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Dopamine and its feeble manifestations

When it came to a discussion with a friend about what is the actual, veritable, effective role that Social media played in our lives, I had my defensive gear on.

I’ve always thought that digital conversations give us a buffer of time & space from the people whose ideas we find frustrating. Instead of lashing out head on, we can pause, breathe & walk away, & then come back to it when we’re ready. It gives you the power to voice your opinion, cast your artistic talent on the digital easel and have it reach a large number. While I still think that prevails, I was compelled to think deeper. But, just like small figments of our memory that vanish with time, I forgot this discussion I had.

And a few months later, when I had least expected my mind to reel back to that discussion, I came across this video on ‘Millennials in the Workplace’ by Simon Sinek. To put it in brief, the video focuses on how millennials are going to change the workplace with new attitudes and striking experience.

And social media forms an important component of this change. The talk opened my eyes to the numbing effect Social Media has on our brains. Not just theoretically but biologically through the release of a chemical called Dopamine in the brain, the same chemical that gets released while consuming alcohol or puffing a smoke. Therefore, using social media from a young age is like exposing a child to the liquor cabinet.

Moreover, he emphasised on the point that we have technologized our lives to an extent that its absence or non- availability gives us a feeling of being handicapped. When it comes to being socially awkward on our first date, we don’t have to do it because, “swipe right”. When it comes to eating, we order in. Simple. When it comes to buying something, we log on to Amazon. Easy. When it comes to watching a movie, we Netflix. Convenient. We inbox and message people when the human need to interact surfaces. Hence, feeding our de- sire of being connected. Or at least the illusion of it.

What  we  don’t  realise  is  these  tech-savvy  apps  are  going hard on our social skills. Facebook can’t replace face-to-face conversations  just  like  Instagram  can’t  replace  photo  al- bums,  food  supplements  can’t  replace  food,  Netflix  cannot replace the movie watching experience in a theatre, Tinder can’t replace dating & porn can’t replace sex. It is very tempting to technologize everything in our lives & be simultaneously dependent on it for a lot of our core tasks. But I think, these new-age wonders are only very feeble manifestations of old-school processes for these are messy and uncomfortable and slow. They require time and efforts. And there’s no great escape.

That said, I am not against the essential use of these tools & platforms. All we need is to find a better balance between life & technology.

By Kavya Shah | MBA Full Time programme | 18-20 Batch

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