I have been on twitter since 2009. And been using social media rampantly for the last decade. But there is a significant alteration in standards of discourse since the last five years.
When twitter began, it was a space for individuals, business, news outlets and celebrities to connect with each other. The common man like me came to interact closely with people in a way not possible before. The brevity of it with 140 characters made texting even more concise.
As twitter grew, and so did the users, social media influencers started becoming a major part of society. Reaching out to masses was easier through the 5-6 inch device in hand rather than door to door. So politicians entered the fray. Social media decided to monetize, and in turn enable manipulation of views for vested interests.
Using AI, social media started learning human behavior patterns to see how to swing elections. Companies then sold it to political firms. Whilst this is unavoidable as social media grows, the space was eventually going to face all the challenges humans face in real life as in a society.
But as an Indian, what aches me most is the drop in quality of discourse on social media. Due to polity and monetization, endorsing statements of politicians and working for political firms to promote agenda, result is a lot of people employed as cheap labor, who can’t even string 140 characters that make sense. Whilst copy paste is what they effectively do, they also end up promoting hatred and bigotry online which unfortunately is great business for these social networking businesses.
So what is the cascading effect on sane common voices on social media. Battling poor language, vocabulary, religious sentiments and a lot of pointless exercise.
Every human wears a mask in society to play to societal norms. But somehow in the mask of anonymity, humans exhibit freedom to release their unguarded emotions which quite a lot of times is violent and anti-social. Social media tries to convince its users that they have put safety checks in place, but much of it is just for the sake of it. As long as business grows, they are happy to turn a blind eye to it all.
Silent endorsement of vile social media propagandas by the ruling regime in India is an example of how the state endorses and enforces moral and immoral policing in social media. With the state showing no signs of clipping the wings of such anti-social behavior, we can only imagine a day will come when this regime also goes away.
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