The era of WhatsApp communities. Young and old are immersed in the chats morning and night forwarding all hyped messages and memes and videos. Took me back to the era when we used to forward emails with images. It was the time when computers were new and internet was expensive. The screeching sound of dialup could be unbearable for the gen Z generation now.
Humans being social animals have been thriving in communities. It could be the neighbourhood, or the school/college friend group, religion based community group as in temple/church groups, sports club etc. When the internet came, it was a boon for people like me who wanted friends but shy away because of starting trouble. The mask behind the computers helped us break away our shyness to interact with strangers and start conversations about deep or weird topics involving Web 2.0. It was the golden era in my life where I explored the world in the comfort of my home. There were offline meets too and I hope some of the friendships formed through those forums still exist.
Then as broadband became cheaper, people kept on exploring through Orkut and then Facebook and Twitter. Youngsters have moved on from these traditional platforms to apps like Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and Bumble. The millennials still rely on the groups formed from Facebook and Twitter to find their tribe. The conversations are then carried over to WhatsApp and Google Hangouts for video calls. In the Covid era these online communities was a saviour for both strangers and real life circles.
The Web3 multiverse hype which started with startups with sprinkles of AI have taken over the prime topic these days. I also discovered how Discord and Reddit is the new IRC of the bygone era. The FOMO created by the social media creeps up to me at times awakening the 20 year old in me. That’s when I join random communities from Twitter.
The music community Lishash was about listening to music together. I was looking for music recommendations and realised that my contemporaries either relied on the 90s rock or classics and the elderly I look forward to has resigned themselves on books and bhajans.
Another recent group I joined was a book club which forced me to go out for offline meetups to the beautiful central Bangalore.
The young crowd makes me feel odd one out but I realised I need to rephrase it myself to break away from the usual flow and not to limit myself based on the age. The results have been flourishing. Got to know about fusion and indie music which I have been unaware of much and got few modern thriller books though I am more into the journey of self help and biographies in the reading world.
Nevertheless these interactions on WhatsApp have been the lifeline for me the past few months. As much as try to veer away to indulge in some other hobbies I see communities everywhere. Be it the apartment society groups, the gaming communities, or the dance groups or any other workshop you join there is a group to continue the networking online. It’s like we are always connected but the real question is are we really?
I “recognise” the negative thoughts which rises like a dark cloud shadow, “accept” it and try to “rephrase” them to avoid over generalisation and bring about a positive outlook. It’s an old wine of “move on” in new bottle which I drink as medicine as part of my healing journey.
Here’s to many such journeys which we are sailing in boats of communities across the ocean of life…