Social Media and the Problem of Plenty

Social media is exhausting, specially if you are intending to garner an audience or self-promote. There are myriad channels of communication and showcasing; all are craving your attention and content. If you are a writer, artist, or pursuing any creative channel, you are immediately in the snare of the social media octopus. There is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and I am ignorant of so many other channels.

All demand that you place your content in the most presentable way, on each one of them. There is information and design overload – the same content flooding the data stream with tags and hashtags. More than the creative pursuit, it is the pressure of pushing your content into these channels to grab the maximum eyeballs. Social media feeds on your deep FOMO – fear of missing out – in showcasing your content and following the trends.

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Truth and Dare

Yesterday, Indian social media was abuzz with two events involving journalists. One was about a senior editor being phished into believing she had been appointed as an assistant professor of journalism at Harvard. She apparently shared crucial personal information with the cyber criminals and actually flaunted the not-yet-acquired job position title since the past 3-4 months to get speaking and writing engagements. The latter act majorly divided social media opinion on her intentions and reduced the sympathy and seriousness related to the phishing act that made her quit her cushy job at a leading newsroom in India.

The other more revealing news came in the form of hundreds of pages of WhatsApp chat leaks of a leading journalist in a national news channel. Not only was this bad publicity for WhatsApp that is paying for large advertorials claiming our chats are safe on their platform, it was an absolute riot for Indian social media users, who enjoyed every bit of juicy stuff highlighted in the chat transcripts. The said journalist is believed to be unscrupulous in his means, loud, arrogant, angry, and condescending. At the same time, he has a large fan following of those who condone his nationalist stand and rowdy debates on Prime Time. But this weekend, the Nation wants to know this journalist and his brand of journalism better by consuming the reams of WhatsApp chat in faint Courier New font.

An interesting weekend indeed with the promise of excitement, controversy, gossip, reveals, debates – all delivered directly to your favourite social media account. Needless, to say, it prompted me to pen a verse.

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