It is amazing how the social scene has completely changed within a short period of time. Over the last decade, the explosion of social media has completely revolutionized the way we socialize. Using the busy modern lifestyles as a handy excuse, majority of us prefer meeting over the cyberspace more than we meet physically.
Today many people prefer to catch up through social media networking sites like Facebook, WhatsApp groups and Twitter, as opposed to having face to face conversations! If this trend is not checked- especially among the digital generation – we may soon have a generation of well connected introverts who can type a conversation faster, on an electronic gadget, than they can have a meaningful face to face conversation.
It is no wonder that most individuals belonging to the digital generation are so pathetic in social skills such as public speaking, since they are more used to online chatting than having face to face talks!
So what will happen to the facial expressions that give non-verbal cues which help us to empathize with each other and connect at a deeper level?
What about the hugs, the pats on the back or simply staring into the eyes of loved ones and letting the silence do the talking, but still manage to understand each other perfectly well?
What will happen when genuine laughter will be finally replaced completely with “lol” and “LMAO” and God knows what else?
Facial expressions never lie you know. However, while hiding behind an electronic gadget, one can easily type…LOL…or …..LMAO….., when they are actually hurting seriously or even weeping bitterly as they ponder over how they will face the landlord with one more excuse the following day.
People check into Posh establishments in Westlands (online), when they are actually on Outer-Ring Road headed home to Dandora. Some take photos of the gates carrying names of the fancy establishments and post them on social media, complete with a caption; “Weekend Tings” leaving their Facebook friends green with envy as they admire the fellow’s flashy lifestyle!
Little do they know that the fellow has just had “mandondo and “ugali” for supper and gone to sleep, while they are left wondering how they can one day manage to live like him! In short, a big number of folks are living a blatant lie online. The lifestyle they depict on social media is a far cry from the actual one that they are living. Their online exploits are nothing but an imaginary make-believe life. They are eventually forced to believe the lie in order to live it; to make others see them the way they need to be seen…..
Is it any wonder then that experts have pointed at social media as one of the modern causes of depression?
While some people struggle to maintain a make-believe life, others are scratching their hairs off trying to be like them. How ironical! Nothing can make life more depressing than that.
But one thing that worries me the most about the current social media craze, is the gradual death of normal conversation, even in families. It is now normal to walk into the living room of a family of six (including mum and dad) and be greeted with a silence that will make you think people are mourning, only to realize that each of them is bent over an electronic gadget, furiously typing away or going through updates!
If this thing about evolution is real, then I swear the next human species will be Homo hunchback and this is gonna happen soon!
Just look around you. In the public transport, in restaurants and even in malls. You will see fewer conversations, but more bent necks, glazed eyes on screens, headphones all around. Everyone, from a corporate honcho to a construction worker; even “mama mboga!” is busy flicking away on their screens, oblivious of the life passing them by!
Who knows? Maybe Homo hunchback will eventually give birth to Homo zombie!