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Into the virtual world

Journal writing has lost its essence into a phase where people cherish social networking sites as personal diaries.

Sahasika Zaman |

How often do we check our phones, every half an hour or 20 minutes?  Phones are used mainly for calling, sending and receiving messages but smart phones provide ways to get closer to the social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, Skype, to name a few. Our lives revolve around these social networking platforms. 
We share our Instagram snaps on Facebook, post screenshots of awkward Snapchat selfies, and sometimes actually write a status about ‘what’s really on our minds’. 
We allow almost everyone to take a closer look at what has been happening in our lives which is similar to approving full access to the inside scoop of our daily lives.  Thus, it is true that journal writing has lost its essence into a phase where people cherish social networking sites as personal diaries and write whatever comes to their mind, no matter how meaningless or hilarious it may be. 
It takes only a fraction of seconds before we become decisive about being friends with someone, whether we are known to him or her; whereas in verity it takes a lot of time to actually develop friendship or a proper understanding between the two. 
On the contrary, we don’t hesitate to ‘unfriend’ or block someone if he or she doesn’t cater to our choices. This has  ruined the true meaning of friendship.
What would happen if they all were shut down at once? Can we imagine a world of “un-likes” and “pokes”? No photo uploads or status updates? 
While our mind begins to debate on such glaring questions, we have probable answers to it. People would more likely be less inclined to charge up their phones or activate internet balances, instead they would communicate more with others, spend more time with one another and befriend only those who they really know, rather want to know better.
For a multitude of people, the web would grow amok and a lot of heated arguments would take off. Some would badly miss the long passive aggressive posts on Facebook and a heated number of arguments in the comment box leading to a fiery concoction of approvals and disapprovals among ‘friends’.
Similarly, the others would miss how mindfully they would have set up trends #socialnetworkingshutdown in twitter. 
Taking a look at Instagram, people would no longer be able to share their photos on Facebook, claiming they were in Venice, Italy. That would be nice!
Most people wouldn’t set the location to something like pre-prom, Mount Kilimanjaro. Goodbye to those extra ‘likes’ and ‘loves’ on Facebook and the double tapping because, in case you forgot, Facebook owns Instagram. 
It is true that nowadays people wish to visit places only to upload their photos while living in their dream cities and dining in some extravagant restaurant. 
Quite a few people have their Snapchat accounts. Regardless of who uses it and why, chances are people have taken numerous selfies with strange face distorting filters, the famous big, creepy-eyed ones, and the ever-so-disturbing face swap filters. When friends send these kinds of feather-brained pictures via Snapchat, it is only natural that the receiver takes screenshots of those. 
But then, what do people do with these Snapchat screenshots? They probably don’t miss a chance to post these pictures on their friend’s timeline on their birthday. 
One might also store all these screenshots on one’s computer or laptop either because they forgot about them or to compile a slideshow for their birthday or maybe on their wedding reception. 
Coming to WhatsApp, it is an app that involves communication via our phone number. One can make calls and chat through the app, without going through the service provider. 
With almost one billion users worldwide, the app makes it easier to connect with friends and family across the globe. WhatsApp and Messenger are essentially one and the same. 
Besides possessing the ability to text and call, they have one more thing in common, they’re both owned by Facebook. This indeed would hamper the communication of people. However this would prove beneficial on the other hand as it will allow face-to-face conversations, rather than virtual ones. 
If all the social networking sites shut down, we would probably spend more time away from our phones and would begin to live in the real world. We would no longer be able to post articles on Facebook, as they are usually shared through it. 
We would spend more time reading books, conversing with near ones, make time for ourselves and will benefit our eyes by not wearing thicker glasses. 
So, let’s make more time for ourselves and build up real and social relations by being closer to our near ones. Let’s converse in real time with our parents and friends. Last but not the least, let’s not lose our essence in the real world.
Coordinator, Class IX, St Mary’s High School, Coochbehar