There is growing intolerance in the world of social media

intolerance is increasing online

It was an angry duel between two friends on facebook that made me write this and the more I think about it, the more it seems true. We are increasingly becoming an intolerant lot, and this behaviour is being best exhibited online.

Don’t know about the world, but there is definitely growing intolerance in the online world. Disliking one’s thoughts is one thing, debating another but people have stooped down to slandering and expressing hatred in extremely derogatory ways. People are ‘fighting’ over status messages, some are hurling abuses at each other, while trolling for a variety of reasons is widely popular.

This is a dangerous precedent we are all setting, and if we don’t keep this in check, then it will eventually simply spill over to the offline world. Here are some instances of what is fanning all this intolerant behaviour and what we can perhaps do to put an end to it.

 

1. Let us stop fighting over status messages

Ever heard of the right of speech and expression? I mean there is a line and its tough to say when one crosses it, but can we not be a little respectful towards other people’s thoughts? So they said something against your favourite political leader, about your community or religion, but how about engaging in a discussion over simply starting a war like debate that the world watches? What we don’t realise is that it’s not just the two people who engage in such a debate, but everybody else on the friend list and also the other public network that is watching this conversation.

While defending intolerance, or your community or religion, make sure you are not creating further negativity around it yourself.

A perfect case in point –

[fb_embed_post href=”https://www.facebook.com/prateekshah/posts/10156170346920471/” width=”550″/]

2. Don’t go crazy over rumours

The one big problem with online media is gossips and rumours. If the media could not be trusted in entirety, the online media is even harder to trust. The problem lies with everybody wanting to be the first and fastest. In trying to spread news quickly, many news agencies don’t even do one reference check before publishing something. Sometimes the facts they publish are not entirely true, at other times outdated, or sometimes just plain rumours, which they happily publish, because who cares about the veracity of something as long as it gets some views on the portal.

A brilliant case in point is Shahrukh Khan’s statement about rising intolerance in India. Watch the following video and see the reality behind what actually transpired.

 

 

3. Please read before sharing

We are a headline reading generation. Nobody has the time to read stuff. At best, most people read headlines. The headline of this article will in itself change opinions than the content inside. Websites make the best use of this. Click Bait is happening in full swing. Let’s get people to click and share, why bother about what they read. News is twisted and twisted further till it gets a website the right amount of clicks. Now they will not all always resort to twisting a headline for personal gain, but what about the ones that do. The common man out there doesn’t know the difference between a hundred websites, to him/her, they all look the same.

The more we rely on headlines, the more we are misleading ourselves. Please read beyond the headlines, and please read before you share.

 

In the time to come, what happens in this world will be less dependent by what happens on the streets and more by what happens online. We have a very important responsibility in our hands, and we must not let our actions further fuel intolerance. Social media is purely people centric, people driven and consumed by people; we are all like journalists and our friends like viewers, let us not let ourselves down by spreading hatred. This message is as much to myself as it is to you. We all need to learn, be a little calm and work towards establishing peace in the online world.

Social Media for Social Change

NGOs, non profits and any other social organisation which is working towards social change in the society most importantly needs to make use of social media. I was recently invited by Center of Civil Society ( http://ccs.in ) for a talk on social media at their conference titled ipolicy for Development Leaders’ . It was a pleasure getting to meet some great people who are trying to bring about all kinds of good changes through their initiatives. Find below the video from the talk, hope you can gain something out of it as well.

 

 

Demystifying Social Media and Online Communication

I was recently invited to speak at the Ahmedabad Management Association on the topic of Demystifying Social Media and Online Communication. I talked about the evolution of internet, social media and how Facebook replaced Orkut; Something else replacing Facebook in the time to come and the growing trend of customised Social Networks for organisations. All that and much more in this four part series.

 

Part 1 –

Part 2 –

Part 3 –

Part 4 –

Demystifying Social Media and Online Communication

 

Social media sites have taken this world by storm. It was orkut few years ago, facebook, twitter, LinkedIn and more today, and probably google + tomorrow. The platforms will come and go, but the medium won’t change. Man is fast becoming an online social animal and will grow to learn up any new platform that comes its way. What the communicator needs to understand is not how to do facebook, but to communicate with humans online.

Inviting you to a seminar on Demystifying Social Media and Online Communication to be conducted by me at Ahmedabad Management Association ( http://www.amaindia.org/ ) on 12th August at 6:30 pm.

Feel free to invite all your friends and colleagues who are interested in knowing more about online communications and social media.

More about the workshop here –

http://events.linkedin.com/Demystifying-Social-Media-Online/pub/745637

http://www.amaindia.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=44&Itemid=98

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=253635454655304

 

Wikipedia Meet Up at Delhi

Wikimedia Foundation
Image via Wikipedia

22nd September 2010 might as well go down as one of the rainiest days this year in Delhi, but that’s not what entirely makes it special. In a series of event being conducted across the World, Delhi got its fair share of a Wikipedia meetup! one of the first of its kind in the capital. To be attended by the CDO at Wikimedia, Barry Newstead, it promised to be interesting and i am glad to say we were not disappointed a bit.

