Social media in my world
I had always been the girl who never raised her hand in class. Even to questions whose answers were on the tip of my tongue. I would always be the one who whispered answers to the girl sitting next to me during quiz competitions and clapped away as she collected the prize onstage for replying correctly. I could never muster enough courage to request my professors to clear a doubt for me in class. I could never even call out my name when someone asked about the artwork decorating the walls of our classroom in school. Reason – I was mortally scared of bringing the limelight on me, of people turning around to look at me, people with expectations….
And yet, although I liked being in the shadows, somewhere I wanted my voice to be heard. Just a tiny one, maybe, and get a little pat on the back. On the other hand, I loved paying compliments. Even here, there was a problem – in spite of all my goodwill, somehow I would end up forgetting to wish a close friend or a relative on his/her special occasion. Blame it on my laziness and my aversion to pick up the phone and make a call.
And so, I love social media. I sometimes feel it was made for people like me. I like logging onto Facebook and type out a ‘happy birthday’ to a friend rather than make a phone call and face the uncomfortable questions “Where have you been? Why have you not kept in touch?” and the more acerbic “Do you even remember me?”
I also click the ‘like’ button innumerable times to all the cute baby pictures and honeymoon albums. I have joined several forums - mostly on food, travel, birds and wildlife, and although I feel the same trepidation when I venture to provide the name of a bird or post my blog link, the ‘thanks’ that I receive thrill me to bits. I reveled in my new found voice, however small it may be, and found myself looking forward to my regular sessions of social media. Soon, I realized that I was not alone. The whole world was getting hooked on to social media.
Image taken from Facebook
And then the world shifted on its axis. It was time to upgrade - to the era of mobile web and smartphone.
I resisted getting on to the bandwagon for a long time. I rebuked my husband whenever I caught him looking at his smartphone. You are missing out on precious time with us, I would tell him righteously. Why do you need to check your Facebook/twitter all the time?
Karma must have been laughing at me then.
For, one day I bought myself a smartphone and it has not been quite the same ever since. I thought that it was nice to respond to someone the moment I got an update on my social media apps. It is bad to keep someone waiting, I told myself. I would rush to my phone the moment it beeped and check it feverishly. I spent time scrolling my updates during our dinner dates, instead of carrying on a conversation. I saw my husband raise his eyebrows with a smug expression on his face and it was then that it dawned upon me – I had fallen victim to an overdose of social media.
Image taken from Facebook
But nothing that I could not fix. Like everything, social media needs some amount of moderation in our lives, too. I decided to apply that and channelize myself more towards causes that I believed in. Sometimes, I would come across posts that rang with me vehemently, things that shook me up to the core. In real life I could not imagine myself screaming out in defiance or proclaiming the truth. Heck, I could not even make myself heard amid my small group of colleagues in office. But on my social media platform, I could join hands with several others and lend my ‘voice’, in support or otherwise.
Image taken from Facebook (www.storypick.com)
Besides, it had become so much easier, too. I did not have to switch on my laptop and log on to my account, a cumbersome process. At office, I was not to be found poring over my Facebook since I had access to it on my phone and I knew I could check it anytime I wanted. In the solitude of my room, or while waiting for a conference to set up, I read posts and shared the pertinent ones. At least someone will hear me, if not all. Somewhere I might have cleared the air about a particular topic or shown someone the blatant truth.
Image taken from Facebook
In the process, I learnt a lot, too. I stumbled upon information that I would not have known existed. I subscribed to websites and received timely updates through social media. I saved some in my memory, some in folders and implemented others. I understood that LinkedIn was important for your career growth and that Facebook will help in boosting readership for your blog and your business. I could see our world revolving around social media.
Image taken from Facebook (www.womensweb.in)
Today, I think I have made my peace with social media. I am still a twitter-illiterate although I have my account. I try to keep the devil out of my social media and not take everything that comes along my way as the gospel truth. I have ‘enrolled’ my parents to Facebook so that they could see our albums, and know that all was well with us and we were happy. On the other hand, I need to revive my LinkedIn account.
A little research on the internet showed me the top 5 social media networking sites:
Overall, I think I am happy with the presence of social media in my life. After all, I get to speak my mind here, in the virtual world, without the fear of eyes turning towards me.
(I am participating in the #SMWBangalore activity at BlogAdda in association with Social Media Week Bangalore)