ArpitGarg's Weblog

An opinion of the world around me

Posts Tagged ‘facebook

What ails social media?

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social-media.jpgSocial media sprung upon us, all too suddenly. Before we could catch a breath, we were sucked into the world of facebook, twitter and whatsapp. The orthodox news media lost credibility over the years with monopolized biased reporting influenced by economic factors. If you pay for ads, we will say/print what you want. It was as if the consumers’ views didn’t matter at all. If you read/saw news that you knew to a blatant lie, you could do nothing to vent the anger. You just had to live with it.

Here is where social media came in. It gave people that medium to vent. The consumers became the news producers. Everyone was a reporter. It became platform for truth to be said. It was hailed as the voice of silent majority. People with big money didn’t have the hold on news anymore. It was liberation. One could express freely without fear.

But the bubble has started to burst. Paid accounts/pages on social media have paved way for big money to sneak in. Most of the news you see originates from Pages/Accounts, which are paid for. They are so many of them and the flooding continues. People see, people share. And thus the biased stories spread.

Reliability of news on social media is another issue. It is very easy to fake a story without major repercussions. And people do take advantage of this fact. Character assassination is common. Orthodox media lost credibility owing to propaganda stories it started running. Same is happening with social media. Paid accounts have taken the steam off liberation. We are nearing the stage of mean reversal.

Orthodox media lost touch with grass root reality. It became a rant from AC studios, mouthing propaganda. Social media is also going the same way. Paid for news, blasted to millions of people. On macro level, social media has lost touch with reality too. It has broadened the spectrum a bit. Instead of AC studios, it is run from AC rooms.

Social media was hailed as a medium to speak freely. This has also faded. People are so afraid to be lambasted on their views that they go by majoritarian view. They post what they feel people will like. They do not post what they fear will get hate comments. And hence went away the freedom.

A novel experiment has gone astray. My optimism says another one will spring up soon.

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Written by arpitgarg

April 14, 2016 at 7:02 pm

The Frustrated Indian, India Against Presstitutes etc: You are Blocked

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dislikeFacebook was such a sweet place where I could see updates/pics from my friends and stay in touch with people I met sometime in my life. Then came the surge of paid Profiles/Pages, with propaganda to sell.

AAP and BJP supporters were the ones that destroyed the utopia that facebook used to be for their election marketing. And then people in my friend list started liking such posts/sharing them, which then started showing up on my page. Mudslinging, name calling and what not. Newsfeed was getting hogged by such alien posts that I never wished for.

I have started unfollowing such accounts/pages one by one. Below are the few Pages that I have unfollowed (unfollowed would be a wrong word as I never followed them, they just started appearing whenever any of my friends liked/shared them).

  1. The Frustrated Indian: Dude you are seriously frustrated. Time to get laid. You spread negativity and in a bid to defend him, you end up damaging our PM’s reputation and make him look intolerant.
  2. India Against Presstitutes: Was nice when it began. Press reporters are anyways pathetic. But you have gone overboard and more and more negative. Time to buzz off my facebook.
  3. AAP is No More for Aam Aadmi: Again the same dumbshi*. Modi don’t need you guys. He just doesn’t need you to defend him. Period.
  4. Indian Youth Congress: Never knew such a thing existed. Budding cronies, buzz off.
  5. OpIndia: Right wing extremism to its best. Negative, negative, more negative.
  6. A lady whose name I forgot, who suddenly became messiah for pro-Government.
  7. A lot of them I forgot

Main reason is not for what they post, but for how they post. Insulting, crass and cringe-worthy. Sometimes I feel these accounts are managed by another insulting, crass, loud, negative media men, Mr. Goswami.

I can use internet. I am relatively well off. I am not a frustrated elite. I don’t need such leeches to feed off me. Not the least on facebook.

Written by arpitgarg

January 20, 2016 at 6:03 pm

Why Elections in India will not be won on Social media, Not Yet

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facebook_elections_indiaWhen Modi won elections in 2014, we noticed something new. Modi was miles ahead of his counterparts when it came to social media. We attributed the spread of huge Modi wave to social media. Some even thought that elections henceforth will be decided on social media. Bihar elections demolished it all. Social media was hinting at NDA victory. The results were upside down. What went wrong?

