Over the course of the last decade, social media has revolutionized political discourse. Now it is not just a tool for us to share the details of our lives with our friends but it is also a means of protest and conversation. What mainstream media does not cover, by virtue of the fact that it is driven by its need for profit, social media manages to cover.
Social media has immense power, which citizen journalists are hellbent on using. When mainstream media was busy covering the Sushant Singh Rajput case, the monsoon session of the parliament and the various ways in which procedure was broken, were barely acknowledged by news media houses. This is where social media comes into the picture. There reason why there was a significant amount of awareness about the monsoon session and the Farmers bill was due to the constant posting by activists, freelance journalists and informative pages.
People with a high number of followers can not only bring ignored issues to light but they also have the power to influence opinions. The issue arises when these influencers do not use their potential the right way. Posts such as “Why the fascist government wants to make farmers suffer” evidently have a one-sided take on the situation, meaning that the information provided on these posts on twitter and Instagram are unlikely to share the point of view of the other side. This causes the followers of such pages to hold a biased view.
Additionally, the easy availability of information on social media is the reason for a drop in the number of people who read newspapers on a daily basis. Moreover, the amount of information one can fit into an Instagram post or twitter thread is usually not enough for the reader to understand the issue fully. The laziness along with the minimal amount of information received from social media, has led to a very misinformed youth participating in redundant debates.
The trolling on social media has also caused a very polarized nation wherein the right and left wings of the internet debate by calling each other names instead of using facts. People are intolerant towards any opinion which is not like theirs. While this may have been the case for a long time, social media not only provides us with echo chambers to reinforce our opinions but also makes it easy for us to hide behind screens and argue with unknown people.
There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ side here, only a Gray umbrella enveloping us all. There is no solution for the social media problem, except awareness which can only be done by reading more and relying less on Twitter and Instagram as our main sources of news.
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