thinkers

Tame that shrew called social media

Privacy is precious — don’t let the beast disembowel your life and eat you up whole

By Meher Murshed, Senior Hub Editor
17:31 October 1, 2017
altxt

Friends, Romans and countrymen; lend me your ears;
I come to bury Social Media, not to praise it.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones.
So let it be with Social Media.

With all due and the most sincerest of apologies to William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Brutus and of course Marc Antony, this emperor named Social Media has become a tyrant, making its subjects bow to its eternal demands, and every other whim and fancy.

Every waking second. Every moment in time. There is but one preoccupation: post on Insta (I have learnt the full form is something called Instagram); post on Facebook; post on Snapchat; post on twitter.

These are but a few instances of the tyrant taking your soul hostage. You must pay obeisance to The Majesty’s requests.

Selfie

Eating a boiled egg? Oh, remember to take a picture and post it on Insta. You see friends, Romans and countrymen may not know what a boiled egg looks like.

And while you’re at it, take a selfie with that boiled egg. Yes, because friends, Romans and countrymen have forgotten how you look like. The last selfie you posted was with the doorknob 15 minutes ago.

This tyrannical emperor is a strange beast of our times. Follow it you must. But letting it disembowel your life and then swallowing you whole is quite another matter.

Travelling from Delhi to Mumbai

Ah, that familiar dotted line that shows the flight path from Delhi to Mumbai. Unless you want to brush up my geography skills, is there really any need to tell everyone on Facebook that you’re travelling from Delhi to Mumbai? And you will return from Mumbai to Delhi in a few days, and once again, those dotted lines will appear on Facebook, revealing to me that undisclosed flight path, a well preserved secret. Seriously?

A small piece of advice: Now if you constantly tell people of your travel plans, you might be arming those whose intentions are not in your best interests.

Remember that poor child Kim Kardashian. Horrible thieves made off with her glittering jewellery because the lady had flaunted her whereabouts and her bling on social media. Those awful thieves acted upon all the information she so readily gave and ran away with her jewellery, leaving her very cross indeed.

So, please be careful the next time you travel from Mumbai to Delhi and you want to tell everyone about the undisclosed flight path.

Checked in to Hotel Exotica in Tahiti

This status on Facebook is accompanied by various pictures of you in various exotic locations in Tahiti. A selfie with a horrified shark; slithering down a water slide like an eel, with an orchid in one hand and a multi-hued drink in the other.

Your planning skills are par excellence. You had made sure the hotel had Wi-Fi everywhere so that you could upload your photos instantly, never mind that while on a holiday you’d normally want to get away from it all, be totally disconnected from the world.

But I admit it. You’ve scored.

You’ve made me horrendously jealous that you have checked into Hotel Exotica in this island of dreams. I only shuttle between Mumbai and Delhi and the best hotel I can afford is a tiny little inn by the roadside. The most exotic dish it serves is aloo paratha (bread stuffed with boiled potatoes and fried). So yes, I’m jealous. Are you happy? Proven that your biceps are bigger than mine?

But I have a question.

There was a time when a family holiday was a private affair. When you savoured time away with family, away from distractions and interference from the world. You took pictures and then pasted them carefully in a family photo album that you treasured for years with those closest to your soul. The albums were handed down generations, becoming more and more precious as the years flew past.

So what has changed? A time that was once private is now a time to flaunt to the world.

Because you are craving for likes?

Because you want to tell the world you have journeyed to the exotic environs of Tahiti?

Because you want to make a statement that you have arrived?

Because you want that tender ego to be massaged?

My guess is all these reasons are just nasty assumptions. You are a keen photographer and you are documenting locations and moments that few men have dared to put foot on and savour. Quite like David Attenborough.

Watching the Merchants of Death

At first I’m horrified at your taste in music. A head banger’s ball. Dressed in chains ... But once I gingerly come to terms with this persona I didn’t know existed under your goody two-shoes cape, I begin to wonder why did you post these clips from the concert that you attended?

Because you posted one yesterday. And the day before. Baffling.

Is it an attempt to tell me that you’re a music connoisseur, a purveyor of fine videos? Or that green-eyed devil is working its monstrous tentacles yet again. The one that you used on the way down that water slide in Tahiti, orchid in one hand and a multi-hued drink in the other? No, I’m not jealous this time. Because all you have done is tell me your taste in music really sucks.

Eating steak at La Cattle-e-Tarium

Goodness gracious. Why on earth have you taken a selfie with a raw steak? Blood oozing out of the meat. You could be charged with cruelty to animals and man.

I know how you look like. All your friends, Romans and countrymen by now know how you look. Even vain Narcissus has taken his gaze off himself to look at your hundredth selfie, a bit disturbed by your vanity. Eating steak at this fancy joint? But you’re vegetarian …

Social Media is dead. Long Live 
Social Media

By all means post on social media, but please inform and educate me or even entertain. Tell me about your accomplishments that I, as a friend, will admire and respect. Keep what’s private, private.

Back to Marc Antony. And with all due apologies to him, Julius Caesar, Brutus and William Shakespeare.

What cause withholds you then, to mourn for Social Media?
O judgement! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Social Media,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

So friends, Romans and countrymen, when this article is posted on social media, please give it a like and soothe my fragile ego even if you don’t bother to read it — like most often on social media.

One day, I will return the favour. #promise

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