Opinion | Speak Your Mind

Focus: Living a virtual life

For the longest time, we’ve been told to ‘switch off’ and ‘disconnect’ from the online world, so that we can have ‘real life experiences’. But today, every ‘real-life’ experience has become as much about the experience itself as it is about sharing it via social media channels. Is it time to change the conversation with respect to the ‘virtual world’? Gulf News readers debate the issue

  • Compiled by Huda Tabrez, Community Web Editor
  • Published: 19:26 August 3, 2012

  • Image Credit: DANA A.SHAMS/©Gulf News

12:35 Gulf News: The argument that we trade an ‘online life’ for a ‘real life’ is baseless in today’s world.

12:36 Shalini Menezes: No, it isn’t. Online life might be good as it creates vivid images in our minds but the downside is that it limits our creativity and often can be demoralising, as it distracts us from the real world.

12:38 Maheen Abbas: It is true. As life has become so ‘virtual’, it is very hard to avoid that segment of our lives. It is definitely not real life, but since 80 per cent of our life has become virtual, we need to fix our real life in the same way, I guess.

12:40 Prachiti Talathi: Yes, I would say that online life is an extension of real life. We want to share real life experiences through the virtual worlds.

12:40 Ishfaq Mir: I personally feel that the online world is merely exaggerated. We are not required to update statuses for each and every thing we do. Talking about what you just did or what you just ate makes no sense when updated on Facebook or Twitter. Instead of talking unnecessarily about everything online, we must remember that we have families, so why not spend time with them instead? We talk about not having enough time – how will we have time anyway if we don’t disconnect from the online world?

12:41 Kritika Narayan: Online life only enhances real life in some ways, but in no way is real life. Technology has advanced to the extent where this virtual life is in the reach of every other person’s hands. He can admire, comment on anything and everything but unfortunately cannot live that instance at the same place and time.

12:44 Gulf News: We have started to appreciate face-to-face interaction and solitude a lot more in the digital age.

12:47 Ishfaq Mir: I believe now we have realised how ‘unreal’ things seem in the online world. We’ve learnt that not everything we read online is actually true and of course, nobody wants to be deceived or cheated. Therefore, we have started to prefer or like personal interactions with our friends rather than just chatting online. Ask yourself this: What would make you feel better – a mere online message by a friend or him meeting you personally? My point lies in the answer.

12:48 Kritika Narayan: I feel that the online life has become some sort of a selfish addiction! We cannot live without seeing what the internet has in store for us, how many messages and likes and admiration we have received.

12:48 Salim Mohammad: Yes, nowadays one appreciates face-face conversations, more than just texting people or commenting on their status messages. May be because in one way or the other we feel that seeing is believing and to communicate in a more effective manner, a face-to-face interaction is more important.

12:50 Yesha Gondalia: Real life is also value-driven, and with that meaning and relevance comes a need for investment – to care about what we do and where we direct our lives. Technology, in particular social media, enables us to stay connected with friends and build online communities based on shared values and activities. And while it is moving in that direction, wired connections are not really as powerful as real life.

12:52 Gulf News: What is often called ‘gadget addiction’ is just a way for people to veil poor time management.

12:53 Shajitha Shifa: I agree. Gadget addiction acts like a mask to cover poor time management. Whichever your gadget be – your personal computer, laptop or tablet – if you can’t stay away from updating friends with your daily activities, it is not about gadget addiction, it is poor time management.

12:54 Ishfaq Mir: I disagree. I don’t think gadget addiction should be linked to poor time management. It is basically the mindset of people and how they approach the utility of the gadget.

12:56 Shalini Menezes: How does the younger generation get hold of these gadgets? Aren’t parents to blame for providing access?

12:57 Maheen Abbas: Gadget addiction leads to poor management – either of time or your attitude. In the craziest of ways, people are getting hooked to new technologies. Gadget addiction really is changing the way we think and focus, I guess.

12:57 Ramachandran Nair: To me, online life is more or less an imaginary world, where people tend to hide the truth. In real life, we are able to physically witness the pros and cons.

12:58 Yesha Gondalia: The development of our social lives is essential for our psychological and emotional wellbeing. Yes, social media is obviously social in nature, but I see it as being ‘social lite’, because it limits the richness of human interactions, or ‘social safe’, because it keeps relationships at a comfortable distance.

 

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