Nowadays, social media isn’t only a status symbol, but has also become an absolute necessity. Social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp, Tumblr, and Google Plus have come as a gift for people that can connect the whole world. This is not just empty rhetoric, as these channels have proven their worth from time to time. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a domestic election, or an overseas movement, or a personal branding, everybody is familiar with words like likes, followers and shares.
In the 2019 Parliamentary elections, in almost 200 seats, Indian social media played a crucial role in the victory. Also in the 2020 Assembly elections in Delhi, Aam aadmi Party did its entire campaign on social media. We also know about the role social media played during the Arab Springs movement. Besides, social media is often used by film stars, sportsmen, and celebrities for their personal branding. It’s not only the big leaders that use social media for branding. Small-time leaders are also realizing the value of social channels like Facebook and Twitter. And they are hiring agencies to look after their social media profiles or using tech savvy family members to manage it on their behalf.
You will find a lot of young people using their Facebook and Instagram accounts to get connected with their friends. However, behind these positive activities, you will also find a layer of bitter truth. Of late, there has been frequent cases of social media being used for spreading fake news, misinformation, and flawed narrative. There were many instances when social media was used for spreading rumours and hatred. We still remember the incident when incendiary speeches by political leaders triggered the Muzaffarnagar riots. In the troubled state of Jammu & Kashmir, every day we hear about one rumour or the other. In such cases, authorities have no choice but to shut down the internet to stop its spread. Social media is often used for spreading hateful audio and video messages. Sometimes people deliberately spread malicious content on social media. In some cases, they are manipulated in doing so by vested interests that often results in their imprisonment.
Social media is a very powerful tool and one needs to be cautious while sharing a post, or commenting on an incident. Once Abhijeet Bhattacharya, the famous playback singer in a tweet compared poor people with dogs. His tweet read “If a dog sleeps on the road, he will eventually die.” He was obviously trying to please Salman Khan, the Bollywood superstar. But the words he used were in rather bad taste. Besides, Twitter was also heavily criticised. Few days back, Mandira Bedi, a celebrity was heavily trolled for her tweet. She had posted her pictures in casuals while attending the last rites of her deceased husband.
Although social media is very useful, there were many instances when it was used for creating controversies. But then there are many examples where these channels are used for spreading positivity, and improving branding. We need to learn from such examples.
It all depends upon the people how they choose to use these mediums. They can either use it to grow their business across the globe turning their start-ups into world class brands. It’s up to people, how they choose to use social media. They can either use social media platforms to share blogs with a larger audience to earn name and fame, or use it for spreading animosity and hatred.
In India, Prime minister Modi is a popular figure on the social media. He uses mediums like Twitter quite effectively to communicate with people. Another example is that of Daniella Burnstein, the personal style blogger who gets paid one million rupees for a single post. Brands are too happy to pay her because she helps brand messages reach her 9,92,000 followers. This shows how powerfully a social media channel could be used.
The onus is on celebrities to set an example to use social media platforms more responsibly. People often post controversial materials to stay in the news. Unfortunately, it creates a bad precedent and others too follow the same trend. We all need to understand that social media wasn’t founded to create negativity. Once we understand the objective behind the formation of social media, we can move in the right direction.We need to change our mindset and find out how well we can use these platforms. They can prove immensely useful if used the right way. Therefore, we need to get rid of our negativity because there is no other alternative.