When 'Social Distancing' takes on a different meaning…

COVID-19 cases are on the rise and a sense of fear and uncertainty lurks in the air. While Governments are calling for complete lock-down of cities, and ‘social distancing’ is becoming the new norm; the isolation proves to have more to offer to humanity than just prevention from an epidemic.

“Distance brings us closer”. Artwork by- Meghna Chakrabarti

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared Novel Coronavirus aka COVID-19 as a pandemic. The news has had a rippling effect across countries and drastic actions ranging from quarantine to complete lockdown of cities have instilled a sense of uncertainty in the minds of many. The fear of being a transmitter of this disease has driven us behind locked doors of our houses and less trusting towards our fellow beings.

‘Social distancing’, a phrase being used frequently by doctors, media and even Governments, has been claimed to be the best chance we have to battle this epidemic. The idea of severing nearly all contact from mankind for days to follow probably seems next to impossible to a lot of us, added with isolating oneself in their homes is believed to be maddening. With headlines blaring words like-“affected”, “deaths” and “COVID-19” day in and day out, it can be deemed natural to feel overwhelmed and hopeless.

With all the chaos across the internet regarding this epidemic, rumors and facts alike, we have kind of muddled up the definition of ‘social distancing’. Yes, We are required to put distance between us physically, but it does not imply distancing ourselves from each other ‘socially’. We have come a long way in our advancements when it comes to communication, giving us Social Media as a platform to stay “connected”. Under present circumstances, social media isn’t playing the part of harboring ‘fake connectivity’, rather it is assuring mankind, time and again, that we are in this together. That we are not “Alone”.

It is true that with the changes we need to administer in our lives in a situation like this, especially self-isolating, could be difficult to adapt to initially. However, looking at the bright side of things, quarantine across the globe is proving to be an eye-opener for the citizens, an opportunity to self-reflect and observe. An opportunity to realize the damage done by humanity and its repercussions. It has allowed us to find new hobbies and kindle new passions that we were unaware of whilst we were running the race of life.

Despite the quarantine at workplaces, schools, and institutions, work keeps going. Many corporations have begun operating on a work from home basis. Schools have shifted their curriculum over online classes and institutions and on-ground services are adapting to methods involving minimum human contact to go about their regular schedule. WHO in collaboration with Global Citizen recently launched its campaign #TogetherAtHome with a series of artists performing online, with ‘no human contact’. This only shows that despite our demographic distances, we have the ability to stand in solidarity to look crisis in the eye.

The various means by which social media is finding its use in connecting people and preserving their mental state of being rings a reassuring bell in our ears, assuring us that our creations can bring about good changes in our community, given we know our limits and respect others’ as well.

So, as the days go by in quarantine, let us all do our part in staying healthy, preaching healthy and staying together.

The article and the cover image are the compositions of aspiring computer engineer Meghna Chakrabarti. Follow her stepping stones at Tumblr and Facebook. The view shared here are her own, and she is excited to hear your opinion . The blog was originally published on her personal Tumblr page on 22nd March,2020. Here, republished with permission.

What is social media doing to us?

Are we really connected?

Are we really connected? Meghna Chakrabarti

Recently I came across this short animated film on Youtube named ‘Best Friend’. The story revolves around a man named Arthur who lives all by himself and is addicted to a product called ‘Best Friend’.

Arthur does not have friends. He lives in a time far into future where everyone has some sort of a chip implanted in their brains which allows them to see projections of people, customized only for them; people whom they can call ‘friends’.

Fast forward to the ending climax of the movie, Arthur gets into trouble with a vagabond when he tries to recharge his chip. The vagabond, in desperation to have ‘friends,’ rips out the chip from Arthur.

Scary, isn’t it?

The movie highlighted an alarming perspective of the current psychology of the tech-savvy, social media addicted millennials. Although social media has been successful in making the world more connected, it has also established a false sense of connectivity.

Like the chip implanted in Arthur’s brain, social media has emerged as a necessity for every individual. Without its involvement, You are nobody; You are “friendless”!

Obviously, the creators of social networking sites nurture this fear of being alone, to make sure their clients are dependent on them. I often wondered why people posted so many photos of themselves on social media. I feel that social media has made the norm so, that we put up a facade for the world to see, to be somebody we are not, to let people know how amazing a life we lead even if it is not real.


More likes, more followers, more ‘friends’. Not getting enough likes on a post seems maddening enough that it can potentially send a person into depression. I think why social media is so addictive is because we can connect to an individual or a group without making much of an effort and confrontation. That may be a plus point. However, can one really connect to a person and be empathetic by just exchanging a few texts? I think not.

Human beings are social animals, we rely on our senses to experience the world around us. When it comes to connecting with others, these senses help us to kindle intimate connections. Social media can surely connect people who may be far away from each other, but it still lacks the physical sense of being.

I am not negating the positives that social media has to offer. Indeed, without the benefits of the internet, a few years ago, talking to someone far off and conveying our thoughts and opinions on a large platform seemed tedious. Now, the internet stands as a tool for the millennials to connect globally and bring about social awareness on a large scale; something that seemed impossible a decade ago.

However, we need to understand that there is a world outside the virtual one, in which we choose to remain immersed; that we can connect more closely to people when we interact with them face to face. After all, it is an innate human tendency to respond to the warmth of another being, and feel more comfortable in somebody’s company.

We should also embrace our imperfections and celebrate who we are and what we are. So, rather than putting up a facade and being entangled in this virtual cobweb, why not be real for a while?


The article and the cover image are the compositions of aspiring computer engineer Meghna Chakrabarti. Follow her stepping stones at Tumblr and Facebook. The view shared here are her own, and she is excited to hear your opinion on how social media is impacting us. Can a computer engineer help in resolving the conundrum? The blog was originally published on her personal Tumblr page on 22nd December 2018. Here, republished with permission.


We publish using the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license so that users can read, download and reuse text and data for free – provided the authors, illustrators, and the primary sources are given appropriate credit.