Rain was a major dampener  and resulted in a lower than expected turnout, but with 20 of us there, nobody seemed disappointed.  Introductions threw quite a few surprises, with people from different walks of life having turned up. While there were avid Wikipedians like @theo_who

, there were many who had come to know Wikipedia better. Discussion started with what Wikipedia is up to these days, why these meetups and how it actively looks forward to involvement from people all over in enabling and thrusting forward the ‘Wikipedia Movement’. It was interesting to see

Non English contributors also present and share their set of challenges and readership of their pages. There were complaints of the interface being ‘too difficult’ to e

dit/add articles, which brought forth interesting perspectives of the various guidelines one must keep in mind before trying to add, how the article must be ‘information’ rather than opinion and most importantly how credible sources need to be mentioned to ensure authenticity and non deletion of matter you’ve added.

Team Wikipedia also told those gathered about the project currently underway to develop an easy to use interface which could then also attract more contributors in addition to making things easier for current ones.

All in all, it was unique to know and understand how a ‘full time employee’ team of close to just 30-40 people manages and runs the most widely recognised and revered information tool online. Thanks to the millions of editors who make life easy for so many people around the world!

Kudos to everybody at Wikipedia.

All pictures from the meetup – http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=38574&id=108859302475138 Do tag yourself and friends

Will Internet get the better of TV?

TV has perhaps been one of the most important inventions ever providing news, information and entertainment to millions across the globe. After radio, television has easily been the favourite pastime for everyone. While there were

Television with Antenna
The traditional TV set that brought about a global revolution Image via Wikipedia

national channels to begin with, cable soon took over and today there are more channels that are offered than your tv set can support.

But then we were introduced to this new kind of screen, which came originally with a bulky box, an automated typewriter and a tiny device to switch and scroll. They called it a computer, aka PC/desktop/Laptop/Ipad.

So what’s the comparison? They are both screens to begin with, then they offer content and most importantly can help people spend a lot of time, fruitful or otherwise. In the case of TV, the story pretty much stops there, with a computer though, the story only begins. Enter Internet, along come a whole lot of news sites, even more social sites and multiple audio and video sharing sites. The question is, can your computer ever replace television, or will we see computers connected with internet which also offer us live TV content or the TV, which itself could give us more than cable television(YouTube?)

Posed this question to a lot of internet users(to help strengthen the point :) )and here are some viewpoints –

Digital Marketing Manager at Globostay,  Varun Patil expresses “TV watching is down to 20 minutes for me on

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...
YouTube has become one of front runners of offering content from the past that we may want to revisit. Also includes, current shows which we like a lot. Image via CrunchBase

weekdays. I think it will be a ‘Internet Connection with TV’ instead of a ‘TV with an Internet connection’. The difference between the two is: TV will ride on the internet’s raw power as a medium. My TV watching includes movies, news and programs/serials which have already aired 2-3 months back in a different region. Movies and news are already available to the Indian customer. Sadly, the serials are still not open to the Asian region. An internet connected TV is not distant at all. In fact the technology has been there for a long time. I think what TV networks will ultimately do is shift TV to the internet instead of going the other way round.”

Theatre Actor, Kautuk Saksena added “My tv viewing has really dropped. I think i have more control of what i see on the net, whereas on tv things are just shovelled down our throats.  I prefer the net obviously with broadband.”

Guys have traditionally been technology enthusiasts and are first ones to catch on to the bandwagon. Though there has been increased talk of females also going gaga over gadgets and gizmos, there still seems to be some apprehension when such a case is discussed. “To me an internet connected TV doesn’t seem interesting , but yes the online space has a better grip . Different age groups of people are keen to explore more on the internet where they actively participate in sharing and gathering of information that is of interest to them. In  the coming years, the internet will be a necessity and a way of life – and we will soon see more people glued to their computers than watching TV!” said Communication Specialist Suhasini Shekar . Some still find TV just as interesting for the sheer distressing factor involved with it as opinionated by the  Corporate Communications manager at one of leading global IT organisations “Online is taking over by force, because we are made to sit in front of it throughout the day. I detest switching on my computer once i am home. Given a choice, i still prefer watching TV. Even with its nonsense, it’s really distressing and entertaining.”

But there are enthusiasts who clearly see the future of TV as being interconnected with Internet. Entrepreneur Daivesh Shah who is clearly a social media enthusiast shared with us this video as his answer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIFYPQjYhv8 . Its all about the concepts feels Engineer Shubham Vashishtha “Maybe the future lies with

Google TV
Google TV - Tv meets web, web meets TV. Is this the future? Image by cvander via Flickr

concepts, like google tv ,if promoted right , could be the next BIG thing”. Avijit, a Banker expresses “I dont watch TV at all apart from CNBC TV18 news at 8 or India’s match that too side working wit my Lappy. They serve such pathetic content.”

Despite all of this, the majority of the audience is clearly spending time at both places. A fact exemplified by Gaurav Dwivedi, who works with the Indian Administrative Services “I usually have the TV on while i am surfing, so i switch back and forth between the two media, the total time spent viewing tv parallely with surfing remains more or less the same, maybe an hour or hour and a half each day, including news, some part of a movie etc” For some cases though, life is more or less the same with the internet having made no difference to their tv viewing time “In my case, I still watch TV and don’t think the online space has made much of a difference for me” said Alka Ojha, PR professional.

So what is the answer? I leave that for you to think and comment here :)

The transition has begun, and the future holds many surprises for all of us. Be prepared!

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