Social networking websites are somehow always a topic of discussion: how they cause peer pressure in youngsters, how they are responsible for ideological echo chambers, and most recently, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal: how they are influencing politics in the world. Here, in this article, I would most specifically like to talk about how they are changing the way friends interact with each other.
1) Meeting new people: Facebook Stalker Edition
Have you always been anxious about meeting new people and worried about if they will like you or not? Here’s some added pressure: if the person knows your name in advance, chances are that he has already googled you and tracked your activities through various social media websites. You like baking? He saw that from the photos of cakes you uploaded on Instagram. You went to a party last night? He already knows that from your facebook/insta story. The more you are sharing publicly, the more people will know about you without knowing you. Truly meeting ‘new people’ has become an urban myth.
You have love for your friends but telling them that to their face is too commonplace? Tag them in memes. Memes are the new way of telling people you are thinking about them. You probably have a similar sense of humour and find the same things funny. Tagging friends in memes is now a bonding exercise to cement your friendship.
3) Keeping Up
If I only had a rupee for the number of times I have seen people looking at their phone on a date or during a coffee meet, I would probably end up as rich as a Kardashian. This probably begs the question: What is catching up? Is it talking about all the life events and happenings over coffee? Well, then scrolling through social networks is probably a more comprehensive way to do it. Because of time constraints, people rarely sit and talk and plan coffee dates anymore. Most of us suffer from exhausting schedules and social anxiety and giving a person some validation in the form of a like on Facebook seems like a good way of saving friendships.
I realize that this post makes me sound cynical. Am I not myself guilty of doing all of the above? Of course I am guilty! I tag my friends in memes, duck out of meeting people in reality and sometimes also check people out on Facebook before meeting them in person. These are my observations based on my life and the life of people around me. But I would love to hear from you: do you agree? Please feel free to comment and let me know.
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