Social Media- A Bane or a Boon

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Zainab Ashraf

If half a century ago someone would say that he/she can talk, see or chat somebody thousands of miles away, he would have been called a fool. However, it has been rightly said that,” night is for those who dream only and day is for those who make dreams true”. This saying fits aptly on Nikola Tesla who not only dreamed of a wireless world and a wireless communication system but also worked hard to turn this illusion into a reality. Last two decades proved that visionaries don’t dream merely, they set a path which leaves clues for others to light up this path and make this world a paradise.
It is the outcome and results of Tesla’s dreams which are running the modern world— the digital era of human civilization. It is the peak time of human civilization, of a creature which started its journey from wild caves as a wild beast. Ever since mobile phones appeared on the horizon of human civilization, wonders started happening. The unthinkable distant dream of N. Tesla matured into a beautiful reality. Then started the age of social media which changed the very definition of the world. The dream of a global village came true. Really ‘have a genius around you to attract the genius within you.
Social media is a conglomerate of different means of mass communication which connects one person with another giving rise to a web of social interactions and social relationships between the connected persons. Smart-phones transformed the world and this transformation was turned into a digital revolution by the means of social media. Thus a lifeless rigid society was converted into an organic unit. This unit has various means as its sub units like Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, Instagram etc. these collectively form the blood and flesh of social media.
However, this beautiful journey of social media has also given rise to nasty thorns in its path. This blood of modern society has got infected and this revolution is becoming an unending monster, unleashing the beast nature of humans. Let’s systematically analyse various pros and cons of social media.
Firstly beginning on a positive note, I can say that it has given a new dimension to our lives. Social media has revolutionized the field of news and information. It has given a definite shape to the citizens’ grievances and has made the administration a lot accountable and transparent. The fractured field of citizen journalism has got a viable and strong platform, making citizens’ participation in governance more effective. Now a days even a poor street vendor can upload his complaints and bring the mighty steel frame of bureaucracy on its toes. The example of poor army men and the corruption in their units jolted the whole politico-administrative machinery of India.
Social media has become a battle field where relentless battle of common man with the administration is being fought. It has become a popular stage of public opinion and collective social energies. The people bring forth the administrative lacunas and lapses in the public gaze and thus the platform of pressure group tactics makes social media a useful tool of citizens. Thus the human rights cannot be a mere formality now days. The stories of Rohingyas were spread to every corner of the world by social media. Otherwise this genocide would not have been seen by NGO’s in particular an the world in general.
Social media is also a means of talent hunt. The latent talent of poor artists has the social media as the biggest platform where everyone can watch them. The newspapers, GK blogs, videos, online shopping etc has got cheap medium in the form of social media with detailed reviews.
However, this bright side and shinning beam of light has entered into a dark cave where its positives have been left back at the mouth of this cave. The society has been trapped in social dilemmas. The sharp weapon of public opinion has been blunted by the online trolls, bullying, mutual regional and religious hate mongering, sectarian divisions cutting down every useful social fabric of the society. The patriotism, a boon for the society has been taken the ugly shape of nationalism, which has created fear psychosis and compartmentalized the society.
The “clash of civilizations” propounded by S. Huntington way back in 1990’s has come true. The Hindu vs Muslim; the Christian vs Muslim debates, conflicts etc have become the new trend and social media is catalyzing this menace disproportionately.
Another disturbing thing is the online social trolling and other related cyber crimes. The paid members of political parties with fake identities are busy in spreading totally fake, fabricated and edited information against one another. So social media has become a medium of character assassination platform for them round the clock in the name of freedom of speech. The pace of crime against women is very high who are now being stocked, trolled and bullied online by the eve-teasers. Thus a sort of electronic eve-teasing is taking the shape.
Media trials are another sad aspect of social media where definition of a terrorist is anyone having a beard, a round cap and a loose dress (khan dress). Even an innocent Muslim is now treated as a terrorist in many places. Many like Kanhaya Kumar, Shaila Rashid, Umar Khalid etc are still traitors and anti-nationals for social media.
The concept of newspapers and the traditions of book culture are alarmingly decreasing due to a lot of addiction towards the foolish stuff in the social media. Social media has almost chocked down the relations and family bonds. The social institutions of family, kinship, marriage etc are slowly suffocating in our strong liking for the unknown and false friends. Now-a-days our feelings are becoming our whatsapp and FB status, emotions our DP’s and relations our followings, likes and comments. We have become a friend of an American, a European or any other national but our own parents, siblings and relatives are getting unfriended and offended. We have connected the farthest but disconnected the closest ones, those who need us and our love badly.
No doubt,’ variety is the spice of life’ but if it is in excess, consequences are disappointing. Balance in our habits is the need of the hour. We, our educational and religious institutions have a big and challenging social responsibilities to educate the society. But here the torch-bearers have lost the sight. Here every social evil is being given birth by we the so-called educated class of society, the torch bearers. We should inculcate socially useful values, principles and ethics in our youth and children, making them socially useful assets.
They say that” values are caught not taught”. We have to change ourselves first, as charity begins at home. We should not stick to our phones in front of children. A better tomorrow wont come by speeches, seminars, essays or appeals but by better individuals. No doubt we have a big challenge in front of us but we can make social media a positive force by collective and persistent efforts. The way we use it can turn this ban into a boon, like a knife which when used by a surgeon becomes a life-saving tool but when used by an anti-social agent, the same tool becomes a curse.
Let’s be optimistic about a progressive society, as optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.
The writer is a student of SSM English Academy Kupwara.