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Pressure of social media…uff…

In the movie Pyaar ka panchnama II, the heroine Chiku gets upset with his boyfriend Gogo (ha ha) as he didn’t change his relationship status on Facebook from single to ‘in relationship’. ‘Don’t you know that we are in a relationship’, Gogo asked innocently but it didn’t cut ice with Chiku and she ensures that appropriate change is made in the relationship status.

Handling social media – Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram etc. – it demands you to be on your toes. The pressure is immense.

Facebook, which has over 240 million Indians on it (largest in the world), is most dangerous and quite addictive. Most of the people on FB are victims of FOMO or fear of missing out. As soon as you are on FB, you need to start making critical decisions – pressure starts. Choosing your profile photo, which entails clicking several pictures from different directions, analysing them to see where you are looking slimmest & youngest are key action steps. The next one is to choose the friends. People with slightly bigger ego wait for others to send friends request, others need to think about who to send the request to. Extra care needs to be exercised when it comes to making ‘friends’ with boss and spouse, and much more if it’s spouse’s friend.

One of my friends had to ‘unfriend’ his boss after he was on the receiving end of sarcastic remarks about time spent by him with outside office socializing, vacations etc. If you post a photo at 7 pm, saying ‘relaxing evening with friends’, your boss can quickly back calculate the time you would have left from office that day…hmmm…not exciting…isn’t it ?

Facebook goes with the principle, you scratch my back, I will scratch yours. Liking a picture is a very sensitive act, to be performed carefully. If you like someone’s picture, you run a risk of upsetting few others who are only ‘friends’ on FB but usually hate each other from bottom of their hearts. Also the person liked is encouraged to put those pictures again – if it’s about a morning walk the great guy has accomplished, then be prepared to see his entire itenary for next many days, with expert comments.

“Number’ of likes others have got is also a cause of enormous stress for few people. Recently, on a prank call in a radio show, a lady was ready to pay a heavy price to reduce the ‘likes’ of one of her ‘friends’ on a particular post.

FB also has a damaging feature of reminding you about the birthdays of your friends – excuse that you forgot to wish does not work anymore. Since there are many others wishing your friends on FB, you need to be different or witty, else you might fade away in the crowd. They also remind you on your friendship anniversaries with others, which creates an expectation of putting few emotional words as an acknowledgement !!

Bhutan apparently determines the ‘happiness index’ of its people as a measure of its success. If India does the same, we can be assured of splendid performance as most of these 240 million on FB seem quite happy. Incidentally, FB let’s you choose from 129 feelings while posting something, which ranges from ‘shandaar’ to ‘crappy’, though most people almost always ‘feel’ the former or something similar like ‘blissful’ or ‘cool’. Men who keep cribbing about their family life after 2 pegs are the ones who pronounce their wives on FB to be ‘pillar of strength’ and ‘reason of existence’ on marriage anniversaries. Things like ‘Singapore…here we come’ or ‘Dubai..we will miss you’ destroy the harmony (and budget) of many households !!

You also often feel like a loser while on FB as it seems everyone else is feeling so ‘joyful’ and ‘fulfilled’. For instance, I have been to various jungles and national parks but have never been able to spot a tiger but on FB everyone else seems to have a tryst with tigers quite frequently !!

While Whatsapp does not create similar pressure, one needs to be very careful in navigating through multiple groups of school/ college friends, apartment, office colleagues, family and so on…. There is always a risk of forwarding an appropriate joke or a picture to the inappropriate group, particularly when you’ve had couple of drinks. The feature of ‘last seen’ and ‘blue ticks’ as an evidence of having read the message can be damaging at times and delay in relying (if either of these conditions are satisfied) can be injurious for your relationship.

Ignoring the daily ‘good morning’ images (which was identified recently as a major reason of freezing of many smartphones in India) and similar such greetings can have similar repercussions. India Whatsapp enthusiasts sent a record 20 billion messages to exchange greetings when they ushered in 2018. Almost all of these were of course copy & paste. It does need some skill & care to ensure that you don’t forward the message with someone else’s name or reply to someone with identical message. This year I got a ‘wish you a very happy new year too’ message from few friends without me sending a ‘happy new year’ !! I was confused how to reply to those..

Uff….so much of stress…life is not easy…not certainly social media !!

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