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NEETI SARKAR
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TRENDS More people seem to be hopping off the social networking bandwagon, trading it for a ‘normal' life

AND I'M LOGGING OFF…To make sure I actually talk to people around and do more workPHOTO: AFP
AND I'M LOGGING OFF…To make sure I actually talk to people around and do more workPHOTO: AFP

It wasn't too long ago when all that people ever discussed was related to the social media. A dozen Tweets a day, uploading pictures and writing on walls on Facebook, adding friends to one's circle in a trice on Google Plus was what they were hooked on to.

Given that your colleagues are permanently signed into their Facebook accounts or that even your parents have mastered the art of commenting on wall posts, you would believe we're still caught in this worldwide web. But if reports are to be believed, youngsters in urban India have started experiencing social-media fatigue as they tend to log onto social networks less frequently than when they had signed up, according to a recently-concluded survey carried out by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

The survey suggests about 55 per cent of all the respondents (2,000 participants — equal number of males and females) said they have consciously reduced the time spent on social media.

Dire consequences

A majority of all the respondents said that compulsive social networking had led to insomnia, depression, poor inter-personal relationships, lack of concentration, and high level of anxiety, ignorance and rudeness in their behaviour as they tried to replace real-life social interactions with online social media.

Nearly 30 per cent of the respondents said they had deactivated or deleted their accounts and profiles from these websites, and it was no longer a craze among them. Many others said they had started maintaining a low profile on social networks as their privacy was being breached and that they visited their profiles once in a blue moon.

Tara Ninan, a collegian says: “It's boring to see constant senseless status updates over and over again, so I've reduced spending time on Facebook.” Change in networks such as Facebook seems to be one of the reasons people are logging into their accounts less. Rani Mathew, a mother of two teenagers, says: “Facebook has this new ‘Timeline' feature, and it is thoroughly confusing. I hate the layout; I don't like the site anymore.”

With people linking their accounts on social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter, seeing the same tweet / status on both sites gets quite bugging. Improved chat applications too seem to have a role in the decrease in the time one spends social networking. “Thanks to Blackberry Messenger, Whatsapp, Google Talk and Yahoo Messenger on our phones and computers, I'd rather chat than sit idle on social network sites,” opines Rohit Das, a musician.

There are those who have made a conscious decision to spend less time on these sites than normal. “My productivity at work has been so low that for three consecutive months I wasn't able to achieve my targets. That was the signal for me to deactivate my account, and I'm glad I did. I have more time to work, interact personally with people, and don't end up going to bed late. I've observed an overall progress in my general wellbeing,” explains Ashok Raman, a marketing executive.

Not bored yet...

While a large number of people is experiencing social fatigue, there are many who haven't yet caught the chill! “I love going through pictures of my friends and commenting on them as well as playing games,” says 16-year-old Shreya N. Her classmate Varun Kumar feels he needs to be logged on to Facebook all the time because his parents haven't given him a mobile yet!

Going by the state of social media affairs, one does come to realise a fad isn't called a fad for nothing. Just like people hopped from Hi5 to Orkut to Facebook, trends change, and what's here today is gone tomorrow. Maybe the death knell hasn't been sounded yet for social networking, but it is definitely losing its sheen, probably paving way for another fad. Next is what, we wonder!

NEETI SARKAR

In a recent survey, a majority of the respondents said that compulsive social networking had led to insomnia, depression, poor inter-personal relationships, lack of concentration, and high level of anxiety, ignorance and rudeness in their behaviour as they tried to replace real-life social interactions with online social media

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