My take is, elections in India will not be won on social media anytime soon. The depth and diversity of internet is still languishing at the bottom. Apathy and social ostracization is still rampant in our country.

Let me explain by relating what happened in my home state UP. When Mayawati won historic 2008 elections, people were stumped the same. All surveys went haywire. Even the pan shop talks betrayed the results. Why? Analysis revealed that Mayawati voters came more from backward castes. Given the non-inclusive growth in India, these people lie at the bottom of social and income levels. At pan shop talks, they hesitate speaking their minds for fear of social ostracization by affluents of the society. Even in surveys, wary by years of apathy, they don’t openly support Mayawati, a Dalit. This ends up in wrong calculations. I call it the ‘Vocal Effect’.

Supporters of lower caste parties/leaders are less vocal. Supporters of forward caste parties/leaders are more vocal. Same behavior has moved to social media. Neither the spread of internet is across castes, nor are all of us vocal. Hence we always find Modi and AAP supporters more vocal on social media. Recently Congress people have also joined in, but are again not that vocal due to fear of being trolled for past scams.

Imagine what will happen if you comment on facebook that you support Lalu Yadav or for that matter Congress. You will face nasty comments, will be lambasted. Now imagine if you were a Dalit and posted status, “I support Mayawati”. We all know what humiliation will be meted out in comments section. So people choose to remain silent. I would have chosen silence too.

Hence I feel it’s still a long way to go when social media discourse could give clear directions. It would require equal penetration of internet. It would happen when backward castes are no longer made to feel backward. It would happen when social ostracization and social media trolling ends. Not anytime soon.

Written by arpitgarg

November 26, 2015 at 5:02 am

From Digital India to Internet.Org: Why so much skepticism?

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1With the facebook support for Digital India initiative, the net neutrality debate has come back to the fore. Some saw facebook gaining back door entry for its internet.org. The skeptics who are among fortunate few to access the internet have started badmouthing already.

First of all if facebook indeed is piggybacking its internet.org with Digital India, it’s their prerogative. It was our PM who prodded facebook for support, not the other way round. For a corporate entity answerable to shareholders, not everything can be charity. It’s silly when we want facebook or for that matter google, to provide free wi-fi etc to us in lieu of charity. “Dare not make money out of us”. This is simply not done.

Coming back to internet.org. The people who have luxury of internet (it is indeed a luxury in India), should be the last one to shout against this initiative. It has the might to bring internet to those who don’t have access to it as present. I agree it gives access to a curtailed internet. But for under privileged of our country, how is curtailed internet worse than “No Internet”?

The people, who have money to pay for www, now want to dictate the things for people who don’t have access to www. If you have any issues with neutrality, don’t trample the initiative, provide an alternative instead. It’s fancy to berate a big Corporation. It’s difficult to find a solution.

Let people decide if they choose internet.org. I firmly support that some internet is better than no internet. People against internet.org, keep your hatred aside, you already have access to net, you have nothing to gain or lose.

Written by arpitgarg

September 30, 2015 at 3:50 pm

Internet Neutrality v/s Telecom Neutrality

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OK, Lets take the much talked about topic of Net Neutrality head on. We have heard enough allegations, counter allegations and then some. Even for Computer geeks the concept of Net Neutrality is quite new, leave aside the mere surfers. Let me try and break it to bare bones.

Net Neutrality means bandwidth and airwaves are not partial to what data is flowing through. Also equal opportunity, which has led to a lot of innovation. There are two so called attacks on net neutrality. One is Airtel Zero or internet.org (facebook). Other is charging premium for whatsapp data usage.

My viewpoint on whatsapp premium is as follows. Telecom companies plead that they have paid heavily for Airwaves. They are also bound by rules and regulations. The new apps like whatsapp which have taken everyone by surprise provide services similar to sms/calls but are not bound by the same rules. What Telecom companies are asking for is a Telecom-Neutrality. For investment in telecom infrastructure, what we need is a healthy balance sheet of telecom companies. My view is since telecom companies have paid through their noses for airwaves in 2G/3G auctions, they have right to earn handsome. TV channels including news channels, ups the ad rates during IPL finals or such major events; Also tie the ad rates with TRP’s. Why are then telecom companies being targeted alone?

