The World of Screens – social media and dual lives

Social media has created dual lives.
Dubious living operates on several levels.

Level one
You have this actual lifestyle and another fanciful creation that you showcase on social media, which doesn’t really exist in reality.
Its just like portraying a concept, that may have been, if desires matched reality!

Like the photographs you post, the opinions and forwards you share. For instance, as a counsellor I like to “be seen” sharing about children /families/conflicts/human development/psychology/ mental health and well being but definitely not about,say, fashion and films.

We like to be known in a particular way and social media provides us that glittery stage to perform like a star, at a click-and-a tap! We can create and present a new version of ourselves each day and change this to suit the moment and audience.

Level two
We have these dubious friendships.
As outrageous as it sounds,”friends” we will divide into two broad categories.

1.Those people we share information with all day over social platforms. We call them “friends” in the absence of a better way to describe them. You could call them accomplices, as you exchange pleasantries with them almost every time you are in the “social ring”. They sound encouraging with a wow, a like,a thumbs up, a well-done or an awesome!

You share information with them…lots of it, each day, which is of no real significance in your day-to-day stress or business of living!

In fact a lot of you train your mind to conceive them as real friends, in the absence of “true love” kind of friendships in your life. They tend to fill up some spaces of emotional deficit or just your time maybe.
Now, some of them do end up becoming significant for you, but most don’t.

2. Real friendships are a habit of the heart. They are not like conscious intentional choices you make, they just happen!
Its true friendship when it is not based on any single need, like most other relationships are.
If it lasts only while the social situation lasts, or fulfills needs of time and space, it isn’t true love and therefore doesn’t qualify to be the second kind of real friendship we were talking about.
Favors, parties, social meetings, peer pressure, sugary exchanges and short term gains do not define a friendship. Only true love does!

Level three
Perhaps this is the most dangerous level of dual existence. It is characterized by dubious constructs which you erect in your mind. The exclusionary world which you desire to be a part of, takes you away from your reality, mindfulness, real life and real people/friends.

So you start believing that you look like that filtered and edited photograph of yours. You believe you belong where you don’t; you portray a version of yourself, which doesn’t seem like you, to your real family and friends.

This is a consequence of severe dual existence or dubious friendships and could happen inside your mind, independent of other people or pressures. This mindlessness is risky and a threat to your sanity!

The Cyber powered world hypes fear and fakery.

You bake and sugar coat almost every bit of you – your dressing style, sweet smiles, sugar dusted words, fake laughter.

You may even fancy ‘wrap’ your spouse and kids to look the ‘part’; exaggerate your income and lifestyle, turn your house upside down to receive that person you wish to impress, hoping it will help you to “fit in”.

All of it just to match the expectations of your audience and followers in the world of screens. You remain guarded for most of the hours you remain awake. Not sure if its a hard situation to be in or a sad one.

In such craziness, its important to teach kids to choose thoughts carefully, as brain science tells that the brain believes what it sees, hears and what its fed!

Directing kids can be extremely tough when adults are finding common ground with their own self.

Duality is almost the norm.

Social media beautifully supports interactions and the need to communicate swiftly, but can work dangerously against the human connection, when used as a replacement to a real smile, those glad eyes and a warm hug; or for that matter, even a resentful voice, a jealous face and a mean sarcastic snub. Something so singular about those too!

Rohini Sethi                                                                                                                                        

Child Development Consultant