There was a time when I’d wake up with Radio Nepal's signature tune at 6 am. These days, an alarm on my phone tries to rouse me, which I ‘snooze’ or ‘dismiss’. Before getting up, there are people like me who go to their social media accounts to see what happened in the world while they slept. And there are those who go to bathrooms carrying their cell phones and spend a little extra time while they do their chores. We show off what we ate on a Friday night, what lipstick or watch we wore, how much we ran, what gave us chills, where we went on vacations, the expensive gifts we gave or received. We tirelessly comment about politicians. We have a desire to become the extraordinary. If we support a person whose house has been swept away by floods, we pose with them handing a blanket and looking like the most generous and sensitive person on earth. But we also constantly fear being judged. If everyone is posting a picture of celebrating Teej and we don’t, ‘maybe we're not cultural enough.’ If we don't post on our wedding anniversary, people might think we have ‘troubled relation.’ Our thought process has been deeply affected by the world that we see through a small handheld screen.
There are around 80 million users (including myself ) of Facebook in Nepal who spend most of their times either chatting, browsing, liking, or commenting. Take a look at your family—do they spend more of their home-time or family-time using the little machines than on the little ones who are probably learning new words, or old ones with sickness who yearn for care, or the spouse seeking bonding time? If they do, your relationships have become less important than the online world!
But no, I don't mean that there are only addicted people. There are in fact conscious people who make an effort to stay away from social media, who prefer to make their minds agile by thinking, contemplating, and analyzing—without using the phone. But the population of the opposite is higher, who when they need to think, prefer assisted thinking, using Google’s Help for questions like ‘am I rude?' or ‘why men/women behave like that?’ I had a habit of maintaining a diary/journal. I wrote on and off for more than 10 years but ever since the mobile phones entered my life, my frequency went down and now, it’s a thing of the past.
Technological advancement is no doubt beneficial. News traveling across the globe in a fraction of second or getting close to your loved ones through free video calls are everyday highlights. But there are relationships that have died because of social media. We have been enslaved by these devices to the extent that we forget that there is a real world where people need to talk, feel, understand, and respond in person. And the more we are hooked consciously, the more dangerous it is.