Death by social media
If you had a choice, what would you choose?” A tiny voice squeaked behind me while I munched on my sandwich.
“What were the choices again?” Another softer but excited voice asked.
“To know when you are going to die or to know how you are going to die?”
My jaw literally stopped midway from chewing as I eagerly eavesdropped on the final answer.
Come on! Come on! I tensely gritted my teeth as I impatiently waited for the other boy’s choice.
* * *
The things children ponder on today! Perhaps they felt older by engaging on this brain teasing existential question they must have heard from the older students in school. It may sound strange for children to casually talk about death, but I would rather hear them consider death in such terms rather than hear about people who ponder on death for unrealistic reasons because of social media.
Yes, social media can kill! There are individuals who literally depend on the Internet as the lifeblood for their virtual-social profiles. Many of these are falling into deep states of depression and have committed suicide because their profiles — and everything uploaded with it — is not given the appreciation, comments, likes and shares that they expect. The reason: they have really, more than virtually, pinned their personal integrity and identity on it.
These individuals are unaware, or perhaps they are but incapable of disconnecting — that in the universe of social networks — a person’s existence is just one more faintly pulsating byte information that can be simply switched off and forgotten by the other billions of bits of competing over a bigger virtual share of fame, fortune and fun.
When one’s “digital identity” is suddenly switched off, disregarded, or harassed, it is not easy to revert to its previous positive state. Serious virtual damage becomes a real nightmare when one’s private pictures, videos and information are compromised; or when one is cyber-bullied or his posts are not liked/shared as before. There is no switch that could erase or reset things to how they were before.
Since one has built his or her “self” within social media, he is unfamiliar with the ropes in the real world that could adequately address his insecurities, depressions and anxieties. This is because the tools for social networking are no longer applicable in connecting within family-social spheres. One can often find himself in a self-created dead-end of solitariness. There are those who choose to terminate their existence.
What are some ways to survive unsocial media?
• Connect with an end in mind. Always begin with a why we have to connect, what we will upload, when we will dedicate time to it and for how long. Gradually, if for no important reason, let’s place:
• When in doubt, email or talk to a friend. Before uploading or engaging on anything, it is always wise to ask someone we trust beforehand. It’s always great to have someone either assure or caution us about what we plan to upload of photos or comments.
• No one is surfect. But this is no excuse to surf imprudently. When we regret having uploaded something or about someone, let’s learn from it, be accountable and amend for our errors in the most just and reasonable manner.
• Land Home! All seafarers will have to shore up one day. There is that deep longing in their hearts to return to their loved ones. Sadly, not all families and homes are ideally happy and loving, but we cannot forever escape into the endless seas of social media seeking some human solace for we will never find it there!
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