If William Shakespeare was alive right now he would change ‘To be or not to be’ to ‘To post or not to post’.
When our mornings begin online and our nights end just the same, how much of our life is really ours? What is ‘private space’ when we post the most intimate moments online? Social media, without a doubt, is irreplaceable but the question right now is ‘Is it right to share your joys while the world is suffering?’ While one side argues over the insensitivity of doing that, the other talks about celebrating the small, happy moments amidst the chaos.
Mother’s Day just went by and this debate was all over. While some around me marked this special occasion with loving posts, others refrained from doing so. It was a toss between celebrating the love publicly or privately. Another viewpoint which was also going around was, ‘Why can’t we have a break day? A break from all the sadness, the anxiety, the constant pit in the stomach?’ In answer to this, another section talked of how for those suffering, there is no break, no distraction, no diversion that can take them away from reality. Then, this joyousness only serves as a trigger, a notice board which says ‘This is what happiness is and for you, it couldn’t be further away.’
While we are isolated in the safety of our homes, our connections are kept alive through social media. This connection, is a basic human need, be it in varying degrees. The urge to go online is much higher today, to check in on how friends and family are doing, to help out with medical needs, and even to just have an ordinary conversation. With even work having moved to the virtual realm, are we ever really offline? Where we spend our time the most is what should ideally be a haven. To achieve this, we need to find a balance, one which accommodates each person without stifling or scaring them.
A conversation with a few friends illuminated the different sides of the story, all felt by the same generation. One friend said, “The world around me is crumbling, everything is uncertain and reality is grim. And so, social media is my only escape. A happy picture is what gives me that glimmer of hope which keeps me sane.” Another friend had a different opinion. She said, “When loss abounds around us, that happy picture is only a reminder of the loss.” A guy friend was listening to this and chimed in, “Information is the most important thing right now and that’s precisely what will get lost amidst the smiles. We need to focus on what’s needed, and today, that’s not a happy picture.” This talk made me realise that everyone processes situations and deals with them in their own ways. For some, what’s a happy place, for others is overwhelming. What we need is sensitivity that allows each one to feel secure.
When faced with such scenarios, what do we really choose? I say choose to make this space a safe one for everyone. It’s all about evaluation; pondering over whether one post of yours might bring another person down today. If the answer is yes, keep it private. If not every day, let’s take this stance when our fellow humans are battling for their lives and for the lives of the ones they love.