Are we raising an emotionally unstable generation? Are we the emotionally unstable generation? Are you emotionally unstable?
How will you feel if a person you want to talk to is right in front of you, yet you are not allowed to speak? Imagine a glass wall between you both which is transparent at one end and opaque at other end. You are not aware of the wall. You can see the person thinking he/she can see you and listen to you. Yet everytime you speak, you are speaking to a wall, unaware. That’s what is happening with our generation of social media and mobile devices. That little device in your pocket is cause of connected yet lonely world.
Well, this post is not to rant about mobile phones. It is a marvellous piece of Engineering. The idea of connected world is not bad at all. But the idea of always connected yet disconnected is doing no good either. Remember, we are social animals. Having good connections, speaking with each other, sharing with each other makes us human. Here is a catch. We are programmed to have deep meaningful relations, emotions, conversations in life. Yet, the tools we progressively adopted are doing just to opposite. The concerning part is we are aware of this and yet we are figuring out how to accept it. Make it a new normal.
This post is specifically about passive communication. Passive communication is when we intend to pass a message to someone or a group but we are not doing it directly. We are using other means which offer instant gratification and sense of sharing but deep down we know, it is not what we intended. Instead of fixing it with active communication, we use the same medium of passive communication to pass the void feelings which we got from the first try. Before we know, we are in matrix.
Lately, at the time of writing this post. Most of the so called social tools (Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter, etc) have introduced a concept of story. A 24 hour passive communication you can use to showcase highlights of the day, share any knowledge. Technically, It is quick digestable data format. But somehow, we figured it is the best passive communication tool we had been waiting for.
In not so old times, when 2 friends/lovers fought. They used to converse indirectly via 3rd person. Asking children to pass a message. Using a common friend as mediator. It was a right balanced form of active-passive-communication. Both parties knew what is going on and there were hints around.
But now, we use stories & posts. Indirect wishes and indirect message passing. Lately I witnessed a couple of funny stories. A married friend’s wife gifted him something. She posted a story with gift and tagged my friend. Then my friend took a screenshot of that story and posted his own with Thanks, tagging her back (It is going to piss a lot of people). Remember, they live under the same roof. Another common usecase is people wishing each other on special occasions. Imagine Gari and Khan are friends. Gari posted a story with Khan’s photo and a nice Happy Birthday GIF. Now Khan takes screenshot of the story and posts his own tagging Gari. Do you see where is it going? The intimacy of relationship is tagged for 24 hours. We are broadcasting a unicast message. The occasion was about them and suddenly it becomes about us. Purpose lost?
Coming to one-on-one messages. When we post that message story, that song video, that life advice, most of the times we intend that someone-special to look into our passive message. We want him/her to initiate conversation. We want him/her to appreciate us. But why are we not doing it directly? Maybe we are afraid! Afraid of rejection, afriad of vulnerability, afraid of real human connection.
We are are responsible, culprit and suspects. We must not forget the real value of those deep conversations, deep relations, the real active communication. Make that special day about them and not about you. Do not raise your kids to speak with you over text messages and stories. Express your emotions, talk to that crush of yours, tell someone how much you like them, appreciate someone on a phone call if you can not meet, Plan physical meetings time to time.
Trust me, broken hearts are better than unread messages