April 12, 2011

Passive Aggression

Call me a skeptic. But IMO it’s been mostly about passive support. (Because it really does not demand much of an action/effort on one’s part.)

And the online social media (not to forget the ‘traditional media’) going ballistic in a topsy-turvy frenzy. That’s what it is. And oh yea, the opportunistic tendencies of cashing-in on anything that’s current and hot/trending.
  • How many of you have ‘liked’ the India Against Corruption ‘page’ on Facebook? Or the page(s) for Anna Hazare? Or the one that says IPaidaBribe?
  • Put up a PicBadge on Facebook to ‘support’ the cause?
  • How many of you blogged about it?
  • Tweeted?
  • ‘Updated’ your ‘status’ on Facebook?
  • Forwarded e-mails?
  • Shared the links to various sites?
  • Gave missed calls?
  • Wore white to office this Monday?
I did none of the above.
(Sharing links – Yes…this one instance and they’re only opinions. Also I had ‘liked’ the IPaidaBribe page long back because a friend was working in a related field. So they don’t count).

Let me ask you another set of questions.
  • How many of you observed a fast?
  • Participated in the rallies?
More importantly:
  • How many of you read and tried to understand the implications of the proposed legislation that’s under so much of fire (and flak)?
  • Watched news channels where this was being debated to see if it made any difference to your understanding of the document? (While we’re at it, let me ask you which version you read? Or do you know how many versions have been released… at all?)
  • Agree that this will indeed control corruption in our country (based on your understanding of the issue)?
As for me, same answer - I didn’t do any of it (except maybe watch a bit of news/interview to see what it’s about – to get a feeler). Oh, c’mon. Now, kill me.

If you still did not get what I’m driving at, I’d like to quote a sentence from one of the articles:

What Twitter and Facebook, along with picture video sharing sites, achieved was to bring the movement to the desktops, tablet PCs and mobiles, with pleas for support dropping in every second.

And I’m thinking it stopped right there.

I would’ve let this pass. Wouldn’t have mentioned it in my blog at all (much like the recent Indian World Cup Victory. Or the earthquakes in Japan, for that matter). But I’m compelled to. Because inspite of my existence on SNSs for close to a decade I can’t/don’t understand what happens to social issues when they are propagated via this medium. The overdrive and the overkill! (Also, ‘Second Independence’, ‘Mahatma’ references…??? Are the two contexts really that comparable?)

I agree that it enables quicker awareness (faster than news channels, perhaps!) and reaches out to a wider audience (who anyway don’t have the patience to read newspapers or large chunks of text that needs some comprehension and processing!) and kicks off heated arguments and discussions (but again, what’s that adage…the more that gets said, the lesser that gets done?).

And then, what?

Like I said earlier, it might be that I’m a skeptic (and an average just-another-citizen-who-doesn’t-care-until-it-affects-me-personally). Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that it’s being talked about. Just hoping that the momentum will sustain itself and that ‘the cure does not become worse than the disease’ (as a certain Mr. Thapar suggested during an interview).

Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. Mind it!

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