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The Importance of Social Media

Social media has taken over our lives and forced us to be available at all times but some are much better at this virtual reality than others. Karim Rahman wonders whether he hates the players or the game...

I woke up one morning to a Whatsapp text from my best friend, G, telling me he was going to get laid…at 10 AM. Torn between feeling somewhat special or slightly nauseous by the fact that I was privy to such information before my morning cigarette, I checked my own inbox repeatedly, failing to stifle the hope that someone, somewhere was inviting me for some breakfast sex myself. Nothing. Next, I decided to check my Twitter timeline only to find an up-and-coming socialite, barely of legal age, raving about how awesome the latest Teadance party was. Overwhelmed with information about how everyone is out doing things (and people) while I'm stuck in a cycle of sleeping much too late and waking up even later, for some reason I decided to complete my morning rituals and browse through my email and Facebook.

That's when I saw it. A friend of mine that used to work with me way back when I was a customer service agent (and going on a downward spiral) got married. She actually settled down and can now enjoy a happy, successful married life. She had her shit together.

I was definitely feeling nauseous.

One aspect about social media that most people seem to neglect is that it's a bitch. Fuck this whole "it's allowed us to stay in touch with what's going on around the world" crap. What it actually achieved is a sequential destruction of your self-esteem, especially when you need an ego boost. If you're feeling lonely and single, Facebook will decide that it'd be the perfect time to tell you that your ex-best friend is in this amazing relationship. It's done nothing but make us more aware of our own shortcomings and the aspects of our lives we're not happy with. So much for the advent of the 21st century.

Later that day, I went out with G and a couple of our friends for a much-needed caffeine dosage, and to get the low-down on G's latest hook up. In between mugs of cappuccino and graphic details (which I shall spare you), one statement caught my attention. "One minute we were just talking on Twitter and the next thing you know, we're fucking," my best friend supplied. There it was again: social media, unavoidable and constantly hovering over my head.

Here's the thing: the reason I'm so pissed off with social media is that I myself have been caught in its snare of uncertainty and information overload. I met (for lack of a better word) an artist almost a year ago because of a Tumblr blog follow, which then evolved into a Twitter follow which then proceeded to a lot of Favourites and Retweets before I finally got the guts to ask for a Whatsapp number a couple of months ago. We've been talking ever since and between hot-and-cold shows of affection and a lot of drunken "I like yous" on my side, it was starting to get frustrating. Did I mention Artist doesn't live here? Yeah, that kind of puts a kink in everything. On the one hand, social media is the only link we have so far. On the other, it gets exhausting wondering if I'm the one Artist is sub-tweeting all those cute endearing things about, or why that "last seen" status on Whatsapp is right after and not before the time stamp on my latest ignored text. I laid down my feelings about my string of frustrations and my resentment for social media on the table (for the millionth time) but it wasn't long before I got slammed by G's thoughts on the matter: "Not that I think this is going anywhere, but if it wasn't for social media, you guys wouldn't be talking in the first place. It's an essentiality now!"

This got me thinking: is it true? Was it a case of hate the player, but not the game? Has social media really become an integral part of our dating lives, whether we like it or not? When does just texting become too much texting?

Emboldened by my latest musings and shot of espresso, I asked Artist for some general thoughts on the matter of social media and dating. The answer was a revelation, to say the least. After unknowingly mimicking G's thoughts about the whole matter, Artist struck a couple of interesting points. It is indeed a case of hating the players, because the players were the ones ruining the game. Social media is a link and, whether we like it or not, it's here to stay. It's the habit of over-thinking and over-analysing every single thing that's being said (or not being said, for that matter) that's destroying everything. Artist then launched into a detailed description of how much long distance relationships sucked and how a friend wants to break up with her boyfriend because she just couldn't maintain a healthy relationship without being able to touch him and talk to him and see him face to face. In all honesty, I related all too well.

In fact, I realised that I related a bit too much. While social media may have led to Artist and I meeting, it has done nothing but drive me into becoming this insanely clingy and mildy obsessive person; the one that cares about when exactly their texts were answered. Day after day, without even realising it, I had slowly morphed into this person that immediately pounces on their phone whenever they see their LED light flashing, and the one that gets utterly disappointed when that text I got wasn't from the person I wanted to text me. In truth, social media may be grand but it doesn't replace the real thing. Emojis are no substitutes to actual emotions and nothing beats a good make out session. I realised that just texting turns into too much texting when there's really nothing going on except that.   

The next day (after waking up much too late again), I switched my data plan off and ignored all my texts. It was time to face the music; I was ready to be weaned off of my tumultuous, virtual, one-sided relationship with Artist. But in truth, it was definitely not a case of hating the player. I still, very much, hated the game.