Looking beyond Social Media
We live in the age of information revolution – a time when information, ideas, news very rapidly spread from one corner of the world to another. What characterizes this unique moment in history is growing technology that promises interconnected networking and social platforms for interaction. The paradox, however, is that as humans and members of social groups we have altogether handed over the responsibility of building social concern and connectivity to technology and have ourselves assumed only the role of its passive consumers. It can’t be denied that in the avenues such as scientific and medical research technology has played a positive role but as far as the development of a concerned, caring social ethics is concerned we must problematize its effects. Our techno-gadgets have become intrinsic parts of our existence, and social networking platforms our only refuge. It is ironic how a person with a thousand ‘virtual’ friends is in reality a lonely person or that one’s self perception and confidence shall become dependent on the ‘likes’ that one receives or is deprived of a social networking site. Indeed, when real bonds break loneliness, alienation and a disenchantment with the world arise. Enhanced rates of depression, aggression and suicides reveal that human bonds cannot be replaced by social networks. Moreover, in recent times a student with many Facebook friends died of depression and was found only many days later by the police; a young girl suffering from mental agony finds herself completely lonely despite an entire crowd; and how can we forget the trajectory of Irom Sharmila—a woman who fasted for sixteen long years for the cause of peace and political freedom and received a massive defeat in the elections despite the ‘updates’ and ‘activism’ on social media! This shows how as a society we have completely lost our sensitivity and maturity to understand and make sense of genuine human endeavors that are not glamorously packaged or advertised. It is needless to add that as educators and pedagogues these are issues that we must engage with and reflect upon to create a better society that is enriched in its social fabric, and values the ethics of humanity and collective conscience. From the time of its inception The New Leam has reasserted that pedagogy is not only that which takes place within the boundaries of the classroom, it is rather a broader task that engages with the cultivation of the individual conscience in a holistic and integrated manner. The cultivation of the individual’s thought process, the discovery of the inner fountain of creativity and the unfolding of the inner potential are central to the process of education.
This issue of The New Leam is born out of these important concerns and will bring out many themes that are important not only in terms of their contents but also because they would enable the readers to return back to their own existence with reflexive-critical eyes and discover more meaningful paths to self-discovery. It is with this idea in mind that we have composed this issue for our readers. We will be delighted to know your insights and ideas.
– Vikash Sharma