Nowadays, almost every leader across the globe articulates the need to base the educational system, politics, trade and commerce, and all other professions on moral and human values. But, when these leaders are themselves faced with real-life situations, they discover that there are dissensions galore, even amongst the elite, about the right type of values and also about who should observe which value.
In little more than a decade, social media has gone from being an entertaining extra to a fully integrated part of nearly every aspect of daily life for many. The reality has been compromised with the stardom of fancy filters. The merging of digital and physical worlds have raised concerns about the possible damage it might cause, making it tricky to predict which way it will morph next. In 2007, Jonah Berger, the author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On, argued that “Facebook might not be around in 15 years. I’m clearly wrong, but it is interesting to see how things have changed”.
In 2004, Orkut consumed the Indian market. Orkut conjures up a feeling of nostalgia amongst a section even today, in large part due to Orkut being their entry into the world of social networking. However, the fever of social media was soon taken over by Facebook. With time, Facebook became the largest social media network in the world, with one billion users as of 2012. A lot of modifications have been effected with the evolution of technology and that’s when the mind games started. Status and post updates became top priorities and emoticons turned into reactions. In 2009, while people were busy posting updates on Facebook, Jan Koum, and Brian Acton thought of a new way to connect people – WhatsApp. The attractive features of the new technology allows control over status updates, and gives you options to easily send voice messages. In 2010, Instagram made its entry into social media, feeding the greed for hashtags and fancy media filters. Eventually, Facebook bought Instagram and WhatsApp for a shockingly heavy price, considering it to be the largest acquisition of a venture backed company in history.
The advent of social media has taken a new turn on the psychological pathways. In one way or the other, we are being controlled by social media. Now, we have the option to hide a status, if we are being bothered by the blue ticks, and we also have the option to block someone. And then, we are fascinated by the “read receipts”. Meanwhile, Instagram played a trick by giving special importance to “close friends”.
Social media has become an emotion whereby people express their feelings through varied emojis. Machines, using data from our digital footprints, are better judges of our personality than our friends and family. Twitter has become a platform for many to express their emotions, opinions, rants, etc. Our social rank and reputation has replaced our ideologies. Yet, the term “addiction” itself remains potentially problematic. Some earn money from it and some use it for fun.
Can we free ourselves from this social media craze? Is it possible to go outside the network coverage area? Unfortunately, the possibilities are nearly zero. Factors that predict excessive use include an increased tendency to experience negative emotions, a need for self-promotion, being unable to cope well with everyday problems, loneliness, and fear of missing out. But, again, we can still limit the usage. The lines, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul,” by William Ernest Henley has depicted a special impression on our will power. The digital world has a lot to offer, and we are yet to discover them. But in what measure and capacity should be within our control.