PHOTO BY: ANINDITA HANADHYAS
Try to go over our regular bustles in a day, and it would look more or less like this: checking our phone first thing in the morning which then followed by working behind screens whilst getting distracted by a few countless funny videos and scandalous headlines we can’t seem to help but click. A day would not also simply pass without mindlessly scrolling through social media timelines for seemingly infinite hours and admit it, we all have our fair share of falling asleep in front of gadgets that we rarely allow to fully shut down.
People has grown so wired to technology that things we once see as irrelevant are practically our lifelines—Wi-Fi passwords and phone chargers, for instance. We simply can’t bear the isolation of not being online. Such dependency leads to a notion that technology is ruining our life. It is also deprived us from ‘real interactions’. But what is ‘real’ anyways?
There’s no guarantee that a face to face talk is more real than its online counterparts because often times it only brought us to a surface of information. On the contrary, it is online where we can freely share our thoughts without fear of being a subject of others’ direct judgment. Also, with all the freedom to express in the online sphere, there are good chances for our authentic thoughts to be exposed—and to be exposed to others’ thoughts in exchange. According to Manuel Castells, Wallis Annenberg Chair Professor of Communication Technology and Society at the University of Southern California, in online world, community is formed through individuals’ quests for like-minded people.
Online world allows people to form community based on shared values and ideas, not just because they have to like we often do in physical space. It results in a bond that is more authentic as well. However, he further states that those communication process usually combines online interaction with offline interaction, cyberspace, and the local space. Implying that while we should embrace the online space, we should optimize the other domains as well.
It’s important to proportionally combine online and offline according which is best used for what. As to conclude, while there are bad behaviors associated with being online, leading a completely plugged-out life is downright impractical and is a form of resistant towards progress—a good progress. From now on, try to see it this way: Online world doesn’t ruin our life, but our incapability to use it wisely does. Online world simply alters our life, and even gives us more options to communicate. It’s a matter of how we utilize it, keep everything in balance, and become a boss (instead of a slave) of it.