Wikipedia defines Narcissism as the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistical admiration of one’s own attributes. It’s the go-to word for anyone dissing millennials. After all what do they get out of pointlessly Tweeting, Instagramming, Facebooking their lives without pausing to reflect how unproductive it is to generate and consume endless streams of what is just valueless data? It’s a pathological condition, they often say. Maybe it is but it’s not a new one. Ever since humans (and their closest cousins) have been capable enough they have been building shrines to themselves. Taj Mahal, the Pyramids, the greatest temples and the greatest castles were all made to seek attention and devotion. They all screamed look at me, look at my life, look at my achievements, that statue of mine yes that one that’s me, like it please. Even cavemen left behind handprints and squiggly lines for us to find (we don’t call them vain, we don’t call them stupid for not spending enough time hunting, we applaud them and marvel at their ingenuity). If you have the power, the resources, and the vision, you do end up creating markers that scream about your existence. From Tutenkhamun to King Solomon, from Harun Al Rashid to Mayawati, it’s one of the most defining traits of our species. The Acropolis and the Agra Fort might be great pieces of art but so is an average millennials’ Twitter/Instagram/Facebook profile. Twenty years down the line, through these profiles you able the chart the coming of age of a generation, the popular (and the unpopular) sentiment in times of crises, the prevailing ideologies of the time, the status quo and the impending revolution, and even the fashion and the beauty trends of the years gone by. It will be history sans bias and agendas (or so clear biases that it would easy to weed out the truth, and God knows we can do with some). These little bits of information floating around in digital pathways wouldn’t be just lifeless structures of stone but breathing, heaving stories pregnant with love, hate, disappointment, heartbreak, anger and revolution. Social media is the biggest collaborative effort ever undertaken by humans. It’s fair, it’s inclusive, it’s immediate and it’s awesome. Collaboration is what made us the most powerful and devastating species on this planet. We have collaborated and hunted down animals thrice our size and we persisted till there were none left. Now bigger (and deserving foes await). Siege lines have been laid, social media the new battlefield in the war for rights, for the pursuit of happiness. It’s like the war planes during the Great War, potent and useless at the same time, but with a dangerous, palpable future ahead. Social media is more than dopamine release caused by an extra like or a comment. It’s a dimension where you can exist and hope for a better existence. Where like-minded people fight for you and with you, love you for who you are, educate you and stand by you when no one else would. Where people upload videos of getting drenched in ice-cold water which helps scientists find a genetic strain to possibly cure an unfunded, under-researched fatal disease. Where a struggling poet can finally let her words not die unheard. Where alternate sources of media can thrive and make a real difference. And none of this would be possible if there weren’t enough ‘millennials’ going head first into these data streams, liking, commenting, sharing things that matter to them the most, creating ecosystems where they could flourish in, help and find help, love and be loved. We have always strived to shrink the world. Well, now it has.