The seeds of this revolutionary idea were planted far earlier than we realise. The first social media site, known as MySpace, reached its milestone in 2004. YouTube came into existence around 2005. Other sites like Facebook, twitter, Flickr, Tumblr also became available. This was the beginning of a new era dominated by social media.
But if we go back to the main motive of these social media sites with which they started, we would be surprised to find that they come from the same ancestral lines as post cards, letters, telegrams, radio and telephones. Their real aim was to simplify communication between people across the globe. This is a surprising revelation because connecting people is not all that social media does nowadays.
They say information is power. And indeed it is. But too much of it is lethal and that is what we are living today. Take for example the access to news. All those people who get it through social media, are exposed to so many opinions of one simple headline. Because it is a platform where everyone can voice their opinions, there are hundreds of opinions out there.
And a sad reality is that 9 out of 10 people voice their opinion publicly by just getting influenced through the opinions some other people, without validating and going to the factual news and information. The problem is that social media provides misinformation along with information, alternative facts along with facts, false news with factual news. There are no clear ways to precipitate the true from the false in this murky and hazy mixture of information. No strict laws and restrictions on how to stop it.
But if this wasn’t enough, there are worst ways in which the social media has plagued the human
kind. Very quietly, but surely, it has taken absolute control over us and our lives. It has stripped us from the very values that made us human. Social media has given people the power to voice their opinions. This, apparently, has led to people saying anything and everything on a public platform. Things like Cyberbullying, trolling, body shaming have become an everyday thing to us. There’s such a shocking lack of empathy and mutual respect due to these online activities.
All of this, not much to one’s dismay, has resulted in mental problems and high suicide rate. Public humiliation is one fear that every human would have on his list. And yet we see that happening on a daily basis on sites like twitter or instagram, from trolling hashtags for public figures to foul comments even on a common individual’s post. People suffer from a lack of self-worth, anxiety problems and consequently, try to live up to the standards of others.
The bottom line is- that social media may have started as something that could connect people and is very much in their control, but the irony is, it has detached us even from ourselves and controlled us in ways unimaginable.
Written by – Aiman Khan (Contestant No. 3)
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