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On the Social Dilemma

An artist,a poet at heart & a teacher by profession, pursuing masters in psychology now. Passionate about reading & writing the expressions.

on-the-social-dilemma

The Story of 90s

I have lived my childhood in 90s, the time when even television was considered as a taboo. Our parents didn't allow us to watch television. I don't remember going to the theatre in my childhood, neither did I have any movie at home. My father was strictly against watching television. He believed that it can ruin our mind and we could get corrupted.

I remember the occasion of Diwali, one of the most romantic Bollywood movie was aired on television that night, "Maine Pyar Kiya" (I have loved). That's a typical Bollywood love story with a revolutionary couple who go against their families to stay together. There was not such scenes or dialogue in the movie that we have in almost every movie today, but our father was so angry looking at the television on which all our eyes were stuck that he switched off the television and warned us not to watch any movie in future.

Forget about mobile phones, we didn't even have wireless at that time. There were only very important calls for which the telephone at our home was used. We were not allowed to call our friends on the telephone.

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First Interaction With Social Media

So, I got my first phone when I was married to a very tall, handsome, extremely intelligent and well settled young man in the year 2004. As we couldn't stay together, it was the mobile phone which made us feel that we were still together despite staying thousands of kilometres apart. We did talk for several hours at night or day and yes, I couldn't concentrate on my studies and devoted my whole time to my dear husband or the phone that I had got.

With the passage of time, within a few months, our topics of conversation almost finished and there were not such sort of long calls that we had in the beginning. Also, the calls were very expensive at that time so we switched more to text messages. I started to compose love poems for him on the text messages. In the year 2009, a tragedy happened to me. That was the time I got much closer to my husband who stayed for almost two months to help me come out of that tragic situation. Since our marriage, it was the first time we stayed so long with each other. And that was the time I was introduced to Google, gmail and facebook.

Yes, it was my husband who created an account for me. I was not active on social media then. However, when I started to feel lonely and found the solace on a few of my facebook friends who were actually my long lost school friends. I was so excited to meet them on facebook. I got to know about all my school friends and teachers and wanted to know more and more about their whereabouts. This is how my journey of social media started. Though at that time it was just to communicate with my family and school friends.

Google was a kind of boon for me as I could complete my graduation in English literature only with the assistance of Google. It became one of my best friend, my mentor, my guide, my all-time assistant. Whenever I wanted to know the answer to any question, I would type that on google help and got the results.

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The Addiction

I was pregnant for six months in the Nov of 2013. My husband had started to avoid any conversations with me. He was not picking up my calls and his phone was almost always busy.

We had started to stay together since 2011. I was feeling very lonely. He had very different tastes than mine. Cricket, cricket and cricket all the time on weekends, which I hated like hell. Actually, I felt jealous of that cricket which gained so much of his attention. He never bothered about my looks or any of my interests. Each day looked like a year for me and I started to feel worthless. Though I was working as a teacher, I couldn't get the true meaning of my life. There was some unfulfilled inner desire. Some vacant space was there within.Something looked missing and that is when I took a decision of having a second child.

I used to see my facebook account with about 300 friends, almost all were either my relatives or school friends. I started to write poems on a few poetry groups but since I didn't get any response there I considered myself as a flop poetess and stopped using facebook.

The changed behaviour of my husband was troubling me. My pregnancy was also a bit troublesome and I was on complete bed rest. I still remember that night. I couldn't sleep at all. My husband was sleeping in the drawing-room for about a few days. I came out, picked up his phone just to check with which client he remained so busy. It was his fingerprint that I had to use to switch on the mobile and I got access to all his social media account. And Bang! There it was. He was busy with his long lost school's crush whom he had met after some 23 years on facebook. The conversation was crystal clear showing that I meant nothing for him and he considered me just as a burden that he had to carry because of the family pressure.

There started our arguments and my addiction. I started to get addicted to social media to just spy on my husband. We had so many fights, arguments for this and later on I got many pieces of evidence from the husband of the lady who was considered as the soulmate of my husband. I could see their intimate pictures, all their conversation, the tickets of their trips, which affirmed all my suspicions. But being the mother of the two daughters, I had to bow down against my personal aggression and begged my husband to let me stay with him.

Ironically, the husband blamed me for ruining our relation as I told about his affair to our parents and his close friend. He was not ready to stay with me anymore and abandoned me with our two daughters. That is the time I was totally into social media. Facebook became my best friend then. I was so obliged to facebook as it was my true divine companion. The videos of my likes, the news material of my choice and so on. Till the year 2019 I was having almost five thousand friends. That is when I realized that I was in an illusive world.

