Social Media- Learn to Use it judiciously

“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it?”? Erik Qualman

A few years back, ‘Media’ used to be restricted to just print and electronic media. But as the digital age dawned upon us, the definition of media became more and more incoherent. Social media changed the whole game. It enabled every one of us to express our opinions. Social media gave a boost to citizen journalism. Today people rely more on social media to stay abreast of the latest happening than on actual media. Easy access to social media is not only making it more popular among the younger generation but it is also attracting the older generation as well.  Social media sites like WhatsApp, twitter, Facebook allow the users to quickly disseminate information.  Although this is definitely an advantage but like every other great human invention, social media too has a darker side. 

Thanks to social media cybercrime and obscenity are on rise. Journalism, which was once considered as an ideal profession has been reduced to a profession of mockery. Every Tom, Dick and Harry now pretend to be journalists. Cut and paste journalism has become the order of the day. Rumours have replaced actual news. Very recently we witnessed how a single fake Facebook post about polio vaccines created widespread panic among parents of the valley. Every parent was seen running to the hospital. What is astonishing is that not a single person stopped to check the authenticity of the news before panicking and rushing their kids to the hospitals. Social media has given birth to a population of pseudo intellectuals who can be easily herded like cattle. Since there is no gate keeping, an inadvertent error becomes news and spreads like wild fire. Students waste their precious time in internet surfing as most of them don’t know when to stop. Social media addiction has marred careers of hundreds of students. It has resulted in an ostentatious culture, where everyone just wants to be envied for their supposedly prefect life. Widespread use of social media has punctured our social fabric and caused a moral crisis in our society.

Only a few use the social networking sites judiciously. Most people don’t even know the actual purpose these sites were created for. It is vital to educate our youth about how to use these sites for their benefit and not for harm. It is imperative that our future generation knows where to draw a line. In our days we used to enjoy our childhood. We used to play, listen to folk lore and stories our elders told us. We used to actually spend time outdoors. Sadly, in the present era, most children spend their entire childhood glued to the TV or laptop screens. They don’t know how exhilarating it feels to chase a bird or how good it feels to try to compete with the wind. Their entire childhood revolves around either social media or online games. They forget to make memories.

While no one can deny that social media has brought transparency and exposed mischief mongers, it will be naïve to look at it through gold tinted glasses. People shouldn’t let social media guide their lives. Social media should not replace our family or friends. We should not get hooked to social media and forget to live and enjoy our life. It should rather be used as a tool of empowerment. Social media should enhance our knowledge, not rob us of it. It should give our creativity a boost, not subdue it.  As I said education is the key. Therefore we should include a chapter on judicious use of social media in our school curriculum so that our future generation becomes aware about how to derive maximum benefits from social media. We should rekindle the passion for life in our youth. Teach them how to live again. Teach them how to live an offline life. Teach them how to prevent themselves from becoming social media addicts.          


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