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Social Media The Indispensable Menace!


Social media- how much, a boon or a bane depends upon an individual’s involvement on various social media handles. But it is not always more the merrier, in terms of social media handles one follows and number of hours spent in the virtual reality

The rise of the online space on social media has given up swing to vindictive trolling. Off late there are blatant incidences seen of blackmailing, undue comments and importantly collapsing boundaries. Someone’s business is everyone’s business! Where are we drawing the limitations, if at all we are!

Social Media; love it or hate it, you cannot ignore it. Emerged as one of the most powerful communication tools to reach out to people, who matter or may not matter, across the globe, brands, advertisers, industry honchos, celebrities, are all reaching out to an unidentified audience and opening doors for interaction and reaction.

Not everything that you read is ‘true’ out there. Unfortunately, the packaging of some of the stuff and products seem so seamless that young minds think it authentic. ‘’The society at large is seeking instant gratification and validation from others, importantly even from people who do not matter in life, it is a dangerous trend,’’ says, Puneet Rathi, a trainer, coach and founder of Earth is Flat.

The addictive pleasure of getting likes and appreciative comments on one’s photo has become ‘the’ high and index of popularity. The behaviour is not prevalent only among millennials; it has spread its fangs across age groups. “So absorbed are we in our phones that we are often disconnected with the people around us but connected to scores of our ‘followers’, a harsh reality most of us may not accept,’’ adds Rathi.

Trolling – Bullying in the online world

In the online world, the freedom to speech has taken a whole new meaning- Trolling, a byproduct of social media to gain attention or become a ‘hero for a day.’ There are often extremely hateful, spiteful and derogatory comments passed on people’s posts or pictures, especially celebrities, by people, who are these people trolling them?

The faceless trolls leverage their ambiguity on social platforms to spew hate comments and unsolicited messaging on the profiles of others. According to Tom Postmes, a professor of social and organisational psychology at the universities of Exeter, England, and Groningen, The Netherlands, who has studied online behaviour for 20 years, says, “Trolls aspire to create violence, to the level of trouble they can cause in an environment. They want it to kick off. They want to promote antipathetic emotions of disgust and outrage, which morbidly gives them a sense of pleasure.”

Trolling is defined as creating discord on the Internet by starting quarrels or upsetting people by posting inflammatory or off-topic messages in an online community. A social media troll is someone who purposely says something controversial to get a rise out of other users.

From ridiculing one’s age or taunting on sexual orientation to nasty remarks about an actor’s latest piece of work, or a politician’s comment or a malfunction at an event or perhaps even on not that important or noticeable things. “I would like to categorise it as a kind of bullying, and we are accepting that openly through social media; also if you see as adults we are stepping out of the boundaries and commenting even if it is not our business, making the children also see it and follow it,’’ adds, Aditi Misra, Principal DPS.

Dealing with Trolls

You need to be a tough cookie as they say to take trolls with a pinch of salt and not let it get to you. Abhishek Bachchan, Malaika Arora, Karan Johar, Sonakshi Sinha, Sania Mirza, are some of the many famous Indian celebs who face relentless trolling on social media. From calling Bachchan ‘jobless’ to asking Sinha to lose weight to ridiculing Mirza’s on-court attire to shaming Priyanka Chopra for marrying a younger man; these trolls are relentless and pointless. The idea is to inflict pain, mock and humiliate the targeted person knowingly that these ruthless comments will be read by the public at large.

Recently Anushka Sharma raised her voice towards the incessant trolling she has been subjected to since she has been associated with Virat Kohli. She rebuffed her trollers, asking them not to use her name to create sensationalism or drag her where it’s not warranted.

One reaction to trolls could not react at all, to not feed the desired importance to the abuser, the second is to fight it tooth and nail.

This article was first published in the print version of SUBURB December 2019 issue.

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