News ID: 319178
Published: 0249 GMT January 04, 2022

Social media are more frustrating than they first appeared

Social media are more frustrating than they first appeared

By Hasti Roshani*

“So stupid to put all your hopes in a promise that was never made,” said Kate Winslet in the ‘Revolutionary Road’. That’s almost what happened with the social media for the youth my age. Almost. A promise was made, at least implicitly. A promise to facilitate life, to make communication easier and more effective, to lead a more productive career. To make living safer and more secure.

“You can get to know people from the comfort of your privacy without having to meet in public,” says Niloufar, 20, a student of medicine.

Another testimony comes from Elena, 13, a high school student: “Instead of laboring for hours in old-fashioned libraries, a quick search in the web can provide me with a lot of information within minutes.”

And, of course, there were perceived advantages of e-learning, especially in the time of the coronavirus: “The pandemic made home-staying kids use the new technologies to catch up with their schoolwork,” says Linda, 42, mother of two.

The distance, of course, lends enchantment to the view. In practice, such promises are only half-delivered, if not broken altogether. There are obvious cases of frustration.

“Lack of physical evidence makes it harder to trust people,” said Raha, 25, master of business administration, who lost some serious money to a fraudulent Instagram shop.

“I ordered a beautiful dress to wear at my sister’s engagement party. I paid 35 dollars in advance. And what I got was so horrible that could only be worn at a tacky party.”

And there are more hidden costs to bear. To begin with, there is the issue of wasted time.

“On many occasions, I have suddenly noticed that I have spent many hours wandering about aimlessly in the web,” said Elena.

That lost time often translates into wasted money, especially for the net bandwidth which the users unconsciously spend while browsing the web for god-knows-what as they lose focus. Explaining its adverse effect on e-learning, Linda lamented, as is expected of mothers of the new generation, “When they are meant to study, the kids frequently use their cellphones to check social media, like Instagram photos, or chat with their friends.”

And the users tend to lose other valuable things usually taken for granted.

“Lacking face-to-face contact, teachers and students cannot make an easy connection as they just look at a screen. It just doesn’t click between them!” said Leila, 40, a high school teacher.

Such ebbs and flows of collective hopes and frustrations in dealing with a new technology are especially interesting to me, both as a student of history, and as an 18-year-old, who is admittedly somehow dependent on the new media. That said, I welcome taking any new tool with the proverbial grain of salt. Call me a half-empty kind of gal. That’s fine by me. The glass is indeed half empty.


*Hasti Roshani is a guest contributor based in Tehran.



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