The Chat revolution: Bringing us together or ripping us apart?
The other day I saw my mother ‘whatsapping’ (Yes! this is a verb) her house-helper regarding the change in work schedule for the coming weekend- while I was still trying to get over what I had just seen with keen eyes and gasping open mouth like I had seen a ghost, she simply switched the window to chat with the ‘mom & pop’ store owner in the vicinity asking him to deliver some groceries by evening.
It was then, I was hit with the moment of epiphany – something had changed.
From 1876, when Graham bell got a patent for the apparatus which was later called a telephone, to the era of smart phones, world is no longer the same place to live in. As smartphones continue to evolve amazingly taking gigantic leaps towards easier and faster ways to connect, it is incredible to see, how most of us, if not all, have become slaves to these tiny little smart devices, under the grip of the chat and snap ghost.
You don’t believe me ? Just step out the door, and see for yourself- most people have a pair of headphones stuffed up their ears or thumbs sliding away into meaningless chats or faces posing towards umpteen pouty selfies.
The ‘snapchats’ and ‘whatsapps’ of the world have transformed the way we think about others – the groups we belong to, the way we connect with people we love and the information we know and share. In fact, the story of this decade is the story – in all its strange sinews – of the ‘Chat to connect’ phenomenon.
We wish our siblings on birthdays or festivals over chat apps, we send common broadcast wishes on festive occasions, to that extent- we even congratulate a new mother for her new born over chat and ask for her tiny tot’s picture. How cool is that, right?
Well! It is all a matter of perception. From the outside view, they claim of bringing the world together, but what they are really doing is the exact opposite. The chat revolution has become our greatest friend and our greatest foe, both at the same time.
While it has enabled us to stay in touch with people no matter how far away they may be from us but in doing so it has drifted us apart from our family or friends who may just be sitting in the next room.
It has sucked out the possibilities of sitting in each other’s pockets to have coffee or visiting relatives with a box of sweets on Diwali. Even when hanging out with friends, we are just looking at that green notification on the top left corner of our phone, instead of talking to friends we set with, or holding conversation and engaging with each other! We have all become the ‘ Sherlock Holmes’ of the whatsapp world connecting the dots between every ‘last seen’ time, ‘status’ & ‘ display picture’ of people to find out what’s going on in their life. Pick up the phone Damn it! If you are so interested.
Ultimately, It is up to us how selectively we choose to connect over such platforms. For a fact, it is those tight hugs, kiss on the forehead, eye contacts, and hand on the shoulder, that bring us closer whereas digital interactions are simply cold, inhuman and impersonal.
Think about it- Aren’t we getting closer to people who are far away from us at the cost of the time we should be spending with the ones we live with or the ones we are really close to? Deep down you know the answer is yes.