Thursday, August 5, 2021
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With Social Media – What has this world come to?

People have become more of zombies, their entire world has got stuck to the social media platform, their desire to get likes, followers and comments on that virtual platform than in real life. People are relying more on social media than they do on each other, and many different issues are stemming from this. In the modern world, grossing likes has become a sort of drug. That is because it triggers a boost of the hormone called dopamine, which you also get from eating chocolate or winning a lottery. Just like fast food, being popular online creates a cycle of reward which makes you crave more. When people see a post with a large number of likes, they engage more with it, even if it is published by a complete unfamiliar person. It’s just liked that crowd mentality. Getting a big number of likes boosts their self-esteem and is a yardstick for their assumed achievement. They become proud of ourselves, because the likes they achieve are equal to social approval. This feeling is very addictive, and sometimes people get really carried away with it. The effortlessness of sharing our lives with strangers is expunging the borders of intimacy. People not only share good parts of their lives but sad ones as well. Some go to an extent of posting bedroom pictures to honeymoon trip stories, by hook or crook what they want is attention. You may see many girls these days posting pictures in skimpy clothes or bikinis, such pictures and posts get more likes than comparatively sober pictures. It may create a negative reaction, but it may also have a useful like. Sometimes sharing a bad experience can help others with similar experiences cope. Other users, though they may be strangers, can show their support and provide comfort. By pressing the “like” button, people can reach out to each other.

Many years ago, we would meet someone in a coffee shop, call them to set up another date, and then spend more and more quality time getting to know them. Nowadays, we swipe right on someone’s selfie on Tinder, then Snapchat them, follow them on Instagram, tweet them and pray that they text us back. Third day, they are doing all that in the name of dating, what we never ever thought of doing even after knowing a person for months. We have become so obsessed with likes, followers, comments, right swipes, and just about everything to do with gaining social media attention, that we may have forgotten about other important things in life. Like everything else. This obsession leads to plenty of self-esteem and self-value issues. Perhaps this is the reason they prefer to stay in the virtual world more than real life. In real life they may not get so many likes, appreciations and that fan following what they get on social media platforms. There is always conflict between real and virtual existence.

In today’s society, people honestly believe that their popularity, beauty and self-worth all twig from the amount of likes that they receive on their selfie. This can be insanely damaging to one’s self esteem as high standards can often be almost impossible to attain, especially if they’re comparing themselves to celebrities. For those kids/young adults experiencing depression or anxiety, they may carefully edit their posts to mask serious problems and pretend perfection. This is a huge issue if you consider how hard it makes it for their parents and friends to see when help is extremely necessary. Also, those same teens who have created these false online personas may end up feeling discouraged and depressed when they focus on the gap between who they pretend to be and who they really are. Meanwhile they also become attention-seekers. They are extremely concerned with attention and validation. Some lonely individuals themselves conclude that they aren’t worthy and they cannot get the type of attention they need in the real world. So, they search for it in the virtual environments being unaware that their inner conflicts cannot be resolved this way. Individuals who always dreamed of becoming famous, fail to achieve the fame and what they crave for, they end up in unknown depression.

If you’re like any of the Start Digital team then one of the first things you’ll do in the morning is check your social feed. Depending on your poison of choice it could be Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Linkedin. Whichever platform we’re on, one of the first check points is the ‘notification’ tab. ‘Has anyone liked something of mine’? ‘Has anyone tagged me’? Etc. It’s a habit we quickly get pulled into. It’s addictive. They think that having more followers on Instagram will give you popularity in the real world and to some extent, it is true. In actuality, to get more followers on Instagram, you have to be popular in real life, but most people think it is the other way around. If they get more followers, they get noticed more, and then they have bragging rights, some people just want popularity. This isn’t a bad thing, as it boosts their confidence and helps them excel in their life. They need this extra support from social media. Some people just want to be able to have somewhere to write or express their experience. Instagram is a good platform. What’s the point of sharing experiences on Instagram if you don’t have followers though? Then there’s people who do business of giving you followers and like that is again a trap. You get addicted to adding numbers to your followers and land up paying all that you have for yourself. That little rush you get when your post gets more likes than normal? There is a reason for that rush. Dopamine. For every thumb up or heart we get a little psychological high through a shot of dopamine. The more likes the more shots. The more shots we have, the more shots we want. And we’re in a loop. Scientists used to think dopamine was responsible for pleasure in the brain, but we now know that rather than create pleasure it makes us seek.
There might be boons and curses of social media but one thing is sure, you get clutched. 70 percent of your time gets wasted on social media to check how much your posts are liked. You might be a business person, who wants to promote products, but if you don’t get shares or like, you lose confidence. By going very close to social media the human is becoming antisocial. No friends, no gatherings, no coffee time gossip or no long drives or discussions. The entire world stalls at one smartphone.


Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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