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The Resurrection

There is something wrong when you find out that everything is going very well without any kind of change. I was thoughtful at times how facebook knew about all my flavours. Then I came across a few articles and the news of Snowden was like a thunderstruck. I watched the movie based on his life and realized that it was insane to be trapped in the illusive world of social media which shows the world in such a way using a few tricks of psychology that any individual can be fooled.

I realised the meaning of these words, "If you are not paying for a product then you are the product." I stopped using facebook and used that only for some specific groups and friends connection. I tried to filter the friend list as well. Foolishly, I was engaged in that for about two days, but found it unreasonable and had to leave it as it was.

Complete Shut Down

While I've never been so active on facebook but used it at regular interval to read a few poems and articles in popular poetry groups. Also, I used to watch a few videos now and then. That took a lot of my time as I was tempted to watch more and more of the videos of my interest.

Today I watched 'the social dilemma' on Netflix and it really helped me to come out of that dilemma of visiting those sites even for a few moments that added to many more moments. Just after watching that documentary, I removed all the social media apps from my mobile phone.

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On the Documentary 'The Social Dilemma'

Thanks to Triston Harris (former design ethicist for google) who came with such evidence against the AI showing us how foolish we people who easily become the slaves of this man-made intelligence.

The documentary showed us social media is not trying to entertain us all free of cost but with a motif to get us engaged on the screens. They just trigger all the points that they can provoke to keep us stuck to the screen. We are evolved as social animals who want to know more and more about what's hidden behind the curtain. The social media tries to present all those things on our platter to serve us the food that they know might be delicious for us. We get to see what we are interested in and getting that dopamines are released making us more and more addicted to those platforms. We are appeased by the loves, likes and comments online forgetting that it's all elusive behind the screens. We start getting trapped in the virtual world creating more and more distance from the real world. As a human, we all want to know the view and opinion of others about ourselves, but how real it can be when someone is responding to our filtered photograph with some enhanced special effects. Does this fake, brittle and short-lived popularity of social media likes and loves make any sense?

It has been found that numerous teens have approached for the surgery willing to have a face that is presented on their filtered picture. The suicide rates of teen girls have increased to 150% since social media was introduced.

Anyone who feels lonely, dejected or depressed just move to social media seeking some solace. But at what cost?

The social media has got all the information about us, how much time we spend on what video or picture, how long we keep on staring any particular picture or message everything is saved in its algorithms. This algorithm is increasing polarization in society. There is a specific algorithm for a specific set of people and their news feed, videos etc depend on that. Even the false news is presented in such a way that the viewer has to believe in the truth of that however nonsensical the matter might be.

This social media has created more and more distance between two friends and close relatives than getting friends from different lands together. It is us as individuals who really need to decide what's right or wrong, what's true or false, what's real or fake, and what's to doubt or to question. While the so-called social media is trying to manipulate our beliefs and perception through what it's trying to show us on our tempting platter.

"If we don't agree on what is true or that there is such a thing as truth, we are toast."


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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Anupam Mitu

Comments

Anupam Mitu (author) from MUMBAI on October 07, 2020:

Thank you so much Robert for your valuable comment.

I did visit facebook at numerous occasion to find out if someone has said sth on my poems or writings or to watch a few of the suggested videos. But because of that I forgot the sense of time.. For about two weeks I have not visited Facebook for any purpose and deleted all the social media accounts except whatsapp as that's for official use.

Now for poems and writeups I use hubpages and Saavan (for hindi writings)

Though here also I wait for the comments and feel delighted to find that someone has read me.

God bless you dear

Robert Henry Ditmore MA MEd from MORRISON on October 07, 2020:

Outstanding article! Social Media, like some medications, drinks, or even food can be a blessing; however, the instant we lose control of them, we have conceded control to them. I too watched "The Social Dilemma" and am now making changes myself.

In regards to the other struggles you mentioned, I pray life is now treating you well.

Anupam Mitu (author) from MUMBAI on October 04, 2020:

Thank you Umesh for reading this.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 04, 2020:

A nice analysis. Good reading.

Anupam Mitu (author) from MUMBAI on September 29, 2020:

You are so right DreamerMeg. We do need to take a wise decision. I agree that there are so many good forums on facebook as well. But opening the account means you will get several other tempting recommendations and that results in spending the time even noticing it. I have repented at many occasions for spending much time on facebook just trying to explore more and more and at the end getting nothing solid.

