Think of the time when people used birds to send messages far away. What a great invention telephone was for people belonging to such a regime. What if the apparent bird post masters of that time would start to complain against an invention that drifted humans from the then “natural and harmless” way of sending message? What if someone from future would go and tell them side effects of getting addicted to talking for a long time on phone? Stupid isn’t it?
Well in this era, social networking turns out to be the telephone and Facebook, twitter, etc turn out to be the telephone brands. Just like talking for a long time on phone has side effects, so does hanging out for long on Facebook. But talking for a long time on phone is not called telephone addiction; it simply reflects one’s need, predilection or propensity to talk, or so to say, one’s addiction to talking.
Addiction is defined in Wikipedia as : Continued use of a mood altering substance or behaviour despite adverse consequences,or a neurological impairment leading to such behaviors. Do long hours spent (or wasted as few would say!) on Facebook point towards addiction to internet or any such impairment ?; Does it not reflect a socio-cultural trait in a human beings which is perfectly normal? It could be one’s lust to seek social attention, make up for lack of friends or loneliness in real life, seek to learn from leaders in one’s field or a large number of things that one loses out in today’s grind. Does it not serve as a medium to stay connected to high school or college friends, family members and does it not keep you connected to people as physically close as your neighbours ? Even the ones who are more rigidly separated by closed door apartments as well!
Anyways, is it not more convenient to share photos on Facebook than to mail them to your friends?. Also with, more and more social networking sites springing up from the soil of the World Wide Web, have we not started having a completely new pattern of social communication. Today, “friend” has become a verb, “like” no more retains its original meaning, so does the word “tweet”, or even “block”. All these only mark the beginning of a new era, posing no threat to the present socio-cultural setup of the world.
So, will you freak out the next time you see a friend tweeting or blocking someone? Neither has he become a bird nor is he in a fight (or at least not a physical fight!) .
IIT Karagpur (2nd yr. CSE)
Intern at WiC