By Rekha Rani:
Science and technology have gifted us numerous tools and resources to ease our life since time immemorial, be it the generation of light and electricity, or creating unimaginable means of communication in the form of cell phones, computers, televisions, and what not. But we human beings have always gone to the extreme level and exploited these resources in a way that they appear to be more of a disadvantage, than being beneficial.
One such boon of science is social media, which once devised with the thought of uniting people, has been serving the opposite purpose these days.
It connects us to the people who matter to us and at the same time also fills our newsfeeds for us to be aware of the happenings in our environment. Moreover, it also allows us to give voice to our opinions and share them with others who might hold the same view and appreciate it. Up to this point, things seem to be fine. But things went awry when people started the trend of trolling users who did not share their opinion.
Now it has grown so much that people seem to think it is alright to threaten someone, scare them if they raise their voice, and not only be abusive, but attach to them a tag or a label that is assumed to be right. But why do people have to be ashamed of the sides they take, irrespective of how wrong their opinions may appear to us?
What probably started with the online trolling of celebrities and public figures, has changed tremendously with people now able to target a whole university through it.
Starting and being a part of an online movement may seem to be interesting, but would it be helpful or disastrous if we, without any research, support those who want to enrage us? And why do we want to be enraged? If something is of serious concern then it can be dealt with through proper channels. But when labelling and tagging online goes viral instantly, it not only makes people feel influential, it builds a polarised society too. In such a case, things can only be either perceived as black or white without people realising the fact that much of reality lies in between.
Social media was not a dangerous place to be, but our misuse has made it so. Criticism is without any doubt necessary, which is why feedbacks are deemed important. The internet made it even simpler for us. But that can be helpful if we think before we write in that comment box.
We are a country of people speaking different languages, eating different food, following various cultures, but still living with each other. How has that been made possible? The reason is that while believing in our own ideology, we don’t feel the need to force it on others; we already know how to co-exist in a country with so much diversity.
It should be understood that two different people can never have the same opinion on every matter; we are bound to differ, on one issue or the other. It happens to us in our own family, in our circle of friends. We differ with them on a number of things, but don’t we care for each other? We do not label them, or malign them. But the whole situation takes a U-turn on the internet.
There are, and always will be, some vested interests, people with no actual opinion, who would only give oxygen to the raging fire. And many of us follow their lead rather unknowingly because our opinion also sounds similar, without any focus on the facts.
We should know what we are interested in – is it truth or the need of arriving the conclusion of our choice. We should be more interested in the first though the latter seems to be the case in the present scenario. The former requires proper research, discussion with others and study to come to a conclusion regarding any belief. All of this takes substantial time and effort on our part, which most of us don’t have in our packed lives. Then how do we come to the final judgment and form rigid opinions? Today, we may be wrong. So is the case with other people too. But is being rigid really the need of the hour? If we learn to ignore and filter unnecessary and biased information, we may be able to actually enjoy the vast number of benefits that social media endows us with.
Featured image credit: plantronicsgermany/Flickr (modified).