Do You Live On Facebook or Earth
Everyone is on a WhatsApp group today, unless he/she is in coma, cut off from the world or absolutely unique.
The number of people who send a ‘Good Morning’ / ‘Goodnight’ message (often several of them) every day on their smartphones in India, despite its high illiteracy, is astounding, as is that of users forwarding, without checking or often even reading, any message they get. This often spreads fear, fake news or hate.
Indians are among those using this messaging app most. Owned by Facebook, this app had to set some special terms, like ‘ only five forwards’ for India and later extend them to other countries.
It was made necessary because the unthinking forwards led to dangerous situations like lynching due to fake mesages of child-lifting reaching thousands of people within seconds.
Fake news and provocative messages creating law and order problems spread faster than wildfire. Millions of people get addicted to watching their phones. Once used to read WA posts every few minutes, they spend hours on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or YouTube, equally addictive.
This causes not only a huge loss of productivity but also reduces actual human contact and face-to-face communication. Another problem arising from it is war of words between groups of rival ideologies.
Some feel that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is under attack from ‘Dynasty Devotees’ who want Rahul and his dynasty back in power. The DDs call them Modi Bhakts (worshippers). Both sides feel the other side has paid people doing the messaging. And both may be right/wrong.
Though some of the posts do seem to be created by the IT Cells of the BJP and the Congress, most are posted by people who strongly feel on issues. Some posts, especially those attacking the other religions, are certainly handiwork of fundamentalist fanatics wanting to fan social tensions and even riots.
It is true that Modi, supposed to be an orthodox, backward, RSS full timer, used electronic media and technology much more effectively than the ‘young, foreign educated and secular’ Rahul Gandhi, Soon the Congress caught up.
Some groups ask members to refrain from political posts and stick to family issues. .
Will people learn to live on earth, instead of Facebook, Instagram or Twitter?