Social media has become very effective tool for connecting with people. Be it an author or a film star or a political party, everybody wants to extract maximum from social media in terms of reaching out to the people. The recent election in Delhi showed how BJP and AAP were not just contesting election on the ground but there was a parallel contest on Twitter, Whatsapp and Facebook as well. Charm of social medium has been so overwhelming that many people prefer to hang on to these two mediums to get relevant information.
Social media has done one more important change and that also adds to the attraction of this medium. Social media has given voice to hitherto unheard of people. In other words, it has given wings to fly as far as sharing one’s opinion is concerned. It was always difficult to access mainstream media whether print or electronic.
To get one’s voice heard on conventional media, the best a person could do was to write a letter to the editor, but with social media gaining acceptance, the horizon has got broadened and everybody now has the right to be heard by just typing some words. “Viral” is no more a term associated with disease, it is now identified with social media. So if you were not aware who “ Rega Jha” was, being hooked to Twitter could have solved this problem for you. One remark by her on eve of India- Pak world cup match brought her in notice on social media
With all the benefits that social media has brought, it has also exposed the natural extinct of an average man. Social media has exposed decency of so many people and has brought that rage out of the drawing rooms. People are becoming abusive on social media. It has become a medium for settling scores. Political parties are using social media to be one up than their opponents. Public scrutiny of newsmakers in the society has increased but the response is not what a decent society would expect.
The worst hit is the lack of authentication of information that gets circulated on these mediums. This was clearly manifested in case of Amul milk pouch controversy in which case Amul had to clarify doubts raised on social medium platform “Whatsapp”.
Social media offers benefit of laissez faire very limited intervention from government. Though there is a law in place to control misuse of electronic media, there are limited cases of usage of these laws. Unless things move out of control, intervention from government has not been done. The end result of this is that people have acquired unlimited freedom to say anything that they wish. While some people resort to abusive language, some who are so-called educated transcend limits of decency by questioning the obvious. Even institutions such as Supreme Court or Election Commission are not spared.
Social media shows that while people want freedom of expression, they are not ready to take responsibility. Ironically both of them come together. Twitter and Facebook admin cannot act as a watch dog all the time. Hence the responsibility of ensuring that decency is maintained by the users of social media. A forum which is great place to debate cannot be allowed to use abusive language or to settle scores. Though it is harsh to say but the fact remains that social media brings the animal which all of us have inside us. It becomes responsibility of every user to make social media a more decent place for exchanging ideas.
By: Vivek Sharma