While there are thousands who live to be in the virtual world of Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, Pritish thinks social media is damaging brains and honing insecurities within its users. Which is why interviewer Akshay Sachdev thought Pritish would be an interesting interviewee candidate for Interviewing India. Passionate about sports and travel, Pritesh decided to cut himself off from social media. Read on and find out why.
Pritish Srivastav, 24, Sports Management Professional, Delhi
Interviewed by Akshay Sachdev
Why did you decide to give us an interview on social media?
I’ve always been interested in technology and what’s going on in the field, so I wanted to talk about it. Plus, I feel social media is not heading in the right direction and there is a lot left to be desired from all the popular social media apps.
What is your view about the impact of social media on today’s generation?
Social media apps today are causing a lot of psychological damage to the youth and spreading negativity. For instance, whenever you receive a notification from one of these apps, there is a surge of a hormone called dopamine in your body, which gives you a sense of achievement. It’s the same hormone that is released when you accomplish something, like scoring well in exams or during sex. But a notification is like an empty sense of achievement, rewarding us for doing nothing! This habit of constantly checking the next notification on our phones is nothing but a form of addiction. When I realised that I was addicted to social media as well, I reduced my usage.
Are you on any of the social media platforms at the moment?
I am currently on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Out of which, I only use Instagram regularly as I love travelling and sharing pictures from my travels. Perhaps once or twice a week. And Facebook, I’ve almost completely given up on. It’s more for my professional networking.
Do you think social media is more harmful than helpful to people?
That’s debatable! It’s not harmful if you’re aware of the side-effects. For example, there are sites like Quora and LinkedIn that are useful. LinkedIn helps you connect and grow your professional network while opening up so many opportunities, whereas Quora is a great platform to ask questions from any field and people are usually quite helpful in answering them.
Has social media brought people around the world closer or taken them further apart?
Connecting people with each other was the original aim, I feel, but somehow the purpose seems lost in the process of making money and getting more users hooked on to the apps. A lot of people have, say, 500 friends online, but they wouldn’t care if they lose out on any of them tomorrow. I’d suggest people leave their phones aside and go out and have some real relationships.
So you’re saying the dynamics of a relationship in our lives has changed?
Well, these apps are feeding onto a lot of insecurities and fears in people. They offer you options of knowing where has a certain someone been, whose pictures they’ve liked, what they’ve commented, and this can lead to unnecessary friction in any kind of relationship.
I, for one, have turned off my ‘last seen’ on all apps and life has been quite peaceful ever since.
Have you had any bad experiences with social media?
Fortunately, nothing big. My partners or friends are well aware about social media. They didn’t fall into this trap and give in to these insecurities.
Over the past few years we’ve seen that the culture of trolls has become quite rampant? What are your comments about that?
Initially, I used to find it humorous, but now it’s a means for people to take out their frustrations and anger. Today, people belittle each other online to feel good about themselves, which really wasn’t the motive of social media.
Social media has also been used as a powerful tool, though, to bring in a lot of good for the society…
Of course. The overall purpose of life should be to spread positivity and it’s up to people to make it happen. The same goes for social media. People have been using it in a very positive manner as well to get likeminded people together to rally behind different causes.
A great idea would be to start educating children in schools, including it in the curriculum, about the pros and cons of social media and how to use it the right way.
Technology is evolving constantly, with new apps coming out every day. What do you think is the future of social media?
I think all the popular ones, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, will get saturated. However, the positive ones should prevail. Virtual reality is the new thing and in the future could be a big part of social media.
Have you ever gone all the way and tried a social media cleanse?
Not really, but last year I deleted all the negativity from my life. I deleted Tinder and Facebook for a while as I felt it wasn’t really contributing to my life in a positive manner. Also, social media really doesn’t have any impact on my life. If I don’t use it for a few days, it doesn’t make a difference.
The last question has nothing to do with your interview topic, but we ask everyone we interview – what does love mean to you?
Anything that you feel positively about can be attributed to love. That is the main purpose of life, to spread love and embrace it.