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What is it that has us speaking our minds on Social platforms?  Be it a hilarious post on Facebook or a tweet that irked us on Twitter, our first instinct is to react!  Nothing wrong with that .. after all do we live in an era of Digital Democracy.  But considering the recent spate of trolling & cyber bullying, don’t we need to draw a line somewhere?

 

Here in India, last month, a social campaign did the rounds on Twitter, #SelfieWithDaughter.  This was an attempt by our people’s representative to promote yet another digital movement, an idea that originated in a village in Haryana.  Though there was wholehearted participation, did everyone really know the idea behind this initiative?

 

According to the 2011 Census, there has been an alarming drop in the percentage of girls.  For every 1000 boys the reports showed 914 girls!  That’s disturbing, right?  But is this campaign really relevant to increasing awareness in rural areas?  Are people really that active on Social Media in those areas?  Moreover, in light of the other socio – economic troubles, how does all this tweeting translate the digital support in dealing with the real struggles of a girl child or a woman?  The stats plunge in certain rural areas and the girl child is left to fend off bitter customs by herself.  Coming back, closer to home, how does it help in correcting simple inequalities like income parity to start off with!

 

With celebs like #Amitabh Bachchan & Cricketing Gods like #Sachin Tendulkar amongst the netizens posting their #SelfieWithDaughter, giving this cause the Celeb Endorsement it needs, I believe my reaction to this initiative was better left unsaid!

 

Meanwhile, some people who stood to voice their opinions were left with a bitter taste in their mouth.  Actress Shruti Sheth tweeted her reaction, but was left with no other alternative but to delete her opinion!  Ironically the trolls did prove her point!  Hurt, but not ready to give in to the digital bullying, she followed it up with an open letter which unfortunately was met with more sarcasm!  Tsk!

 

So what’s the take away from an instance of this sort?  Opinions are best left expressed amongst your friends and peers, especially when we are trying to move against the tide!  Cowardly, some may say, but I refer to it as diplomacy!  After all, what’s the point in wasting your two cents on strangers who are not on a similar wavelength as you are, or who just don’t get you?

 

This is a cynical society where we barely listen to others speak.  The same unfortunately holds true for Social Media too.  So rather than contribute to the unhealthy bullying culture, let’s try to take a step back and try to understand what is the message being conveyed.  Unless it’s directed to a loved one or you, let’s just be civil!  Cut back on degrading anyone, their line of work or attacking their loved ones.  Thats just plain rude and uncalled for .. at least in most circumstances!  Trust me when i say, it’s absolutely worth being patient on public platforms rather than succumb to impulse and say the first thing that pops up on your mind!

 

An idea, a word of encouragement, a line of acknowledgement and dissent, if any, expressed in a civil manner, these are some of the basic etiquettes that will help clean up the social platforms, and if all of us react sensibly instead of instinctively we are halfway there!

 

But well, for ones who still cant resist the urge to give in to their primal instinct and exercise their Digital Democracy, Good Luck to You!  After all, to each their own!

Supriya Balan Kuniyil

Written By Supriya Balan Kuniyil

A MARCOMM Professional with over 14 years of experience in various aspects of branding & communication, Supriya works to build & add brand value on the digital platform through strategized communication, contextual ideation & timely implementation. She can be reached at supriya@codelattice.com

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