The Liberal Canon
Published in

The Liberal Canon

The Social Media Gamble

In his book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman says, “Thinking does not play well on television”. Similarly, for most forms of social media platforms, the aim is not to create intellectuals and thinkers, but, to prevent users from getting into the process of thinking, and invariably spending their time in senseless forms of amusement. He discusses the ‘Huxleyan Culture’ which talks about an enemy having a smiling face and the walls of prison blurred out in a form of amusement. That enemy today is social media, and our generation is nothing but addicts. Granted, the convenience provided by it weighs heavy, but is the scale tumbling on the negative side?In today’s age of self realization, people are starting to get cynical about the excessive use of social media and are well aware about the ill effects of it, yet, why do we go on?The Network Effect or fear of missing out, occurs when millions of people are sharing on one network, and for someone who is not on it, there is always an underlying fear of being left out of the latest buzz. It is accompanied by the ‘everyone’s doing it, so why not me’ feeling of hopping on a bandwagon. Added to that is also the need to in turn, share one’s own life. “Pics or it didn’t happen” has become a mantra of the Instagram era today, where uploading every second of what a person is doing on social media has become a second nature, a chore; it is not so much about the content of it anymore than it is about their existence.

There is a deep psychological trend that has gone into making us addicts to social media. Likes, comments and retweets are accompanied by a feeling of self-validation. The social media brain works in two ways; the small endorphin boosts of likes and retweets become rewards for all the work and, the disappointment and ‘is this it?’ feeling that only compels us to share and participate more. Everyday experiences start being limited to our abilities to share them in an appropriate way or the experiences seem worthless.

Rega Jha, an ex writer for Buzzfeed, talked about how social media takes over our idle mind space. She talks about how social media, unlike other forms of entertainment, follows us into our homes, taking over solitude, ‘me time’ and denying us the time and space to process our lives or follow other passions.

A mood survey conducted by the Royal Society of Public Health, found that Instagram inspired feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and self-loathing. Popular news outlets such as The Huffington Post, Forbes and Times have also cited psychological studies suggesting the increase in negative association of feelings of depression, dissatisfaction, jealousy, loneliness and negative body image with increased usage of social media.

India, today, follows China on being the largest market for technology, and the number of users; both, rural and urban, have increased substantially in the past few years with an estimate of reaching 639 million users by the end of 2020; 35% of them being between the ages of 20–29. In fact, as per the results of a survey on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on media usage across India, the time spent by an individual on social media has also increased.

The youth today constantly lives in a headset of sharing events and memories; every memory asks to be recorded and shared, and the use of photographs and social media posts has become less about memorializing a moment than about communicating the reality of it to others. Silverman calls this ‘commoditizing ourselves’, by documenting everything we do online, and while that in itself is harmless, at some point in authentically documenting our lives, the authentic shifts and documentation becomes an ulterior act that threatens to become the main event; also called the ‘Facebook Eye’ by Nathan Jurgenson .

While sharing can be a fun part of an experience, we are on our path to making the experience all about just sharing, have we forgotten to live in the moment?

Avi Gopani

“The Liberal Canon” is a student endeavour that hopes to give every individual the opportunity to express themselves. By initiating important conversations , sparking debates and encouraging dissent , the newsletter is playing a crucial role in moulding the leaders of tomorrow.

Recommended from Medium

We Deserve Better From Social Media

How Live Video Feature Will Influence Future Social Media Trends

From Discovery to Destruction to Detox to Deletion

TikTok says these were the top 10 memes

My social media experiment….

What can I post on social media that relates to commercial real estate?

Gas station ..

Why McDonalds has 4.1 mil on Instagram

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
The Liberal Canon

The Liberal Canon

The Official Student Newspaper of NMIMS - Jyoti Dalal School of Liberal Arts! 🗣

More from Medium

Rough Draft of the Radio show

Misunderstandings — a Poem

preparing for NaPoWriMo

Wars Are Waged in Cowardice