Going Viral – The Most Contagious Virus

Social media is destroying us. Full stop. Before you snigger at the irony of using a digital platform to express my gripe, hold on. Hear me out.

  1. Desensitisation: I am a highly emotional person. The influx of overtly sentimental posts has me callously overlooking them. What’s changed? In real life, I remain a sensitive, caring person, but online, I feel close to nothing. Images of dying people needing an Amen. The joyous reactions of seniors on knowing they will soon be grandparents. Tragic stories reenacted for the web. Nothing looks genuine anymore. The attempt to garner likes by exploiting the plight of human beings nauseates me, as it is shoved down my throat on a minute to minute basis.
  2. Self Absorption: I know way too many people who will post selfie after selfie, on almost a daily basis. They expect to be adored and I find myself compulsively liking their incessant stream of self worship. Yet, when it comes to the posts of others, be it a photograph or a personal success story, there is a stony silence from these attention seekers. The sun rises and sets with them. Everyone else is a mere speck on their personal horizon.
  3. Raves and Rants: The sanctity of privacy is an alien concept for some people. Each disgruntled moment in a day, fight with a family member or acquaintance, disillusionment with a job, is vociferously expressed in a public post. The role of being a confidante or friend has been replaced by these public rantings to nobody in particular.
  4. Mine is Bigger than Yours: Travelling business class, buying a new car, getting the latest IPhone and all other envyworthy acquisitions are splashed across social media. Discretion and decorum have been replaced by a garish display of bragging rights. Even if it seems distasteful, one is forced to express their enthusiasm, since silence may be perceived as envy or discourtesy.
  5. Misplaced Priorities: I admit it. Any content I post online has me checking my phone constantly to see how many likes or reactions have been received. It is like being back in high school and popularity is the grand prize. This need for gratification from people online is eating away at the essence of the experience itself.

Social media was created for people to stay connected with each other but in the process, there has been a disconnection from oneself. The stakes are high in this race for seeking attention from a vast majority. Pick up the phone and share some good news with a family member. Call a friend and wish her on her birthday. Click a photograph without wondering which one would look best as your profile picture. Let’s get real again. Or at least let’s get sensitive.

Alisha “Priti” Kirpalani is the author of “A Smattering Of Darkness: Short and Shorter Twisted Tales,” (available on Kindle Unlimited) a collection of short stories of varying lengths encapsulating the grey shades of the human psyche. Her debut novel will be released by Readomania Publishers in December 2017.

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