Beta, where are your Digital Sanskaars?

Sudhanshu Ramteke
Sunday, 26 May 2019

New notification: Medha sent you a post by Barked. I opened Instragram, courtesy-liked the funny forward, replied Hahaha and waited. Within seconds Medha liked the Hahaha react and I kept the phone aside. The transaction of unsaid social media etiquette was successfully executed by both the parties. 

New notification: Medha sent you a post by Barked. I opened Instragram, courtesy-liked the funny forward, replied Hahaha and waited. Within seconds Medha liked the Hahaha react and I kept the phone aside. The transaction of unsaid social media etiquette was successfully executed by both the parties. 

It’s 2019 and given the amount of time we spend on the internet, digital sanskaars are as important as the basic human etiquette. Mainly because:
- We’re engaging with a wider audience online and everyone sees everything. If you call your friend drunkard on his social media profile, people at his workplace will know why he takes prolonged lunch breaks.
- We’re all beginners and there aren’t any set rules. The tricky part is that older people are the most clueless when it comes to behaving online. If your Dad calls you Ladoo on your posts, chances are that every girl you date will call you the same.
- It’s mostly all text and therefore fewer senses engage in any conversation. This can lead to more misunderstanding and conflicts. If your lover texts you, ‘What do you want to eat now’, you can never be sure if they’re asking genuinely or are taunting you on how often you eat fatso.

We need a new guideline for these sanskaars. It will be a difficult list to compile given the variety of apps but then, someone will have to begin somewhere. Here is what I think should be included: 
Dos 
1. React and like everything you can.
Digital sanskaaris acknowledge all posts and never shy away from heart reacting it. Also, it’s good karma because when you’ll enter your kid in ‘cutest loveliest baby competition’, you won’t have to beg for likes.
2. Respect the online status of people
Just because someone is online, doesn’t mean they’re online for you. Don’t expect a reply to your message just because there is a green dot flashing in front of their name. Behave like a mature adult and wait for them to reply whenever they’re free. 
Moms, if you’re reading this, please take note; we’re not bad children, just avoiding drunk texting to our procreators.
3. Maintain the personal and professional boundaries
If you’ve added co-workers to personal social media accounts, please act responsibly. Do not use social media information at workplace for unrelated things. Questions such as ‘How can you afford Starbucks coffee daily on your salary?’ makes you a monster. Use your brain, maybe they’re just posing in front of Starbucks while drinking tea from neighbouring chai tapri.
4. Using right protocols for blocking, ignoring
If you are avoiding people, please use appropriate gestures based on your level of ignoring. If you’re blocking someone, please make sure they’ve been blocked on all platforms except one. This remaining channel is the one where they will reach out and you will get the desired attention. If you are ignoring people, don’t be lazy. Instead of just using words such as okay, alright or hmmmm, use the wide variety of creepy, smiley emoticons and see them shiver.
5. Stay relevant during discussions
A lot of opinions are exchanged whenever someone shares their views on a topic of interest. It’s important to post things that are related and avoid personal banter. Same is true for personal achievements or statuses. If a friend is sharing their graduation picture, commenting ‘Welcome to unemployment’ is highly inappropriate.
Dont’s 
1. Confuse social and social media sanskaars 
Just because people greet each other in real life, doesn’t mean they’ll do the same digitally. Stop feeling bad if your good morning forwards on WhatsApp aren’t getting any replies. Also, Dad, if you’re reading this, you can’t send a 20 min-long video and call me at the 21st minute to know if I’m motivated.
2. Wave on Facebook messenger
Stop waving people. Please stop waving. No one has yet figured out what to do when someone waves at you on messenger. No one wants to wave back and there is no other option but to block. 
3. Tag people without permission
It’s my birthday and you want to wish me by putting a picture with me on your profile, that’s great. However, how is it fair that you chose a picture where you look fab and I look ugly? Stop tagging pictures of other people; no one wants to be constantly reminded that they look hideous in HD.
4. Spam during your emotional outbursts
Everytime someone goes through a breakup, two things happen. Either they post a series of photos on how cool single life is or they post a series of quotes about how things happen for good. In both the scenarios, followers are spammed. If you’re just searching for that one name in the story viewers, just share the story directly with them and spare your followers.  
5. Question the actions of your stalkers 
If you receive a notification at 3 am about someone liking your photo from 2014, ignore the notification and go back to sleep. Someone out there is having sleepless nights and is busy stalking your profile; please don’t embarrass them by asking irrelevant questions. 
I felt good after making this exclusive digital sanskaars dos and don’ts list and shared it with friends/family. Soon after, I received two new notifications. 

Dad: ‘Why would you make such a list? Also, how do I block you?’
Mom: ‘Beta, where are your sanskaars?’

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