Social media – A frightfully confusing place! Or perhaps not?

Another day- another controversy, another advertisement pulled down, another open letter debated.

Another day – another flutter on social media, another image or rant of injustice, another noise, another silence.

That seems to be the story of our times. The cacophony is so loud that it drowns everything else. And on other days, there is a deafening silence on matters, which one would expect to create a ruckus. Yes, that is the world of social media. Often debated, denounced, delighted over, yet devoured. As they say, you can like it, hate it but you cannot ignore it.

Don’t worry, I am not getting into the long discourse of whether social media is really helpful or not. I don’t know whether it has the might to move mountains or in fact, is only a whisper that travels on the wind. What I do, however, know is that it can be frightfully confusing at times.

Source: Pixabay

The many ways to look at it

There are too many ways to look at it. And sometimes it’s genuinely confusing. (I’ll come to the frightening bit in a while).  

A brand puts up an advertisement on ‘ekatvam’ and suddenly all hell breaks loose. So much so that the brand takes down the advertisement, ensuing another long battle on whether it was the morally right thing to do. It is confusing because social media happens to be the very same place where videos and posts that encourage the idea of ‘unity or oneness with divine consciousness’ garner many likes and comments. (Of course, I googled the meaning of ekatvam, otherwise who would have known!

Some would interpret oneness with the divine, as oneness with the truth. It might also be interpreted as unity that transcends all worldly differences, including religion, race or gender. And hence this gets confusing, because hashtags, such as #blacklivesmatter, #challengeaccepted, #metoo or #love (which is one of the most popular hashtags of this year) have been trending pretty often. Of course, I am no expert in Sanskrit or social movements, which is probably why people like me tend to get confused a lot more than others.

Now, next was another campaign that said not to burn crackers this Diwali. And it got trolled in return. The last that I do remember is that we always knew as thinking individuals, that crackers were bad for the environment. Even if no one ever told us, I guess the smokiness in the sky was proof enough. Add to that, we have the government of our capital banning the bursting of crackers (which was *hush* not followed). But do you now see these flummoxing contradictions on our very own digital space? There are hundreds who asked for the ban of the ad on social media. On the other hand, there are hundreds who support a green and clean environment, on the same platform.

The good, bad and ugly

What is even more confusing is that social media, in fact, has been responsible for the spread of some very hard-hitting truths. It is social media that managed to gain momentum in cases, such as the Hathras rape. Videos and posts that are timely and relevant throw light on issues and incidents that otherwise would never see the light of the day.

The chaiwala wouldn’t have become a model, Fair & Lovely wouldn’t have dropped the word ‘Fair’ or the ‘Baba ka dhaba’ wouldn’t have come into the limelight. Society wouldn’t be a little on its edge, not knowing when a wrongful act could gain traction and go viral. There is also an umpteen number of influencers and content creators who create content that highlights the good and know-how of our history and society. Many of these include TheBetterIndia, FollowingLove, and more. And hence it becomes hard to draw a balance in the virtual world. Here the human capacity and emotion take drastic swings from the best to the worse.

Examples and cases

Be it cops beating the youth or cops singing soulful numbers to educate people during COVID. It could be rummaging through old videos to remind some of their earlier beliefs. Or redefining rebellion and uploading videos of songs that are under investigation by some for their ‘anti’ fervor.

Social media has helped businesses thrive, but on the other hand, has also demoralized individuals through its insensitivity. Sometimes innocent comments are thrown out of the park through unpracticed words. And sometimes, intelligence truly takes a bow unfolding the truth even between practiced lines.

Source: Technology vector created by vectorjuice –

The tilted balance

There is so much of too much on social media that yes it’s frightfully confusing. It’s frightful because its confusion is not coherent. It strikes where it pleases, drops the tempo when it likes. And on other occasions stretches beyond repair.

It becomes a circus, a confusing plot, a jumping hare taking ideas and sides into a blinded frenzy. At times it selects its favorites. A popular actor versus a lesser-known artist. A powerful TV journalist versus a pregnant or Parkinson’s disease inmate. Social media has played a huge role in highlighting these contradicting stories, yet it remains confused itself. The wave that is required for a change in matters that probably matter more is often not too turbulent. On other occasions, there is a tsunami that unleashes its wrath on unknowing innocents.

The Transcendence

And that brings me to finally sum it all up. Social media is much akin to the human race. You would argue that it is the collective race, but in that lies both its strength and weakness. It’s frightening because the human race unlike the angels or demons doesn’t take a single side. Those who do, elevate themselves to a much higher race called humanity! And since not all humans reach the realm of heavens, neither do all of the social media. Oh yes, it’s confusing, but essentially this also means it’s alive. And perhaps, that is that!

Feature image by: Mike Renpening from Pixabay

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