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Digital World and Social Relations

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Has the overuse of the word ‘friend’ devalued the word friendship in the relationship it describes? Are we still connected to each other? Is it a must that we talk about a person who is a true friend? Many clickbaits, like smartphones, have destroyed relationships and other sober scientific reports have proved that these headlines are not just about relationships. Studies reveal that loneliness has increased the connections.

Venture diverse bonds 

As I log onto Instagram, I view posts from friends spending their times exploring the world. I see people celebrating their friends on Woman Crush Wednesday and Man Crush Monday. Camping buddies share their exploration of the world, ranging from peaked mountains to oceans or visiting the Colorado. Accomplishments are congratulated in kind of parties. Even without many physical meetings or in-person talks, I feel connected to people sharing their experiences, dreams, and achievements allowing me to link to diversity in a variety of ways.

Virtual bonds

Long ago, before instant internet access, people would have to phone their friends, without knowing if the other person will be free or busy. Nowadays, plans can be made in a click of a second and friends can attend broadcasted award shows and many drama series via different applications or chat at Facebook or Twitter. Exchanging a username with an unknown person can lead to a new friend in a click of a button, making it easier to interact with people even though it is virtual.

Synonymous bonds 

The mid-90s was the period where people could discuss their interests of politics to anime, and build connections from that. In current times, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Tinder, Twitter follow the hashtag system and allows discovering of similar interests from around the world. Online friendship is synonymous to a ‘real-life’ friendship, even if it can survive without social media to flourish uncommon passions and interests.

Long-lasting bonds

It is not at all surprising that increasing globalisation affects the young as well as elderly to become tech-savvy to new cultures. This relates back to friendships, thus allowing people from across the globe to develop long-lasting friendships. Pen pals that existed long before the pre-social media, new technologies help the quicker connections between people, thus fostering good bonds of friendship. 

Complimenting bonds

For some, social media is more self-centred, yet it seems just the opposite. People celebrate their happiness and share joys of their triumphs, sympathise when needed, and share laughs. So, none of that seems self-centred. However, for people with low self-esteem, I see social media as the cure and not the disease, where complimenting others for victories is rewarded or praised. Clicking selfies may be viewed by few to increase the self-esteem, but it is a way to encourage friends by ‘likes’ or retweeting the pictures which is worth something. 

If celebrating yourself and others is referred to as being self-centred, I hope to see a lot more of it. Thus, meeting friends is full of life and experiencing new ‘to-be-friends’ by connecting with each other to bring a whole new light and happiness.

Jashan Jot Kaur is a researcher at  Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.

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