What is wrong with being online?

In today’s time, if you are not online, then you do not exist! Sometimes my son gives me a complex when I see the amount of time he spends on the internet on various social sites. I get the feeling that they know him more than me! Contrary to popular belief, there is a condition called oversharing and it is very bad!  There are increasing number of cases being reported of young people getting addicted to the internet and going crazy when they are offline. Let us look at this disturbing trend in this post

The primary and core issue here is the sheer numbers of people and the humongous amount of data that is connected to the online networks. There is no topic without info online, there is no geography that cannot be reached, there is no age group that is not online. All these put together, create a very heady concoction of information updates that are like email and lists running on crack! Once an individual gets hooked to the frequency and volume of information, they find it tough to unplug.

By nature, some of us are born with easily swayed minds, and those folks are the ones that get hooked to anything fast. I have seen in reality what happens to 10+ year olds when the internet conks out. It is pretty close to withdrawal symptoms. Even their conversations center around sites and updates. We live in a society that attaches a perceived value to one’s online reputation. These things take years to build and just seconds to break. And when they break, they break people’s lives with them.

That was just one angle. Off late, there is a lot of visibility and value being given to measuring one’s online influence, now I understand that if you are a professional who is making a livelihood online, it is important. But just about everyone is worried about their Klout, Edgerank, PeerIndex scores or their Empire Avenue share prices. It is ok if you take a fancy to them, but do not let them run your life. That will leave you with no life in the real world!

I feel sad when I see otherwise well placed and mature individuals literally wracking their brains to game the system and get their numbers up. It took me four years to build 60,000+ followers on twitter. But today’s newbies want that in a few weeks, ridiculous! They even try and buy followers! That beats the whole thing right?

Also remember the scary angle to this. If you document every second of your life on some platform or the other, it is no longer private. Get ready to be stalked or trolled or whatever! I have alse seen people announcing that they are going out of town on their networks and their houses getting burgled! Scary!

Coming to the most important angle, employability. Every employer worth his salt will check you out on Social Media before hiring you and if you come across as a hyper-sharing personality, chances are that you will not land that job.

So, in conclusion, being online is good and useful, but then too much of anything is ……

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