Plato, in the Allegory of the Cave, has transparently explained, in the dubious world, about the differences between the reality and the appearances. Sure it was written millennium ago, but it still grips the appalling and compelling truth, which almost all people encounter in their daily lives, yet many blur the thin line between them. In the cave Plato described, people from their birth were tied to chains so that they could not move, let alone see around. Behind them was a fire that projected shadows of various forms on a wall that they could see when people—living outside the cave—walked, carrying animals in their head. Since the inmates were unaware of the existence of the real word, they speculated and had a belief that the shadow was the real world! Such similar situation slithers in our survival. We are the prisoners and the social medias, most of the times, are the shadows, which were thought to be authentic but always have a hidden credence that insinuates and fuels in the loss of our individualism.
In the vastness of the land, there might be a very few who are detached from the social-media-life, however, the number of people who are not able to surf the waves that visit us daily are in gigantic rate. I don’t mean that the waves have only done harm to us, but if we disregard the harms done by the social media, then, one day, it might overcome the advantages too. A certain news flashes on the screen, we, without a delay, do everything—share, like, react, regret, rejoice or anything that can be done to the post. Of course, there is no wrong in doing that: the world, too, needs to be aware of that news. Since many of us are unaware of the reliability and intention of that news, we are more susceptible to the influences. We are unaware about the circus behind the curtain, and even if we are aware, we don’t know the plot. Ultimately, we are being submissive and ending up as victim i.e. losing our individualism to social media maneuvers.
The profounder of the philosophy of individualism, Ayan Rand, writes in her book, The Racism, “individualism regards man—every man—as an independent, sovereign entity who possesses an inalienable right to his own life, a right derived from his nature as a rational being.” But when an individual is hugely influenced by any social media or group, s/he loses her/his independence and sovereignty, mixing herself/himself in the stream of collectiveness. And collectiveness is that plague which kills the creativity, originality, and the uniqueness of an individual.
Simply, social media connects the world, no doubt. Torrents of posts touching every field enshroud the internet every day. And there are thousands of opinions and beliefs in just a word. So whom should we trust? Which media is more authentic? And who is there to say that one is more authentic and authoritative than the other? At first, the social media miscible the thoughts and feelings of every single soul in the world making us more confused. Secondly, there are no authentic sites that can be trusted than the other. Thus, we have been accustomed to listening to the media that most people listen to, though it might be providing false news. So when we don’t and can’t hear our inner call and just walk the path others have been walking, then we lose our singularity. In fact, in that state, judging others itself becomes biased. When we follow the biggest herd, we assume we are following the truth and we have found a company. De facto, irony it is, group is the place where we are usually lost.
The power of social Medias can never be underestimated and predicted as well. A Pakistani boy, for instance, whose photo, in which he’s pouring tea, appeared on the Internet went viral. (Probably, he won’t have to sell tea anymore after this fortune). His intoxicating blue eyes and charismatic face could seduce anybody, but besides that what special was there in that photo which made him notable? So far, nothing! He became a blockbuster hit, anyway. The credit goes to the social media and the ‘mass psychology’. There were very meager chances that he would have reached the apex if it weren’t for social media. As pointed out in Michigan State University’s Dr. Robert Larose’s research paper, Connection Overload? A Cross-Cultural Study of the Consequences of Social Media Connection, “growing attention is being paid to the cumulative impacts of the continual barrage of e-mail, text messages, Facebook notifications, and tweets experienced by many users which are paralleled by the mounting demands of responding and maintain connections with online friends and followers.” To be more concise, when the number of people liking his photo was upheaving (that no doubt was because of his handsomeness) the rest world started to be overwhelmed just because the other half thought it was a beautiful one. It has become bandwagon to be influenced by the rest of the world and lose ourselves in that transactions.
The recent one: Trump, for instance, has won the election, yes he has! But the perusal on his past and predictions regarding his future plans still prevails. Critiques, social media, and even Clinton’s supporters still have a hard time believing how he won the election despite the prognostication of Hillary winning the election throughout the social media. Though Clinton won the most popular votes, Trump homed the president-ship (thanks to Electoral College!). The social media, at large, camouflaged the truth from the public, in this case as well. Many people thought Clinton would win the election, after all, it’s mushroomed in the social media (ignoring the fact that media was biased). However, many of us are unaware of the fact that when we like something from the social media, the algorithms notice and show the related posts. So, when we like a post about Clinton winning the election, then we are likely to encounter the related pages — Clinton will win the election. And after seeing a couple of posts, we become certain that universe lies within them. Nevertheless, social media alone cannot be blamed, it is our faults too—because we have already stopped hearing from within. We have become the marionette of the social media such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram. They are the Gods for us, and we are their followers.
Many newspapers, at first, wrote that RCN cable operator in Boston showed thirty-minute hardcore porn on CNN, but later, the same newspapers, including the US today wrote: “False CNN-porn report shows how fast fake news spreads”. Many people thought that too as a true news and walked in the shadow of that news without speculating thereof. Well, I am not confessing to people that social media should be used at a minimal rate, rather stressing on the presence of loophole between the pliable minds and the social Medias and the necessity to understand it. Otherwise, the onslaught of media’s dominance in every vein of ours is sure.
When the inner us is not the master of ours, then we will never live a single day on our own and for oneself. Matter of fact, one of the prisoners escaped from the cave and finally knew what the truth was. When he came to inform about the situation to his fellas, they eluded him and even threatened to kill him if he tried to set them free. Let’s not be like those prisoners who do not want their life to be changed even somebody has come to rescue, instead let’s think from a perspective by our own that the cultivation of manipulation of fact flourishes at large mainly by social medias and that should be stopped, anyhow, by recognizing oneself. Ralph Waldo Emerson puts in a better word, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”