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Social Media Image Credit: Verve
Social Media Image Credit: Verve

Tools Of Engagement

Emojis, acronyms, memes, GIFs and other forms of internet shorthand are helping us express emotions and open up to each other in a hyperconnected world. Infusing nuance and personality, they transcend the limits of traditional speech and writing and add a level of intimacy, letting us communicate in a more uninhibited way

Ranjabati Das

If Eleanor Rigby were to be written today, the eponymous heroine might have been a social media user somewhere between 16 and 24. According to the BBC Loneliness Experiment, this is the loneliest and most anxious demographic in the UK, supplanting even the elderly, a finding that has earned them the unwanted epithet of ‘the lonely generation’. Under the guise of self-sufficiency, we are growing more and more dependent on the net to fulfil our daily needs. On an average, we are now spending a quarter of our lives online, and this has conversely left us with little time and inclination to reflect on or nurture our offline relationships. Alongside, it has intrinsically redefined our collective attitudes to life and how we choose to express ourselves, both online and offline.

Digital natives, who have grown up with the net, are able to intuitively pick up internet shorthand, which has in turn emerged as the lingua franca for the bulk of the smartphone-wielding population. Punctuating thoughts with emojis on texts, chats and social media or slipping into internet lingo IRL has become commonplace, along with the open disavowal of time-honored syntactical elements. The flexibility of the web helps us to stretch the rules of grammar and communicate thoughts quickly and naturally. Consider this recent post by spoken word poet Divya Dureja. Talking about the pitfalls of the non-recognition of same-sex marriage in India, the 27-year-old queer activist says on Instag


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