Opinion / Zhu Yuan

When social media becomes a waste of time

By Zhu Yuan (China Daily) Updated: 2017-05-31 07:12

When social media becomes a waste of time

I have had enough chicken soup stories on WeChat that some of my friends always feel excited about sharing with their WeChat peers. Their comments on these stories are so naïve that it seems they have forgotten how they used to communicate with other people, friends included, before WeChat became a rage. They also seem to have forgotten how to cultivate their personality or temperament.

Whatever compliment some people have given to WeChat for providing them with a platform for adding to the richness of their personal lives, I've decided to spend as less time as possible browsing WeChat unless there is something worth reading.

It is quite likely that I will be considered by many as being out of fashion or left behind when it comes to social trends since I might seem to not know about the names of some singers, social celebrities or stars being talked about because of their extra-marital affairs or some kind of perverted behavior.

True, the development of mobile internet and the boom of social media along with it have made it much easier and quicker for people to access information. And the easy access it has provided to online shopping and online payment has made life much easier and much more convenient.

Yet as far as accumulation of knowledge or development of intelligence is concerned, social media such as WeChat is the last source I choose. At least, I refuse to accept it as the sole source of information. I need to sustain my way of life.

I understand that some people do have an intrinsic need for the use of WeChat, which indeed has changed the way they lead their lives.

One of my friends told me recently that she cannot imagine how she would have managed her life without the fun WeChat provides her with. She spends most of her spare time sending as many stories as possible, without checking any of them for facts, to her WeChat peers, because she believes it is a mission of her life to provide her friends with whatever stories she considers valuable.

But most of the stories she has shared with me are not worth reading, let alone providing me with information or enhancing my knowledge. She takes it for granted that all her peers share her idea about what is interesting or meaningful.

I can't but imagine that she would have lost many of her friends had she communicated with them face to face in such manner. She could only do this with the help of social media such as WeChat, where no one cares how many stories you upload or how monotonous is the information you are trying to share with your social media peers.

So you should never think that your friend will mind if you turn a blind eye to whatever he/she has uploaded on social media which you too share unless he/she sends something directly to you and you ignore it.

To my understanding, social media provides a channel for some people to release their libido. It is good for these people's health. My friend used to fight with her husband all the time. Now the time she spends on WeChat diverts her attention from whatever she used to find annoying about her husband. That indeed is good for familial peace and harmony.

For this reason, I appreciate her obsession with social media, but social media users should not forget that what is meat and drink to one could put others to sleep.

The author is a senior writer with China Daily.


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