Recently I came across this short animated film on Youtube named ‘Best Friend’. The story revolves around a man named Arthur who lives all by himself and is addicted to a product called ‘Best Friend’.
Arthur does not have friends. He lives in a time far into future where everyone has some sort of a chip implanted in their brains which allows them to see projections of people, customized only for them; people whom they can call ‘friends’.
Fast forward to the ending climax of the movie, Arthur gets into trouble with a vagabond when he tries to recharge his chip. The vagabond, in desperation to have ‘friends,’ rips out the chip from Arthur.
Scary, isn’t it?
The movie highlighted an alarming perspective of the current psychology of the tech-savvy, social media addicted millennials. Although social media has been successful in making the world more connected, it has also established a false sense of connectivity.
Like the chip implanted in Arthur’s brain, social media has emerged as a necessity for every individual. Without its involvement, You are nobody; You are “friendless”!
Obviously, the creators of social networking sites nurture this fear of being alone, to make sure their clients are dependent on them. I often wondered why people posted so many photos of themselves on social media. I feel that social media has made the norm so, that we put up a facade for the world to see, to be somebody we are not, to let people know how amazing a life we lead even if it is not real.
More likes, more followers, more ‘friends’. Not getting enough likes on a post seems maddening enough that it can potentially send a person into depression. I think why social media is so addictive is because we can connect to an individual or a group without making much of an effort and confrontation. That may be a plus point. However, can one really connect to a person and be empathetic by just exchanging a few texts? I think not.
Human beings are social animals, we rely on our senses to experience the world around us. When it comes to connecting with others, these senses help us to kindle intimate connections. Social media can surely connect people who may be far away from each other, but it still lacks the physical sense of being.
I am not negating the positives that social media has to offer. Indeed, without the benefits of the internet, a few years ago, talking to someone far off and conveying our thoughts and opinions on a large platform seemed tedious. Now, the internet stands as a tool for the millennials to connect globally and bring about social awareness on a large scale; something that seemed impossible a decade ago.
However, we need to understand that there is a world outside the virtual one, in which we choose to remain immersed; that we can connect more closely to people when we interact with them face to face. After all, it is an innate human tendency to respond to the warmth of another being, and feel more comfortable in somebody’s company.
We should also embrace our imperfections and celebrate who we are and what we are. So, rather than putting up a facade and being entangled in this virtual cobweb, why not be real for a while?
The article and the cover image are the compositions of aspiring computer engineer Meghna Chakrabarti. Follow her stepping stones at Tumblr and Facebook. The view shared here are her own, and she is excited to hear your opinion on how social media is impacting us. Can a computer engineer help in resolving the conundrum? The blog was originally published on her personal Tumblr page on 22nd December 2018. Here, republished with permission.
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