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Our Social Life and Modern World

May you live in interesting times!” While seemingly a blessing, this expression is often used ironically. It implies a period when so many things happen simultaneously that we become unable to comprehend them and end up in anxiety and confusion.


Today, fortunately or unfortunately, we are living in the most interesting times. So much is happening in the world in the personal, social, political, economic and ecological spheres of life that we find it hard to get the underlying link of those events. Sometimes, things get so complicated that we start longing for simpler, less turbulent times. Beneath the apparently tranquil world (both inner and outer) of ours there, actually, lies chaos, lack of clarity and confusion. We are faced with so many choices that we end up choosing none.
Above all we are experiencing the most interesting aspects of social media, with its myriad ways of self-projection and self-presentation. The ‘virtual’ world is a sort of stage where we enter as different characters with different roles to play (or pretend to play). In this world how I project myself is far more important than how I actually am. The way I portray myself determines my niche in the virtual community.


Deep down I know I am not the one I am projecting on Facebook or Instagram, yet it sort of satisfies my inflated sense of self and the narcissistic tendencies in me. On the other hand, though I know that whatever is posted on social media is not always the truth, yet I get dazzled by the brilliance of everything going on around me and start believing that everyone else is happier than I am. I only look at the surface of things and make my impressions.




What lies underneath, maybe I don’t have the time to be concerned with.
I am in a mad race with everyone around me and I don’t even realize it until I get stumbled now and then. But then the competition is so alluring that I can’t stop. I have to keep up! This ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO) is something that urges me to carry on with the race, though it costs me heavily in terms of my psychological health. In trying to beat others and to be the “ideal” person online, I end up losing my individuality and my mental peace with it. By comparing my life to all else, I end up dissatisfied with my own self.

 I develop feelings of anxiety, depression, and a sense of isolation and exclusion. In my quest of keeping up with the fast changing “virtual” world, I have forgotten the warmth of social relationships and ironically am left much more isolated than social.
So whether it’s a blessing or a curse, it is altogether an interesting world that we are breathing in today.

May be we should remind ourselves that we are living two parallel lives simultaneously, one on social media and the other in reality, or, more simply, a virtual life and a real one. Whatever is happening on Facebook is not always what we have in real life. Some people are successful on social media with their skills of “impression management” while others are accomplishers in real life.
The development of communication technology has, although, diminished distances and, thereby, eased our life on the one hand; but it has also deceptively thinned down the demarcation between what we really are and what we seem to be.

By Shafiqa Israr

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