Social media and my love-hate relationship with it
Social media has started to feel like an abusive relationship, the love hate drama is so addictive and intense that it is hard to break-up, but so difficult to live with.
In a complicated world, it does provide a unique platform to express, to be heard, and to share. Although it reduces personal relationships and bonds, it creates an interconnected web, where everyone, to a certain extent, can coexist. In a world filled with political and ideological boundaries, social media provides a space for everyone. It is beautiful in its own complicated narcissistic fashion. It has the potential to create something big and beautiful, and at the same time let you become a part of it.
I realized the importance of facebook and twitter during the earthquake in Nepal. People could post about needs and resources, give a voice to urgency, reach out to the philanthropists. This was the time when I really started USING facebook, I would open my facebook and twitter page before I checked my emails, or listened to the voice messages on my phone.
More recently, a new realization has dawned upon me. I realized that in the cacophony of millions of users, the only voices that are louder and clearer are the angry yells and hateful screams. Even the posts about love always begin with the hatred in the world and how someone *miraculously* fights back and love wins all. My little bubble of liberals and progressives is slowly exhausting me- I see the masked bigotry and biased perspectives. Anger against different opinions makes me question- are we becoming more inclusive or intolerant. Intolerance from both sides in ever-increasing and social media is becoming the platform where one can profusely express, even their intolerance.
At least it made me rethink what people show, and what they really are. The social activists who show great interest in changing our society for the better are often mired in their own ideas about what better is. What is better? I’m sick of people calling themselves “progressives” when their values are not based on equality but rather intent on maintaining status quo. Hash-tags are mere reflection of the presumed ideas, recycled by the young (and old).
That is just a part of the society, but social media accentuates it. Instead of proper and clear information, witty misconstrued remarks get more votes. Misinformation is the way- intentionally or unintentionally. The need to be “liked” or “retweeted” is higher than expressing sincere thoughts. Now social media is fueling the hatred and nativism in the world, as it expands, it is making sure that political and ideological boundaries become bigger and stronger. It has made journalism lazy and unaccountable, while reaching out to the masses (ex: CNN using tweet feeds to report news).
It has made political activism so easy that it builds little bubbles of “revolution” just so that they can burst the next moment. Rallies are built on sentiments, not agenda or strategies. There is nothing wrong with it, actually I’m impressed that people have finally found a way to gather for a causes, but every cause also builds another “anti-cause” or skepticism to the cause. By itself, social media has no morals or ideology, accountability or judgement- it is for everyone, but the power rests with whoever can yell loudest. Sadly though, often loudest voices are not necessarily for the better.