he was at the top? Did he just click pictures and came back? The answer to the latter one is yes. This makes me wander, was hiking merely an excuse for him to get a cool photo? Or was it an excuse to have good reason to stare at the screen? Welcome to 2019. Many of you won’t like what I am about to write, but again we have the tendency to ignore the warning bells of reality so who cares.

Few months back, I dived deep into the words of Eckhart Tolle. Tolle is a spiritual teacher who wrote the most rewarding book ‘The Power of Now’. In his book he describes how past and future is merely an illusion and that only ‘now’ exists. If Hari had read ‘The Power of Now’ then his activities at the top of the hill would be any different? This question is hard to answer, but again not impossible. Maybe he would have kept his phone aside, thinking my ‘now’ is much more important than my social media status. Maybe he would have said to feel the air crashing into my body is much important than a picture with 100 likes. It’s so sad to write the latter sentences with maybes.

It’s a lazy Saturday afternoon. You think of inviting your friends to café just to hang out. You reach late; your friends are waiting for you. You get in, find a comfortable space and settle down. Let’s go back in time now, its 1990, you’re in a cafe with your friends, you order food, you talk about school, monsters, movies, conspiracy theories, etc and later you go home feeling relived and light with all the interaction. Now let’s face reality, today you go to a café, firstly, you won’t look around and appreciate the ambience. You won’t look through the menu but yes, you will ask for the Wi-Fi password. Your friends will ask for the same. This makes me wonder, what if no restaurants had Wi-Fi. Will their business ever go up? Aren’t restaurants a place to eat and talk? When did restaurants turn into partial cyber café? Anyway, coming back to it, now that all of your friends have gotten their internet connected, now the interaction will start. Yes, you read it right; the interaction, not with two humans, but with human and a virtual world behind a screen. Your food arrives, no eating it is not important, initially it is very important to click its photo first and write something so that a small group of people you know can see it through their screens. Yes, it’s very important. Now, after the food is eaten, it’s time to click a photo. Friends who haven’t smiled to each other the whole time will now smile to the camera. Photo is clicked and now it’s time to upload it, think for a caption and write ‘best day with friends’. Hang on, do you really mean it? Is it really your best day when you gather around and use phones the whole time? Yes, welcome to 2019.

Smart phones and apps like Facebook to our tragedy; have gone against the idea of Eckhart Tolle. They are telling us, ‘don’t live in the moment, and don’t care what’s happening around you. Just use our product and makes us rich.’ In the name of technology advancement and making this generation ‘smarter’, well the actual opposite has happened. We have forgotten that there is a reality to live. With the entry of apps like Tiktok and Instagram; now it’s even harder to make my point.

Social media acts like a market, the picture you upload is your product and sometimes when it doesn’t sell enough, then you delete it (not getting enough likes). Going through the depths of all these, I ask myself one question. Do we really need all of these? Do we need a profile on screen to survive? If not then stop making it a big part of your life. Turn it down, take a walk, talk to people, go places, think right and rational, trust me it’s much better and rewarding. A philosopher Seneca once said “Until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realize how unnecessary many things are. We’ve been using them not because we needed them but because we had them.” This sentence sumps up my whole point. You don’t use social media because you need it but because you have it. Now, we cannot eradicate it but it is merely the idea of your own self-control. So, among all of these, where do you stand? How will you obtain true life pleasures pressed under the weight of technology and cameras? Well you know it.

About The Author

लेखक यादव पत्रकारिताका साथै भाषा, साहित्य, कला, संस्कृति, पर्यटन, ऐतिहासिक एवम् पुरातात्विक क्षेत्रमा कलम चलाउँछन् (सं) ।