Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Effect of social media on us and our society...

Today presence of social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.) is felt by everyone in our lives, no sector or section of society has managed to remain unaffected by them. Revolution in communication technology in last few years and spread of mobile phones to remotest corners of world have made these things accessible to vast number of people in this world. Social media has changed the way people used to communicate with each other, it has modified ways we interact with each other, for the first time in history we have written or recorded data for conversations of common people. All those tweets, FB posts, blog posts, comments or chats are written records of our conversations with each other which never happened before in entire history of our civilization, for the first time in our history we are talking to each other so much by writing (in text) rather than speaking, in the past also people used to write long letters but percentage of literacy was not that high in many places around the world and this mode of communication was limited for special reasons and occasions, but now we mostly chat with each other by writing (SMS, FB, twitter, Orkut or whatever), this is really unique, today we have power to communicate anytime with anyone, anywhere in the word who has access to internet and a device which can connect to it. Anything we write today is recorded somewhere, stored somewhere, there is a proof of what we say (write) whether we know it or not doesn't matter, it's stored somewhere. We are generating tremendous amount of data every day, that information is enormous and the speed with which we share our thoughts with each other is also amazing. One tweet, a blog post or a FB post can reach to millions all over the world in just few seconds, this was not possible in pre-social media era even in the presence of TV or radio. These two things (TV and radio) did revolutionized our lives but that was mainly in the area of entertainment and news, but social media took the level of our communication with each other to completely different level, we now live in well connected world (at least virtually).

Politicians, celebrities and even common people like you and me are using this power of social media to communicate our thoughts to our friends and to people who don't even we know personally. We can share our thoughts more easily now, many serious discussions can be done without meeting each other personally (this blog is also result of that effort). Some political parties or organizations who ridiculed these things in the beginning as some temporary internet craze and didn't take these things seriously are also trying really hard to make their presence felt in this world of virtual communication. Establishments and big corporates are using this medium as efficient tools to attract new customers, many social media websites (like Facebook) are highly valued (worth few billions USD) this is just because number of users associated with them. Now a days many debates discussions, business transactions take place in virtual media, where actual debaters or buyers and sellers don't interact with each other directly or don't even know each other, but still things work out smoothly, this is amazing transformation of our society, just few decades back these things were considered as impossible or can be seen only in fiction movies or books, but now it's reality and we all are living it, we all are part of it.

Social media and internet had given us a parallel world, which is very different from our real world (by this I mean our immediate surroundings). This virtual world is a place where two strangers can interact with each other with absolute intimacy, where relationships can be formed or broken, bonds can be developed, almost every emotion can be shared privately or publicly, such is the power of this medium. Technically one can spend their entire life in interacting with people they will never know or will never see in their entire life, this was possible only in dreams or for very few people (like popular writers or actors who respond to fan mails) but now anyone can do this, according to me this is tremendous change which is already having huge impact (positive as well as negative) on our personal and social lives. There are some similarities between this virtual and real world, like in real world in virtual world also there are predators as well as saviors, people can transform each others lives in positive or negative way, they can even kill and abuse, only difference is, in virtual world they can do this without coming into physical contact with the victim, and this is more dangerous and more serious drawback of this medium.

This technology has given us ability to expand our horizons, we can be in touch with people who are physically far away from us, we can chat with them, see them in real time (one of positive impact), at the same time some people indulge in this too much, they are so absorbed in this virtual world that they don't even realize that they are neglecting their real world, sometimes families suffer, relationships break because of this (one of negative impact). This medium is so powerful that's why its effects are also very powerful, it can even assist in creating mass movement against ruthless or corrupt establishment, it can spread rumors faster than ever before, these are few of the reasons why many governments are worried and concerned about the power of this medium and some of them are even thinking to censor or control some of these things (like Facebook and Tweeter), I guess they think if they can control this medium effectively they can have better control over their citizens, such is the impact of this medium.

This medium has also given a unique platform and opportunity to all of us to create or to invent new things, it was never easy to become a writer or story teller or inventor before as it is now. So now we have this very powerful tool in our hands and we are free to use it in whatever way we want, the choice is entirely ours, we can use it either to connect with friends and relatives, spread awareness, spread love, freedom, message of equality, fight discrimination or to spread hate, fanaticism, inequality etc. as I said the choice is all ours, the medium will work in a way we make it to work, so let's use it to bring positive change.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

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