Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)
No getting away from the digital world
I’m trying really hard to concentrate on the book in my hand, but the couple seated on the table behind me is in no mood to argue at a lower decibel. I look over my shoulder and realise I’m not the only one whose attention the young couple has caught. They’re barely out of their teens and by the looks of it, are having a lover’s tiff.
“You’ve not been answering my WhatsApp messages!” the girl accuses the guy.
“I always answer your messages, babe.”
“No! You answer half an hour after the ticks turn blue.” I can almost picture her sulking. “But babe, I always answer, no?” “Hmm. I know you’ve been ghosting me.” Ghosting? I abandon my book and a quick Google search tells me that it’s possible for an alive person to become a digital ghost. I know eavesdropping is rude but they were becoming louder with each argument, and honestly, the fight was giving me a lot of digital enlightenment.
They were trying to DTR (which now I know is ‘Define the Relationship’) and the girl had some major issues with them not being FBO (not even a remote cousin of HBO, but ‘Facebook Official’).
Half an hour later, they probably ran out of new age dating jargons and their fight seemingly ended on a lot of ‘awws’ and ‘baes’. And there I was, shamelessly Googling and adding words to my dictionary and feeling so far off from the new generation.
I’m a millennial too, but I consider myself a pretty average runner in the digital space. Though I do find it quite flattering when I see a huge number of likes and comments on my uploads, I don’t think I’ll lose any sleep if the numbers dip.
The couple had long left but I was still sitting there with my phone in one hand and a coffee mug in the other, thinking how important our digital lives have become for us. As if striking a balance between the personal and the professional life wasn’t enough, we also have a digital life to take care of.
Chester Bennington’s cheerful video recorded less than two days before he committed suicide had caught my attention, but what I didn’t know was that the urge to seem different and far from reality wasn’t something that was specific to the rich and famous. We are all bitten by the same bug. We not only put ‘filters’ on our pictures, but we also end up camouflaging our real self so well that the world sees only what we want them to see.
Suddenly liberated by this realisation, I decided to go off the radar and have a digital detox. I deactivated my Facebook and Instagram accounts, was checking my mails only twice a day and even restricted my usage of WhatsApp. The detox lasted, well, for about 10 days, before temptation set in.
The apps were downloaded, the accounts were reactivated, and I was online again. You ask why? Well, FOMO! For the uninitiated, it’s the Fear of Missing Out.
I’M A MILLENNIAL TOO, BUT I CONSIDER MYSELF A PRETTY AVERAGE RUNNER IN THE DIGITAL SPACE. THOUGH I DO FIND IT FLATTERING WHEN I SEE A HUGE NUMBER OF LIKES ON MY UPLOADS, I DON’T THINK I’LL LOSE ANY SLEEP IF THE NUMBERS DIP