Thank God and that documentary, since then I have not opened my Facebook account.

I will not leave it but will visit that once I get strong will power to go only for that what is really required, not to wander here and there aimlessly.

Like here at HubPages, I could see numerous articles that I wish to read but because of the time constraints I keep it in my reading list to visit later.

DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on September 29, 2020:

Your father was very wise, yet we all have to learn for ourselves. My husband watched that same film the other night. He has never had a Facebook account and that confirmed him in his belief not to have one. I have an account and am considering giving it up.

Anupam Mitu (author) from MUMBAI on September 28, 2020:

Thank you Dora.

Lots of love and blessings.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on September 28, 2020:

Anupam, thanks for sharing your experience about social media addiction. Your honesty and awakening will help someone, probably many.

Anupam Mitu (author) from MUMBAI on September 27, 2020:

Thank you so much dear Kalpana for reading and commenting. I read a few of your works too. You are a talented writer.

Kalpana Iyer from India on September 26, 2020:

You are so refreshingly honest. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I had seen the documentary on Netflix. Made me feel extremely worried for the future generation. I lived my childhood in the 90's too. Those were the best times - a mix of modern and traditional. Children nowadays are too hooked onto social media and seeking validation from others which is not healthy.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on September 26, 2020:

You are right Anupam.

The recent transformation of the niche sites, has no comments section. I don't know whether they will reinstate the same or not. You might check your own articles, if they are on niche sites.

I am sure, you must have received email regarding this. You might check some of the related forum threads in this regard.

Thank you.

Anupam Mitu (author) from MUMBAI on September 26, 2020:

Chitrangada, nice to see you. Thanks for reading and commenting.

I went to read a few of your articles. Surprisingly, I'm not able to comment on Letterpile, Owlcassion or the other websites. I can't find a comment option there.

Hope you are doing well

Lots of love and blessings

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on September 26, 2020:

Nice and thought provoking article.

Social media is the reality of today. While there are plus points, there are some minus points, as well. We must use it, with our own personal wisdom. Addiction is bad, no doubt, and one has to make a conscious effort to avoid addiction, which is not so difficult.

Thank you for sharing this valuable and insightful article.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on September 25, 2020:

Yes, you are right Anupam..I shouldn’t have used the word unfortunate as everything does happen for a reason and any obstacles make us stronger and more resilient people. You are an example.

Anupam Mitu (author) from MUMBAI on September 25, 2020:

Anu Pal: Thank you so much dear for reading and commenting.

Arvind Prabhakar: You are so true. There is no distinction in between what's real or fake. You can find out many obligatory posts on Facebook, many fake profiles, so much of open abuse, is Facebook doing anything against that? It's busy getting the viewers and preserving their data.

Mary Norton: Yes dear. You are right. It's us to judge whether we have to remain unconscious stuck to the screen or use our senses to use the devise and app appropriately. We are the best judge to take decision for ourselves.

Eric Dierker: Hahaha! You people? Is it a joke Eric? The whole world is in the trap, not any particular nation or gender. And I should accept that at some point yes I was addicted to this as if it was a drug for me. The same sort of hallucination and contentment in this elusive world of social media. To be honest, I tried thrice to just peep my facebook account to check if someone had commented or said something to me there. My next article will be based on that.

John: It's nice to hear from you dear. Sorry dear, but I don't believe that anything that happens to us can be unfortunate. Whatever I am today is just because of that. I always wanted this life without any restriction and I am just living my dream. I do believe in this, "Whatever happens, that happens for good, we just need to adapt ourselves."

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on September 25, 2020:

This was a very informative article, Anupam. Thank you for sharing your unfortunate story as well. I do use social media such as Facebook and Instagram (Mainly just to talk to family and a few friends) but not often and am certainly not addicted to it. Nice work.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 24, 2020:

What a story I am having trouble actually believing it. Really you people get that far out there?

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on September 24, 2020:

I watched the documentary last night and it opened my eyes to many things. I would not consider myself an addict as I use these social media as tools. I see the ads targeted at me based on what they know of me but I don't bother to click on them. I hardly go to Facebook or any social media except sometimes to give support to my friends.

Arvind Prabhakar on September 24, 2020:

The worst part of social media is about regulation, for ex there is no way to detect b/w a false news and fact.

The other important aspect is technical knowledge , a common man even today doesn't know how these technologies work, the way AI is advancing and the money lust behind these social media houses.

Technologies, computers, internet has been fancy from their inception days...So having all such at your fingertips is most addictive things to have.

Anu pal on September 24, 2020:

Very informative