Battlefield Twitter

Governing in silence for the past six years, the Prime Minister Office-India suddenly voiced itself (ironical to term “Prime Minister”, which has, over a period time become synonymous to the phrase “dead silence”) on the popular 140 word social networking website – twitter, only to realize that it’s impact has been way too large, larger than the popularity of the Office itself – thanks to some “#cattle class” networkers running parody accounts of the PM Office.

The Government, fearing misinterpretation of such accounts or more reasonably, unable to digest the harsh criticism, had filed an application with twitter in June this year. Perhaps, justified in its approach, given that the esteemed citizens of this country had failed to interpret the real faces of their parliamentary representatives during the general elections.

Refusing to give in to the illogical demand of the Government of India, the social networking site didn’t respond back, teasing the Supreme to resort to its countless power. And so it did. Hiding behind the exodus of the North-Eastern citizens, the government shut down the six ‘misleading’ accounts by ordering the Internet Service Providers (ISP) to block their profiles URLs.

Although, we all agree to the fact that there are certain websites and some content over the internet that promotes communal disharmony and needs to be dealt with stiffly, but everything else that criticizes the government can’t be made a goat. This is no China, for god sake.

Damning the government for its arrogant attitude, the rest of the netizens are seen taking on the corrupt class (political power-heads) by offensively tweeting against them. The hashtags #goiblocks, #emergency2012 and #indiablocks have been trending over the internet.

To quote, some of the tweets read as:
“The worst hate speech was made not on social media but in Parliament by Owaisi. While he is still on twitter, others gagged” @jitengajaria
“At the stroke of the midnight hour as Indians slept, world awoke to censorship” @MsWeera
“Rabid right-winger PM0India a) gets to become a martyr and b) will re-appear and start hate-tweeting from another account.” @DilliDurAst

Meanwhile, justifying their high-headedness, a PMO official was quoted as saying, “We are fine with parody, even though at times it is in bad taste, and there is criticism of the government. But we can not allow anyone to misrepresent the PM’s office and tweet nonsense from these accounts”.

Well, Sir, all I fear is of the day when the name of every other netizen starts appearing to you as that of PM Manmohan Singh. If only you could bring down the internet on that day.

The public sentiment is pretty evident – people feel disgusted by the brazenness of the government. The officials must try and understand that for running the country, they need to feed the so called cattle class; which these days does not eat the long political speeches, but an uncensored internet.

P.S. – This latest cyber restriction by the government in the wake of social media uprising, has only jeopardized its already deteriorated public image #RIPCensorship.

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I need a Facebook Rehab

Current Location: New Delhi, India
Time: 0730 hours.
Broad daylight.
A mouthful of breakfast and he’s ready for the night’s sleep.

No, it’s not a jet-lag. Neither isImage it a night-watchman job at a call center or an off day at work. It’s a routine that 18 year old Ajay follows. Updating statuses, changing profile pics, posting “haawt” comments, playing pool games and chatting with friends, Ajay tweets his way through the night; leading a lifestyle addicted to social networking.

Dwelling in the virtual world of emoticons, he along with many of his peers, likes to rock to the beats of ‘hooting owl music’ at night.

Rejoicing in the currency of “likes”, the nocturnal youth of today suffers from heavy eyes, dizziness, headache and low concentration by the morning; raising a deep sense of concern among parents and academicians. Where recent surveys show soaring number of high school grads flocking social networking websites for long duration, institutes are trying to take necessary steps to curb this addiction. Lately, two of India’s prestigious engineering colleges: Indian Institutes of Technology, Delhi and Madras have implemented restriction on the Wi Fi connections in campus hostels between 12am and 6am. The reason, according to Shashi Mathur, dean, students, IIT-D, is to ensure that the academic performance of students does not suffer. He says, the internet connection, which was available to students during the midnight hours earlier, would disrupt their studies. Students would watch videos or be busy on social networking sites till late in the morning. Hence, waking up late and getting delayed for classes.

Facebook, the addictive virtual world where “friend requests” come easy and  ”likes” come free, has become more of a “hangout” place  where people find it interesting to “check in” other person’s life. Sarah, 22, a Canadian student at Kings College said, “I want to know what is going on in my friend’s life. It’s not only a curiosity with Facebook. I like to feel like I’m part of their life.”

Every time you log onto Facebook, friendship invitations await you. David Smallwood, head therapist at Priory’s Addictions London told a daily journal that at least 10 per cent of the Facebook population is vulnerable to “friendship addiction”. This means that many people take their Facebook friends list seriously. The focus and time they spend on creating a brand on these social networking sites is a standing testimony to the awakening of the narcissist in today’s society.

Paulo Coelho, best-selling author of ‘The Alchemist’, says
“Technology is not an alternative to real life.
Facebook is not an alternative to friendship.
Enjoy both, but don’t forget you need real people around”

Facebook therefore should be used to connect, stay in touch easily, share views and not waste time on.

P.S. – Try experiencing the world outside Facebook, it’s beautiful.

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