An anti-social social life

R. Dinakaran | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on January 16, 2014

A look at both staying glued to social media and stay miles away from it.

Does the Internet and social media make our lives better? Or do they destroy whatever little ‘social’ lives we have, in a world filled with nuclear families and television screens filled with useless soaps.

Social suicide

I have a few friends who were quite active on social media, but have deleted or deactivated their accounts. “My life is better now,” one of them said. “I now find more time to go outside and socialise with “real” people. I don’t waste time staring at my mobile counting the retweets or likes for the pictures and status messages I put. I am also able to concentrate better on my job,” she said.

There are others who have not even bothered to open accounts in social networks. “It’s downright stupid. I prefer to keep my thoughts to myself,” was a friend’s response. He feels there is no privacy in social networks. “Even if I don’t post anything, friends and relatives will keep tagging me on random photos and status updates,” he says. His two children, however, are social media addicts.

Does he feel he loses out on socialising with friends when most of them are on social networks? “Yes. Many of them send invites to functions only through Facebook or Google Plus. I miss out on many of them as I am invariably left out,” he says.

At work

Many offices have banned the use of social networking sites, but there are others who encourage employees to interact more on such sites.

A report in said in the regional office of the Department of Labor and Employment in Western Mindanao, the use of social media by employees is actually being encouraged, even during office hours.

Ponciano Ligutom, DoLE Western Mindanao director, said contrary to popular belief, Facebook and other social networking sites are not counter-productive if used properly and can even “bring our office closer to the people.”, the report said.

Many companies use social media to interact with customers. Though they have a separate team for social media, other employees are also encouraged to look for negative tweets or comments and bring them to the notice of higher officials, so that they can take corrective action.

The teen story

Contrary to popular belief, teenagers too, are divided on using social networks. While some are comfortable with hanging around with friends online, many totally avoid them.

Those who are active prefer to “send invites” through Facebook or Google Plus. “I use only Facebook events. I don’t want friends who don’t use Facebook to come. I am comfortable only with those I interact in Facebook everyday.” This was a response by a teenager when she was asked why she had not invited many of her friends for her birthday.

Schools know where their students hang around most of the time and many of them have their own Facebook pages. Teachers are allowed to interact with the students through the school’s Facebook page . The schools also upload videos and photos to Facebook so that students are encouraged to study as they play and interact with their friends.

Facebook itself has a School Group. Students and schools can check for groups for their classe. Schools and teachers can post files like lecture notes or assignments and also message other students and teachers.

It is a revelation to many of us that surprisingly, there are several children who hate social networks. Many prefer to spend their time more usefully studying or playing real games.

One teenager realised he was slipping in studies as he was spending more and more time on social media. He found that he was being drawn into unwanted conversations on Facebook and WhatsApp. He deactivated his Facebook account and asked his friends to remove him from WhatsApp groups. He says he is able to concentrate more.

There is also a worldwide trend of teens keeping away from Facebook. Most of their parents are on Facebook and the kids don’t want them snooping on their activities. That’s one of the reasons for WhatsApp and Snapchat gaining ground.

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Published on January 16, 2014
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