Is it compulsory to be on a social networking platform?

by Twinkle Dhawan

Before putting a spotlight on the above topic, let me share with you a short inside story. Before writing on this topic, I had a big smile on my face. That’s not because I do own a facebook account. That’s because I deactivated it a month back and I am living a life without facebook. Yes! I know but I really do belong to the human race itself. In fact, I was a facebook addict and I never thought I could ever live a day without it. My addiction was at the supreme level. For example, I used to have facebook access throughout the day and then at night until I slept and then in the middle of the night when I used to wake up, I checked up my facebook and if my international friends where online, that would act as a wheel of fortune for me. I had liked almost all the pages, played a lot of games, updated pictures and statuses on regular basis and what not!

But in the end, now after deactivating it, I look back and realized that that was the inestimable stretch I’ve ever spent killing time and energy! I could have studied or done something productive rather than doing useless surfing. I mean if Mark Zuckerburg (co-founder of facebook) would have paid me for doing all this, I would have been a billionaire. But instead, he’s earned billons because of me and billions of people similar to me.

So this puts a spotlight on the main dilemmatic question, i.e., is it compulsory to be on a social networking platform?

In my view point, no it is not necessary to be on a social networking platform. However, seeing the growing trend and popularity of facebook, LinkedIn, twitter and other similar platforms, it is a sheer option.

WHY SUPPORT SOCIAL NETWORKING?

  • Get Important Information: Facebook tries to provide all the information you aspire to acquire on various trending topics in a precise manner. This not only saves time but also efforts.
  • Learning while having fun” is what social networking propagates to its users.
  • Easy to Connect with People: Social networking makes it easier to connect people who are geographically far off from each other. You get an insight into their lives by being on facebook.
  • Friends all over the world: Social networking is a cogent way to bring cultural diversity. One gets to know about various cultures by talking to people. This way people are able to have friends beyond their restricted countries.
  • Innovative concept: People can spend hours on social media without getting bored because of its innovative concept that binds people.
  • Effective advertising and awareness in a speedy and absolute manner via facebook helps major companies to gather the attention of the masses. This is a very attractive source of advertising.
  • Social networking was the major helping hand in catching hold of Osama-Bin-Laden by helping the American Government track him via social networking media. This way social networking becomes the strongest “military force”.

WHY AGAINST SOCIAL NETWORKING?

Social networking is detrimental since the latest news regarding celebrities or technologies or any other trending topic you could see or read it on the news or Google it out rather than seeing it on facebook or twitter. Reading newspaper is after all a good thing to do as far as your verbal communication and vocabulary or general knowledge is concerned which would not only help you be better at English but also prepare you better at the competitive levels.

Spending time with family and friends rather than devoting yourself to any social networking has posed a problem of society’s growing physical estrangement. Explaining your view point on a social networking website is a little more difficult than having a face to face contact or a phone conversation. The feeling of satisfaction one gets on direct contact with another person can’t be expressed in words. These social networking websites have got such deep hooks into billions of people’s personalities that have initiated immense addiction to them which has made life more complex. I might sound orthodox but looking 4-5 years back when there was no facebook, life was simpler, easier, better and much more fun. Think about it!

According to Daily mail, UK article, most of the reasons for family breakdowns and depressions are these social networking platforms. Partners develop a sense of secrecy with one another than gives rise to trust issues as well.  Excessive Facebook use increases risk of cheating, break-up and divorce. People jealously monitor their partner's activities and reconnect with their ex. Young relationships face more threats on their relationships because of social networking.

HEALTH RELATED THREATS

Adding to these problematic traumas caused by social networking, are health related issues. Eye damage and depression are the most common problems. Cancer is also one of them. Research at the UCLA School of Medicine is reported to have found that social isolation can affect the level to which genes are active in white blood cells. People reporting high levels of social isolation had 78 genes that were more active and 131 genes that were less active than in people with low levels of social isolation.  The authors of this research are reported to believe that their findings may explain the “greater risk of inflammatory disease and adverse health outcomes in individuals who experience high levels of subjective social isolation”. Other effects that have been seen in this study include immunological effects, sleep effects, morbidity, morality, paranoia, anxiety, stomach aches and insomnia.

Identity forgery is one of the major crimes that social networking websites are unable to solve. Imagine someone using your pictures or your name and cheating the mass. At that point blocking that person or reporting the accounts seems to be the solution. But that not necessarily solves the problem.

EXTRA CAUTIOUSNESS TOWARDS “TERMS AND CONDITIONS”

When a person signs up for any such website, nobody reads the “Terms and Conditions” attached to it. All they click is “Accept” and “Done”.  But you’d be surprised to know that these “Terms and Conditions” not only are important to read but also they contain the key to your vault. All the information and pictures you put on such websites is visible to people across the world and they can use it to any extent. Try searching yourself on google. You’ll get most information about you, which you’ve mentioned on any social networking website even if your privacy settings are strong. That’s only because in the excitement to join the website people tend to forgot reading the Terms and Conditions. We all know hacking has been a major threat to computer technology ever since computers and laptops came into existence. With minor knowledge of hacking techniques, the hacker has the ability to generate a copy of your personal facebook inbox conversation without even knowing your password. So what is Private and what’s not? In fact, the facebook department would be having access to all your private chats and every other personal piece of you that’s virtually visible to only you or just your friends. Even when you delete stuff from facebook, the company still has a copy of it on their server’s hard drive. Reframing it in a lay man’s language, just like you delete something from your computer or laptop and is still present in your hard drive similarly is this case scenario. It’s just that this time it’s not with you; it’s with a stranger who is thousands of miles away.

The thrills of social networking turn out very costly sometimes and that’s why it is well said that “All good things have a price attached to them”.

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