Facebook: The Next Generation Friendship

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With over 2 billion active users from a planet consisting of 9 billion humans, Facebook or at larger picture, social media is strongly contesting the likes of Petrol Industry. Social Media is no longer just a “digital Public place” you used to hang out with friends in old times. It is now the digital footprint of your identity in the virtual world, the 4th dimension to human existence. Much like the parents of Social Media, Technology & Internet replaced the availability of human jobs, Social Media has also, in the last decade, invaded the existence of humans in social hemisphere. The act of socializing is no more defined just by physical meetings; you have to show activity on Facebook & Twitter to be categorized “social”.

However, according to me the most deep rooted effect of Social Media has been made on your relationship outside family such as friendship. The pedestal of values upon which friendship stood for so long have shrunk in size to accommodate the new human made platform of Social Media. Gone are the days when friend’s birthday meant party, chatting was a physical event and facial expression actually existed, they are just “Facebook Notifications”. Friendship, for ages, has been an emotional pillar in human life. Your friend made problems look easier, they allowed you to be yourself, they hugged you when you cried and rest of time… they just abused you because they are friends!! Aerially, friendship was the ground reality to the phrase, “I’m there”. Take 2017. Clap!! The core values of friendship are same but the expression has taken a toll. Because there is Facebook, you rarely meet your friends hence, they don’t know your state of mind (sad, happy, fun etc) therefore, they aren’t their when you cry, they aren’t their when you celebrate, they aren’t their when you need a hug and finally they aren’t there for those casual abuses. It is not friendship it’s a “mirage of friendship” in 2017.

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In 2012, a report stated that 7.5% of population in US suffered from at least one phase of depression in their lifespan. As per a TOI report, the same numbers echoed in India in 2017. Lives are stressful in today’s time, I totally agree with but maybe social media is making things worse. The Mirage of friendship, created by Social media, has made human lives lonely than ever before. You can’t just use Facebook Live and let your friends know about your sadness, and even if you do, the response would just be limited to comments. This is what the definition of friendship is for friends now. A social media comment, a message or a wall post this is their expression of sympathy. People, you can’t replace physical intimacy with a comment or a wall post.

The next generation i.e. kids born after advent of social media, for them this is what friendship is. For our NextGen, social media will be the “meticulous expression”. For future generations, we have shaped the otherwise natural relationship of friendship with human made emotion of social media. Remember, the convention of friend making is not just the “I’m there” phrase, it is also the infant depiction of the art of communication and expression. It is “the” mirror for a kid to human behavior and psychology. Your kid needs this art to thrive in work place in the future. This dependency on social media is sure to kill this first school of human lifespan.

Amidst all this impact, social media is, indeed, a great harness in continuing friendships. It has brought those long lost friends, those of whom you left because your father got transferred or those who left you because they got a job in Gurugram or Hyderabad or Bangalore, to a common platform. Their existence has continued because of this virtual platform. But having said that willingly or unwillingly; we have let Facebook be “the” medium for human relationship than being “a” medium for the same.  It’s high time that we realize that Facebook Friends is just a metaphor of friendship and not a literal one.

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Friendship is a natural phenomenon, God created this bond and the suitable emotions for it. But for our generation and the future generations to come, a new emotion called social media has taken over the other natural emotions in existence. Don’t let technology replace human existence. Don’t let Facebook Friends become much more than a metaphor. I think, you can see facebook desktop site on android and iphone also.

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