Much Ado About Virtually Nothing

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The Indian social media space is slowly becoming a room full of cyber-crybabies. Be it the bullied or the bullies, everybody seems to have an opinion, with an intent of making it to scandalous news articles that carry the title “Shocking”, or even “X gives back to Y in swag”. Given the notion of entertainment that is fed to us, the Indian social butterflies can inject melodrama just about anywhere. From GoT to the Olympics, our taste of harping on non-issues and making cyber-celebs out of nobodies is no longer amusing.

Gone are the days, when the only opinion people offered centered on politics, Bollywood and cricket. Now, even those remotely tech-savvy seem to have a say on everything under the sun. Censorship in India, especially cinema, is a confusing affair. We don’t know what our certification board is initiated for, very much like managements running corporate India. We want to become the Greece of its golden era (which is the birthplace of direct democracy), but our judgment is based on hearsay.

If you don’t chuckle on crass humor you are labeled dull, but those actually indulging them seem to have no boundaries. For the uninitiated, roasts have been used as a public bash platform for over 65 years now, and it is done with full consent of all the participants (in simpler words, it’s a spontaneous script, much like WWE). These bullies seem to think the world is their playground and that offending someone is not a taboo. They seem to have taken it on themselves to change the ago old expression, ‘laugh and the world laughs with you; cry and you cry alone’. These days, the world laughs on you, more so if you are caught crying. This crying is mostly done through social media, so there seems to be no restraint on how much to express and how to do it anymore.

Even the make-believe world of the Matrix had rules and boundaries (although not all of them followed the laws of science, or even commonsense, but bear with me, they did try to have some semblance of logic). Similarly, any world — real or virtual— has set boundaries; some spelt out, some unsaid. The virtual world is made of real people, even if they hide behind the veil of anonymity, or poorly spelt screen names. Most of them are possibly timid and avoid confrontation at all costs when that veil is off in flesh and blood. That said, the unending circle of the viral worldwide web is unforgiving and doesn’t forget easy. The trolling game is vicious and often treads on the lines of insensitivity. The backlash, counterarguments, and social media out-casting is tiring for those that can’t care less. Never forget, you can be traced.

Laws in our country may seem ineffective and are quite obviously not very refined, but we are not a lawless state. Perhaps, it’s time for those with a thinking brain to start becoming truly intolerant, indifferent even!

Kamakshi Venugopal