We’re all familiar with the bedtime story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. A post-plague, dirty town of Hamelin, in Germany, was infested with millions of rats making people sick. One man promised to clear the town off these rats in return for a good sum of money. Playing a haunting tune that seemed to hypnotise the rats into following him down the hill and out of the town, the Pied Piper saves the town. However, he is denied payment. Furious at being double-crossed, he plays the same hypnotic tune on the children of the town, taking them down the hill and away.
Image : Wikipedia
That’s right, social media is like the modern-day version of the Pied-Piper of Hamelin, weaving its hypnotic tunes on us and entrapping our very souls. We live in an age where we eat, breathe and sleep social media. Today, our realities are encapsulated through the foursquare screen of a smartphone. Here nothing is ‘official’ unless it’s online, liked and shared.
Social media has infiltrated into our basic human systems; it monitors our relationships and it has created in us a need to ‘share’ and ‘follow’. It has made us judge our self-worth based on the number of ‘likes’ we get on an Instagram picture or by the number of followers we have on Twitter.
It has prepared a global stage where a single opinion is bounced off in Chinese-whisper style till we find everyone speaking the same words in different languages. It tells you how you should look, what you should eat and how much you should sleep. It decides your career by your saved articles and ‘liked pages’. It ‘suggests’ things you may like, based on your ‘interests’, because it claims to be another half to your whole, the body to your soul.
It makes us impatient and reckless, trying to outdo each other’s virtual realities. We compete to post the greater story and we’re always ready with an opinion on others. Social media has made everyone a politician, an artist and a writer. It has granted us a false sense of aptitude that leads to a further sense of entitlement.
This brings us to the basic problem of authenticity. How much of the content that we’re reading online is actually real? Who said it hasn’t been created to manipulate our feelings so as to influence our decisions? How credible are the two lines on the Presidential Elections you read on someone’s status? Or, how do you know that following a diet that Deepika Padukone endorses will give you her figure in no time?
We, the millennials, should understand that today we are turning into the children following the Pied Piper, who is a stand-in for the various advertising and networking sites that feed on our emotions and identify our user patterns to increase their sales.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)
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- Deepika Padukone
- Pied Piper
- Facebook likes
- Twitter followers
- Presidential Elections
- German folklore