Al Hilal Publishing & Marketing GroupPO Box 1100,
Kingdom of Bahrain
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“Social media? Oh, wait, sorry, just give me a minute, let me just reply to this WhatsApp message, and…there…”
Ah! The blue ticks, the last seen online prompts, the active status and what not! If there is one thing that social media has brought upon us, it is the inherent need to be constantly available – irrespective of whether one is supposed to be “available” for something else – or someone else. It certainly seems like we are gradually being enslaved by technology rather than implementing it and utilising it wisely. Quite possibly, we might be passing over the remote control to our apps. Moreover, social media has been ceaselessly debated about for ethical reasons. It has (fortunately or unfortunately?) given everyone a voice, thereby, blurring the lines between freedom of speech and hate speech. There has been significant use of social media for the spread of distasteful and volatile content of late – from pure entertainment, easy and instant communication, great business opportunities, real-time news to peer pressure and cyberbullying, privacy issues, frauds and scams. Social media has power, but who is worthy of it? And here, I feel, it is important to acknowledge that “social media” is a new and developing concept with no pre-assigned “rule book” – entirely dependent on how we receive it as users, how responsible, careful and resourceful we are. I feel that as a student, social media has made my life so much easier by offering a plethora of applications that include Google classroom, Edmodo and Zoom that increase scope, academically and geographically, increasing the exchange of knowledge manifolds. Additionally, social media has benefitted billions of users by providing essential communication tools. I can simply call my sister in the US to tell her about my new high score and connect with my family back in India. Otherwise criticised apps such as Facebook have many less-discovered features that can significantly impact lives such as the feature to mark yourself safe during a calamity, raise funds for positively impactful causes, share flyers of missing people and more.
Ultimately, I feel, it isn’t social media that is good or bad – it is just a tool to be harnessed. Social media is a means to achieving something; and so, only on the intent of the user can one adjudge social media to be a boon or bane.