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We need rules for Social Media

Gone are the days when people connected through school, colleges, hobbies, jobs or common friends. More than 70% of communication happens these days through Whatsapp, Facebook and social media. Relationships are formed and broken on phones and computers. I remember that competition in Academics, scholarships, profession etc was integral part of lives back in my school/college days. It was important to keep ahead of others. This competition is of altogether different type. Who is faster on Whatsapp & social media? It is a killer competitive spirit more than IAS and JEEE. Who forwards the new joke first, who comments on the messages first, who changes the title in the group first? Whose status draws more attention? Who can put the better profile picture?

I must say that our GK and knowledge of current affairs have definitely improved from the times of Manorama yearbook and Competition success. Today information and opinions are given freely and often. I wish I could say opinions are also defined better but sadly that is not the case. Usually social media becomes battleground for arguments. Groups are formed, people are added randomly who randomly pick topics and randomly comment, which ticks off random, people and people randomly quit.

At times the groups that are formed for a specific purpose have social, political, patriotic or inspirational messages bombarded that the basic purpose is defeated in endless thread of conversation. People take offence and quit if they are reminded of not posting irrelevant messages. How can forwarding jokes or quotes take precedence over real communication? Why is it so important to send forwards or even informative messages when someone or the other in the group is constantly reminding to not put those kinds of messages? Why does anyone’s ego take a beating if it is pointed to him or her? Why should anyone link credibility or popularity with the number of messages sent?

There are groups, sub-groups, local groups, close groups and intimate groups. Group for family, inlaws, outlaws, neighbors, khandaan and every other combination possible on the earth. Then there would be someone who will put a same picture, joke or a quote in all the groups in same mili-second. Lo karo ab delete har jagah se. Before WA I believed people are busy but I was wrong. You will find your contacts sending you good morning, afternoon, evening, night, rainy day, sunny day, birthday anniversaries, deaths, strikes, price hike, cinema reviews messages any time of the day they deem correct. Someone would wakeup at ungodly hour in the morning and send happy morning message. Bhai tu bagal me soyi biwi ko wish karle yaan bagal ke kamre me apne mataji-pitaji ko pranaam kar.

Then there are recycled messages. I understand occasions and festivals but resending lost, found, death and news messages years later is beyond me. Before sending a message please check the relevance and credentials. People take offence even on the members who are not active; every now and then you will find a message rebuking them and the poor admin. Is it necessary to reply and acknowledge each message? I understand a thumbsup when you are taking count but thumbsup on a thumbsup followed by 70 types of smilies individually or grouped I don’t understand like I am still contemplating those 2 blue ticks are a blessing or a curse.

I so desperately want someone to draft a rulebook on using whatsapp. I would readily do it but one I am scared of offending people in the process and second I plead guilty of having done some of this stupidity myself. I guess I have lost the right to point at these phenomenon. But then someone has to do it and I promise I will forward it to all my contacts and groups and also repost it periodically to drive home a point and will take a chance of someone blocking me for life or disowning me completely.

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Renu Handa

Academic/Science/Research

Madhya Pradesh ,  INDIA

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