The history of social media – from Cicero’s slave-copied parchments to the present tab generation – has one thing in common, and that is the crush. In Roman times, it was more intimate but even today it has lost none of its charm in cyberspace.
Humans are social animals hard-wired to gossip. In the Roman times, the elite free citizens enjoyed the luxury of transmitting news and ideas through slave-operated letter writing. Today, it is not so much a luxury but an utter necessity to commingle with the people you like for whatever reason.
Social media, although an addiction to some, is a viable mode of making friends all over the world. These friendships are nourished for a variety of reasons, like business for instance, but the most fun and at the same time the most fulfilling is the cyber romance or cyber crush.
The charming cyber crush has all the intensity and flavor of a mundane three-dimensional love in real space and time, with an additional fourth, fifth, sixth, and God knows how many extra dimensions. Some of these dimensions have been exploited, while many remain dormant – ready to be discovered and enjoyed depending upon the sense and sensibility of the social media user.
There are different types of characters in this cyber milieu, ranging from the strict cyber psychopaths and cyber bullies to plain decent gentlemen and women to nymphomaniacs of many shades. In real life, falling in love with the wrong person may be fatal, which is also true in cyberspace. The consequences of making a wrong friend in cyberspace can be as devastating as in life, but with the slight assurance that you can call it quits when a friendship takes a turn for the worse.
Pray do not be fooled nor make a fool of someone. Only commit to the extent that you have the capacity to reciprocate the love being given, and in no sense become a blood-sucking parasite, receiving all and giving back nothing, as etiquette should and does count in cyberspace. They can make for better or break for worse an image. Something that takes time to develop may be lost by a casual slip or carelessness or may be enhanced by taking that extra bit of care.
Apart from the crush, even marriages have been held through this medium. Some have had a happy ending, but a majority have ill and often unforeseeable results. In cyberspace, a romance can be initiated and carried on, but the realities of life hit hard when the person with which you have fallen head over heels turns out to be somebody completely opposite of what he/she presented to you. Many dreams have been shattered and many lives, including those of close loved ones disturbed because of the hasty and often misplaced conceptions of someone you meet on the world wide web through the auspices of social media sites, especially sites devoted to dating and matrimony.
Love is a great feeling and no human being is complete without it, but do remember the hazardous consequences of the charming cyber crush that can turn into a dangerous romance and ultimately unwanted wedlock.
Commentary by Iftikhar Tariq Khanzada