An Interlinked World

Graphic by Bibi Hajira

I can’t say I’m not guilty of procrastinating with my phone. And I’m sure I’m not alone in this. If you observe my routine for a day, you’d notice one repetitive pattern which ensues almost every hour –  me checking my social media.

I’m more or less an introvert at heart and I don’t really like socialising face to face. If I do find myself in a social setting, most of my energy goes into meaningless thoughts like ‘oh am I supposed to be smiling?’ or ‘wait, do I look too stiff?’ and as these questions build in intensity and meaninglessness, I slowly lose myself in a spiral of unending despair.

But that can’t be said when I’m hiding behind a phone. Now, this holy piece of glass is my savior. An introvert’s dream and an extrovert’s livelihood. I could dress like a homeless person and still hold any image I wanted to project out into the internet.  I don’t have to worry about my facial muscles as I talk to someone. I could be breakdancing as I text my best friends.

Not likely to happen, the last one. Moving on.

I love the internet. A huge library of tons of information, waiting to be devoured by us. It’s like an unending treasure hunt – so addictive and interesting. And one of my favourite corners of the internet is social media. Now, I’m more of an Instagram person – I have a deep seated hatred for every other platform, especially the more toxic ones like Twitter and Snapchat. Those two apps are literal warzones. Instagram, for me, is my comfort space. I have online friends from all across the globe who are more valuable to me than the ones I have in real life (don’t tell them I said that).

In my defense, it’s really rare to find a person sharing your interests in real life, because we’re really just different. I’m lucky and grateful that I have a good balance between a community in real life and on the internet.

Of course, one major portion of social media is the group chats. I have a writing group chat with some of my fellow writers, a comfort group chat with some online friends where we vent out our feelings and talk everyday. And I have so many people I chat with in general, it’s just a feeling of home.

My spam account is more or less a diary for me. I post things I’m usually too embarrassed to show to anyone. I can be authentic without worrying how they see me. My stories are filled with memories of the past two years and it’s something I cherish deeply. Watching Netflix with your friends is another experience altogether, although lining up the timezones ended up with us being up at ungodly times during the night, it was so worth it. 

Another app I use is Discord – I play more video games than your average Joe, so of course I’ll have gaming servers on there. Playing Paladins and Minecraft with some of my online friends is another feeling of happiness altogether. 

As for the role social media plays in my life, well you can figure out from the context how much it means to me. I can’t imagine my daily routine without me checking in on my friends at least thrice.

Of course, I’ve had my run in with some creeps. I’ve had my fair share of drama too. But in the end, I’ve always counted on my online friends to have my back and to call me out and educate me if I ever ended up making a mistake. They’re a family I’ve cherished more than my own, which is honestly saying something. 

I long to meet them someday. They’re one major reason why I use social media in the first place. And not to be cliché, but they’re the reason I’m staying sane in this pandemic. I owe them big time.

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