Saturday , November 18 2017

Social media … benefits & drawbacks

Yusuf Awadh Al-Azmi
I was taken aback by the words of the Uruguayan journalist, writer and novelist Eduardo Hughes Galeano when he said, “We are living in the age of materialism, where wedding ceremony is more important than love, funeral procession is more important than the deceased, clothes are important than the body, and the house of worship is more important than God.” In my perspective, these words go deep in the reality of the lives we are living.

The words of Galeano can be interpreted in the reality we are living — the era of communication revolution – where the peel has more value than the core, appearance is appreciated more than the essence, and attitudes are moving in the opposite direction of the course, as the traits of human relations are in disarray especially with technology becoming the rule of the day.

Social media has stormed the human life to the point where privacy of significant number of people is almost nonexistent. A quick tour of the social networking websites and applications such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram among many others reveals the fact that many of us have been hooked on to them, sometimes without even being aware of it.

We can sometimes get hooked on following profiles and daily activities of certain individuals, or reading comments of people, or even following a cultural or religious event.

It is obvious that, with the positive aspects, there are negative aspects as well. However, the negative aspects become more highlighted than the positive aspects, even if their value is minimal compared to the positive value.

Once when I was in a commercial mall, I was chatting with a friend on WhatsApp for quite some time. I was telling my friend about the traffic jam I usually encounter when I try to exit the mall. My friend then asked me which mall I was in. It turned out that my friend was actually sitting just few meters away from where I was sitting.

The social networking sites such as Twitter has huge commercial gains, such as selling followers and the “retweet” option. Once I got an offer of having 100,000 followers and the “retweet” option for KD 60.

The communication platforms are of huge benefits for those who know how to utilize them productively. They are wonderful means for keeping in touch with relatives, friends and those around you. However when it comes to your parents, kindly use traditional method of communication such as visiting them in person unless you are living far from them. Do not let these platforms be the only means of communication between you and your parents.

These communication platforms have reached a point where they are attached to the best moments of one’s daily activities such as sitting in a café and drinking coffee while surfing through your favorite social networking website – the kind of media which makes you feel anxious and unsettled if you fail to log in for a day or even for two to three hours.

I dare you to go without your Facebook, WhatsApp or any other communication platform that you are hooked to, up in. I believe it will be difficult—very difficult to the extent that one might need rehabilitation to say the least. Indeed, we are hooked, hooked to the era of technology.

By Yousef Awadh Al-Azmi

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