Well for one it’s easy to target someone who charges people money every min of the day for just uttering a word. I feel rather than targeting telecom companies, what we should fight for is level playing field. Rules and Regulations should be same for everyone providing same services. Whatsapp is no saint. They have already made 20 billion dollars. Who paid for it? You would say Facebook. I say no. I say Whatsapp has earned at the expense of the same telecom companies. We should ask Whatsapp a piece of that 20billion USD made out of next to zero investment, rather than berating telecom companies who have invested a lot.

Next is the issue of telecom companies partnering with selected websites and making them available for free. Well on the face of it I was enraged too. How can this be done? It means propagating few websites. Since people tend to choose surfing for free, it would also mean limiting the meaning of internet for the people.

Then I looked at the stats of internet penetration in India. It’s just 20% of population. Few people out of these 20% people are the one raising hue and cry. What about the rest 80% who don’t have access to internet. Don’t they have a right to internet? If they get internet for free in whatever shape, isn’t it better? No, say the high and mighty. Shallow moral arguments are put forward. Who cares for the betterment of 80%, when a small portion of the 20% who are on twitter/facebook rule the roost. I admit someone is going to too make money out of this zero/org initiatives but as long as 80% people get to access internet for free, I will be the first one to support it.

For all those who are against, I say this, you please find a better solution to take internet free of cost to the 80% and I will support you.

Written by arpitgarg

April 20, 2015 at 8:23 pm

Blasts and News

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I shied away from news channels last night. Its rare coz I feed over breaking news. However scenes on TV during 26/11 haunted me for long. There was one more reason; I have been so used to these blasts that I knew very well what would be on news channels. Let’s guess chronologically.

t=0 Blast across the city.

t=5mins Unverified news of explosion in the city. Suspected to be cylinder explosion.

t=10mins Unverified news of series of explosions. Definitely not a cylinder explosion. 10 injured.

t=15mins According to sources, it’s a terrorist attack. Blasts across the city within minutes of each other. 2 dead, 24 injured.

t=30mins Police sources have verified that these are bombings. Blast sites have been cordoned off. Injured being taken to the hospital. 7 dead, 56 injured.

t=1hr Home minister has verified it to be a terrorist attack. Lashkar, IM hand suspected. 15 dead, 87 injured.

t=2hrs Terrorist attack probe begins. IB, Forensic team on the spot. Use of sophisticated technology detected. 25 dead, 117 injured.

t=3hrs City on red alert. India put on high alert. 15 IM suspects rounded up. Investigations on. PM realys message to the nation. 29 dead, 127 injured.

t=5hrs Celebrities vent anger on twitter/facebook. Socialites damn the Security forces. Intellectuals damn the Govt. 34 dead, 149 injured.

t=6hrs Qaidai-al-kalami-jamat takes responsibility for the blasts.

t=7hrs I write this post.

Happiness is Strange

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To be honest I have had my fair share of happiness in life. Still it remains one such emotion which I have not been able to comprehend; at least the reaction to it has been an enigma to me.

Emotions and facial expressions follow each other. Sadness make the face look gloomy; fighting hard to not let the tears out, we can see lines on the face; during anger, the tension on the forehead can be detected.

But when it comes to happiness, people deal with it in their own strange ways.

Excitement Excitement: One jumps up and down. Runs around. May be to attract attention and let others know about the happiness. Or to get exhausted with all the physical exercise so as to die the excitement down.

Smile Mona Lisa: Simple smile. Blood rushes to the cheeks making them pink. The face is beaming.

LOL Laugh-out-Loud: This facebook lingo is something which a lot of people actually practice. Sudden bout of happiness. A joke perhaps. Little force on a small surface creates extreme pressure. Similarly a sudden happiness may create hysterical laughter.

High Five High Fives: Joy of victory. High fives, fists thrown up and down. This is a happiness of accomplishment. Win a war, win a game. Your face shows determination. Your face might not have a smile, but you are happy within.

Peace Peace: The face shows relief. You are happy to achieve something after a lasting struggle. Happy that that the struggle is over. After an exhaustive soccer match ending in a tie. Soldier who has been on warfront from a long time, on hearing of the truce.

Tears Tears: Here is where it gets murky. People cry when happy. How often we seen people crying on receiving an award? This pertains to getting our due after a huge effort. Tears of happiness. Strange. Isn’t it?

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