Surviving social media- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

BENGALURU: I strongly feel that we Urban Kannadigas on social media are one of the most confused bunch of people on this planet. Being on these platforms since 2007 has given me the undue advantage of observing and understanding trends, differences, fallouts, cliques, tragedies, comedies and silences too. While I prefer posting at odd hours, I also know when a post can garner maximum traffic and which topics are preferred by us Kannadigas. I consider myself a realistic bystander with decent observational skills.

So, this usually happens. A person trends when they post on controversial subjects. Then, eventually someone in their friends’ list writes something that opposes his views. Now, something very amusing happens. Those who pressed the like button and even commented on the first man’s post can also be spotted openly supporting the second post. After a couple of days, someone else posts opposing both these people, backing their post with facts and figures. Well, what do you know? Same people in the comments section!! That’s why I said, ‘most confused bunch’.

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Then there are a few pathbreakers. They are determined to oppose anyone who does not sync with their wavelength. They consider everything else plain trash. Every day is spent making shocking declarations and judgments. These people usually have a set of followers who faithfully share all their posts and are ready to defend them in case someone decides to take on them. Their walls usually resemble warzones or thriller movies. Friends turn into foes within minutes, deceased people are canceled and verdicts are passed on a daily basis.

Someone I was on very good terms with unfriended me recently. I texted him to say I was surprised and asked if he cared to tell me why. His reply baffled me. He had unfriended me because he read a post of mine that said ‘more than a decade being on social media had given me enough clarity to see the difference between friends and acquaintances’. I said I was glad he told me and somewhat gleefully told him I will never cross paths with him again.

Political views usually elicit very strong reactions on social media. Nowadays you can easily master expletives just by scrolling over comment sections in Twitter and Facebook. Even those in the public sphere who wish to stay away from all the toxicity are trolled for their silence. While Instagram seems a little less harmful, it has always been accused of triggering narcissism, depression and body issues among youngsters.

As to myself, I benefit from a set of elementary rules I have been following all these years. I do not entertain fake profiles and locked profiles since I cannot verify them. People who come up with or share hate posts are blocked. I never curse or use offensive respect during my interactions and always different opinions. I make sure to appreciate a well-written post and finally, apologise — whenever I am wrong. This is my code and it keeps me sane.

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