Sunday, November 15, 2020

Social Media and I

 


We live in spurious times. The realities around us are manufactured by the media, by governments, corporations, religions, and organisations. What is really tragic is that spuriousness is accepted as normal. You keep sending messages knowing that they are spurious. You know it, the receiver of your messages knows it, everyone knows it – that the messages are spurious. Yet the messages keep coming and going. Infinity of them.

They have a purpose. Otherwise they wouldn’t survive so long. The method wouldn’t survive, rather: the method of manufacturing realities through fake messages on various media. The process is not confined to social media; you can find it in all the media: the print, the electronic, you name it. Don’t forget that even the road is a part of media. Have you observed the enormous billboards on roadsides? If you have, you will understand how they manufacture realities for you.

We can’t live without the media. One way or another we are all parts of it. We receive messages from there, we forward those messages, we are both the prey and the predator. “We become what we behold,” as Marshal McLuhan, philosopher of the media, said. “We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us.”

Our governments know that and they spend huge portions of their revenues on propaganda, on manufacture of realities. There are paid advertisements on the various media and then there is the paid news. There are ingenious other methods too. Even a Statue of Unity is a propaganda measure.

We can’t ignore the media anymore. Even the social media with all its inanities and puerilities deserves our engagement.

I make use of the social media for various purposes though I confine myself mostly to Facebook and marginally to Twitter. WhatsApp is used nowadays in professional occupation more than for anything else. My primary purpose of joining Facebook and Twitter was to publicise my blog posts and a significant number of my readers do come from these two media, according to my Blogger dashboard. But it amuses me no end that hardly anyone has promoted my posts on these media. There’s hardly even a like. So I am forced to conclude that the readers who come from these media are not necessarily people who like my writing; they are probably provoked negatively by my writing. They are people who would love to drive in a knife between my ribs if they could. I have often wondered why I fail so miserably as a writer: why I don’t inspire more than provoke. I guess I can’t help my own perversions.

The subject of this post is more social media and less I. So let me return to it.

From promoting my blog, I moved on swiftly to learning a lot from the social media. I began to take note of certain pages on Facebook like Beef Janata Party and Unofficial Dr Arnab Goswami which enlightened me in their own unique ways. I began to read quality stuff brought by online portals like The Wire and The Quint. I found these portals bringing more and better information than my morning’s print newspapers.

I find the social media useful and productive. I use them effectively, rather. I guess it is up to us to choose how we use the media. Occasionally I put up pictures on Facebook and they get a lot of likes. But my writing seldom does. I would have preferred the other way around. I wish my writing drew more positive attention. But a fish can’t choose its kind of water.

What bugs me the most these days is erstwhile friends telling me when they call (which is rare, mercifully) that they don’t read my blogs anymore but it so happened that they read this particular one… Well, I know they are reading. I know they don’t like it. I know they are also manufacturing realities in their own ways. I wish we all didn’t have to manufacture so many illusions.

PS. This was provoked by Indispire Edition 351: How are you managing Social Media? Are you up-to-date in sharing images, posts, comments, replies etc.? Any SM management tips? #SocialMediaTips

 

6 comments:

  1. Well, I think you should be a salmon then, go after the waters that you want to be in..., (motivation sucks) atleast the knowledge you earned stays with you...

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    1. We can't choose the water anymore. It is being chosen for us by others.

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  2. Well I personally think blog readership has declined in the pandemic year. I get fewer readers too. Doesn't stop me from ranting on my blog but yes, I try looking for other avenues.
    I don't trust social media anymore. Minority, majority, pro gov, anti gov...I don't know which piece to trust and how much. Most people are only earning their peanuts through this propaganda. I also feel ultimately we will believe what we want to without questioning its authenticity. So what we believe in will never be propaganda for us. In that sense propaganda now is only to strengthen pre existing beliefs and ideas.
    But I enjoy your blogs and I often think about what you write. As for blogging, I don't see much hope for it with SM campaigns and fb and insta pages taking the limelight.

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    1. Blogging in the traditional sense is losing its sheen. But I'm not switching over to popular alternatives just because writing is a passion for me. Nothing else can take its place. Even if readership declines I'll retain writing as long as I am able.

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  3. I am not a social media animal. I have found the activity prevailing there less positive, more negative. Hence I am on Twitter, FB and WhatsApp but maintain a token presence only. I understand what you are going through because as you have yourself asserted in a different post that today's India (and the Indians active on social media) lacks profundity. Those places and platforms can never be my cup of tea where superficiality enjoys the last laugh with chicanery roaming around sans any check. I write for my heart's content only (Svaantah Sukhaay) and that's why lesser readership (especially for my Hindi writings) doesn't dishearten me.

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    1. You're right, the social media is quite a frivolous place where hooligans rule. Especially Facebook. I'm there like a pilgrim encountering his unique kind of spiritual world.

      Writing is also an equally selfish affair for me. Nevertheless it'd be good to have more reader-engagement.

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