Let’s face it, we are caught in the net

Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook from his Harvard dormitory room on February 4, 2004, launching a new era in people-to-people communication.

With more than 800 million users around the world, Facebook has made him one of the youngest billionaires on the planet.

The phenomenon of social media got a huge impetus, encouraging a number of others to launch similar sites, such as Twitter, Orkut and Linkedin.

Facebook has also more traction in corporate lives, with an increasing number of companies using it for communications and sales promotion.

While many agree that social sites now occupy an intrinsic part of human life, is this glittering of media really gold?

No doubt, it has revolutionised the way technology can help us make contact in an instant, with people thousands of kilometres away.

But it has also its share of ills.

Insulated life

Many young people are spending hours logged on to these sites every day.

This can have a detrimental impact on their studies, affecting their concentration levels. Outdoor activities take a backseat with too much time spent on the Internet. This can lead to unhealthy lives and deprive youngsters of fostering team spirit, and self-discipline, which are by products of sports.

Another aspect of excessive reliance on social media for communication is that the standards of linguistic skills seem to be falling. Parents of today struggle to inculcate reading habits in their wards. Writing letters has gone out of fashion, but even putting together a few paragraphs on an email, without using social networking jargon, seem an uphill battle for many.

Ironically, the Internet, along with the social media sites is increasingly isolating people. Many of us do not even know anything about our neighbours, but can instantly recall details of celebrities, about who we read on websites.

The art of conversation also seems to be on the wane. Sighting people glued to their smart phones even in public gatherings is not uncommon.

Social media is here to stay. No one is questioning its benefits to society. But what is needed is judicious use of these sites without forgetting the virtues which held our previous generations in good stead.

Reader response is welcome. Write to editor@indiannewslink.co.nz

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