Social Media is suddenly flooded by the horrifying news of a young woman who bled to death at a railway station in Chennai, after being slashed with a sickle by an assailant. Ironically, this incident was witnessed by many commuters who apparently stood horror-stricken in disbelief but remained undaunted enough to take many explicitly graphic photographs of the woman lying in a pool of blood. The media, the journalists and the content writers have a new story to celebrate. The bloodier the news, the merrier! We diligently share such news articles on our timelines and continue to move on with our lives. As Netizens, our responsibility ends there.
As uncanny as it sounds, have we— the human race— ost our ability to contemplate, to empathize and to grieve..?
Social media in the 21st Century, more properly referred to as the digital age has become a buzzing hub of where like-minded individuals gather to share ideas, discuss thoughts and even seek answers to questions which they possibly couldn’t “Google”. Yes, that is what the 21st Century is, the golden age of the internet. From big to small, ranging from full-sized Desktops to Smartwatches like the Apple Watch, you and social media are always connected. Be it at home, on the way to work, or even in the loo, social media is always there. From liking photographs on Instagram to retweeting hashtags on Twitter to Sharing posts on Facebook, this has now become, the new normal. Every birth, every death, a cup of coffee in a new mug, the puppy with a smiley face, the recipe you newly experimented with, your new shade of lipstick, digitally enhanced celebrity armpits; are all reasons to celebrate on social media.
But, that is not the focus of this piece after all, as the central theme of this piece is to implore whether too much of Social Media is solely responsible for the dumbing down of an individual’s emotional quotient in the long run..? When a child cries we find it so much easier to throw the child into the lap of technology with smartphones and Android apps than comforting the child by taking it to our bosoms. Has social media really messed up our natural instincts?
A lot of the attributable factors to the dumbing down of an individual’s emotional quotient (EQ) can easily be summed up into interpersonal relationships, the environment and the rapid development of social engineering.
Coming to the very basic concept of interpersonal relationships, work ethics, peer groups and distant family members to a degree, dictate the use of social mediums to interact with one another. People are more bothered with things like high definition calling, filtered photographs and what not. This has stunted an individual’s EQ since these relationships demand you be present on the social media of their choice thereby completely obliterating the joys of speaking to pen pals who you’ve never met or even receiving holiday cards from family members who stay far away. You are no more than a monkey without any novel thought and so those unique expressions of joy and excitement are replaced with mere hi, hellos, likes and upvotes to feed ones or even others’ postmodern narcissism.
In relation to matters of the environment, the age of Netizens which has connected the world into a so-called “Global Village” where we are all suddenly highly conscious about what is happening in country “X” or about incident “A” without at all knowing the background or even attempting to gauge the reality behind it. People are blindly supporting causes they didn’t know existed 24 hours ago just because everyone else is like a mindless, emotionless drone without even attempting to comprehend it. The very minor few who do attempt to understand it and either due to their own reasoning don’t support it or due to some other valid reason, are ostracized and made into a heretic by the bulk. What happened to having a minority everybody?
Finally, with regards to rapid development in social engineering, as stated at the beginning of this piece, you have social media everywhere from huge 49-inch desktops to tiny wristwatches but, do you actually need them in all these places? People are more concerned about taking selfies and sharing chain mail than have novel discussions or appreciating something because it is actually beautiful. If this is what social media has turned into, no wonder people are becoming emotionless robots going through random ups and depression phases due to certain posts on social media. Truly, this is terrifying. We are alive but are we forgetting to experience this remarkable journey called life?