Virtual emptiness

Published: June 21, 2013
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Most of you believe technology is good. It connects us to our beloveds with the touch of a button, but I beg to differ. PHOTO: AFP

Tweet tweet tweet, all day long. Upload pictures and statuses on Facebook letting the world know what you have been up to and Skype with your family and friends abroad to keep in touch. Oh and how could I forget the wonderful world of Whatsapp that has made life so much easier by reducing, or eliminating almost all barriers of communication!

Most of you might be of the opinion that such technology can only be good for us by connecting us to our beloveds with the touch of a button, making e-businesses flourish through online marketing and having access to news from all around the world 24/7. But, I beg to differ.

No doubt the widened space of interactions due to the increased use of cyberspace has increased communication, but at what cost?

Decreasing face-to-face contact, deteriorating personal relationships and diminishing the importance of the traditional forms of entertainment are just a few of the downsides of this internet-addictiveness. Is this virtual community actually a community?

People in virtual communities use words on screens to exchange pleasantries and argue, engage in intellectual discourse, conduct commerce, exchange knowledge, share emotional support, make plans, brainstorm, gossip, feud, fall in love, find friends and lose them, play games, flirt. People in virtual communities do just about everything people do in real life, but we leave our bodies behind. You can’t kiss anybody and nobody can punch you in the nose, but a lot can happen within those boundaries.

To the millions who have been drawn into it, the richness and vitality of computer-linked cultures is attractive, even addictive. How did we let our life be reduced to this virtual sphere of contact where everything is available but at the same time nothing is real?

Moreover, a recent article published in The Washington Post reveals how NSA and FBI tapped into the servers of nine US internet companies, including YouTube, Google, Facebook, Skype, and others, to keep an eye on all the activity that takes place on the internet, which should prove as caution to all of us.

Ummesalama Moosajee

Ummesalama Moosajee

An Intern for the Opinions desk at The Express Tribune

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

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