OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND TRENDING NEWS



Ever since the lockdown was put to effect from March-end, social media has had heydays with sensationalized news and trends. Insta-Live sessions, David Warner’s TikTok videos, How to Boil Water – tutorial videos, Mental Wellness awareness, Insta-doctor advises amongst the usual pictures of sleeping pets, drooling toddlers and such.


Every day, we catch up on trends and advice from social media. Pre-Pandemic or Pandemic, Social Media is the ONLY platform that is abuzz with activity, apart from the Corona spreading far and wide.


Some of us “woke” netizens regularly discuss, on how Social Media controls a person’s thought and opinion. The classic example is the case of a famous actor’s unexpected passing, the hue and cry of which lasted shorter than his two-week grieving period. People had the next issue to rage on about, till as long as the other issue cropped up.


This sad trend set me thinking on the “original” purpose of Social Media, where Oxford gave me this - websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. This definition sure is abstract, but clearly, the usage of such platforms changed from engaging in meaningful conversation or marketing about their work/enterprise/thoughts to forming armies that spread negativity, crass content and demeaning comments.


During strange times such as the present, where people are genuinely “displaced” from their rhythm of life, they have to grapple with the new normal – Working from Home and working (more) for home.


Notwithstanding the monotonous rigours of a limited variety in daily activities and suddenly finding time in hands, social media surfing became respite. Its usage has become 5X now, and most jobs are involving usage of social media, thus blurring the already confusing lines between productivity and entertainment.


Thus, social media has taken the role of an invisible manipulator who breeds people with “herd mentality” and sets the agenda/news that needs to be collectively shouted about, without focused outcome or change. Most people easily bunny-hop from one issue to another, without so much as bothering to check if there was any outcome or change made. Thus, the rut goes on and on.


Sure, exposure and awareness needs to spread, but isn’t it necessary to do so, for positivity and positively? While I squarely comment that such people have genuinely lost their moral values and sensitivity towards fellow humans, I equally appreciate those people who consciously filter what they think/talk/share about.


Life on Social Media, for many of us, has been a great ride – Connecting, exchanging ideas and holding discussions with families, friends, colleagues, influencers and thinkers.


But it is not all sunshine and roses. There are proven studies from reputed cyber-psychology universities that indicate increasing anxiety of missing out, depression due to a human mind’s inability to perceive another person’s real success the way it should be, and much more such issues.


It is a complex topic to dive into, and one article will do no justice to the effects and ill-effects of social media. Nor is my intention to preach, for your action is your responsibility. Although it is vital to halt, assimilate, weigh the consequence and understand the responsibility that each of us carries, the next time while blindly hitting the like/comment/share button.


Shruti Balakrishnan


About the Author


Shruti Balakrishnan is an avid reader and a social media manager for almost a decade. Having closely followed trends and its effect on netizens, the above article has been written to serve as a wake-up call. The author can be reached at shrutibala@gmail.com

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