It was September 2010 when I headed towards United States. It was my first time and I was very excited to be there. I appreciated the good infrastructure and the discipline they have in their lives. More than that, I was amazed by their intolerance and urge for perfection. I feel this is the reason why they are the most powerful nation today.
Now, there was another strong characteristic of the American society I could not fail to notice. People have fewer friends, they hardly talk to their neighbours and they have very high dependency on robots.
If a guy wants to visit a restaurant, he goes online and searches for it. It may be on Yelp or Google or other similar sites. If he wants to visit India, he wouldn’t just call an Indian colleague or an Indian neighbour; instead he would do a Google search. People’s life over there is all about what the bot tells them, and they believe it as if they have no other choice.
And then came the age of Social Media.
I feel this phenomenon has got to do more with the necessity of the society than the product innovation. Americans needed a place where they could ask without disturbing anyone in particular, and they get answers from the willing folks and not bots. These folks could be their family, friends, colleagues or anyone.
Now you might be thinking – they could have asked through phone or in a gathering too. People seeking information from others, asking directions or thoughts is so non-typical of the American society. People respect others privacy more than theirs. The fundamentals of American democracy which the people say with pride says –“Individual Freedom above everything else”.
With Facebook and Twitter, now any guy in US or Europe can talk to like-minded folks. It has increased their chances of dating outside of office or college, and it has lowered the dependency of their society on robots. The American society is going through a change of becoming more social in the technology era.
Some people even opine that Google worked for 15 years to automate things and give best possible results using robots. Facebook undid it in just 7 years.
Coming back to India and Indians – we never fear or shy away from seeking information. We pick up a phone and ask a friend from France about local places before visiting France. We are less bothered about his willingness to help us. This comes from the natural feeling that we would be happy to help if a French guy asks the same favour. We would actually be happier to get that chance.
This brings me to the point – did Indians ever needed a Social Network? Probably NOT.
But the global village demanded that, and Social Networks actually made life easier for everyone. I have friends from Nepal, India, US, Europe, Korea and other nations. Without any hesitation, I can seek help from them or inform them of something that is of interest to me.
But did this made me more social? I can hardly agree.
Featured image by kg.abhi