The Social Game – The Self(ie), Privacy & Propaganda
Man is least himself when he talks with his own person. But if you give him a mask, he will tell you the truth. – Julian Assange
A 2015 research found that 4% of all drivers admitted to taking selfies while driving and almost 50% of selfie deaths occur in India. Why are we obsessed with Selfies? Around 70-80% of the Indian students (Ages 8-17) surveyed said they were cyber-bullied in one way or another. Why there are no age restrictions on entering social media? Research has said that we are more likely to believe a fake news 60% of the times if the pictures are good quality. Why have we become gullible?
“False modesty is the masterpiece of vanity: showing the vain man in such an illusory light that he appears in the reputation of the virtue quite opposite to the vice which constitutes his real character; it is a deceit.” – Jean de la Bruyere
Selfie began as harmless self-obsessive collection of photos which has turned into a market segment and psychological disorder. There are mobile phones marketed targeting audiences obsessed with Selfies. There are products like Light cases to increase Light, Selfie Sticks, Enhanced Front Cameras etc.
There has also been a new psychological disorder called Selfitis. According to the American Psychiatric Association there are three stages of Selfitis:
- Borderline selfitis : taking photos of one’s self at least three times a day but not posting them on social media
- Acute selfitis: taking photos of one’s self at least three times a day and posting each of the photos on social media
- Chronic selfitis: Uncontrollable urge to take photos of one’s self round the clock and posting the photos on social media more than six times a day.
Our constant need to be accepted in the society has made us insecure and this insecurity has led to increase in the self(ie) obsession. We don’t talk anymore and it has come to a point when we need to keep our mobiles away to have a quiet dinner and bets must be placed for no touching the mobile phones. Mobile phones were a luxury which is an extended part of our hand. It is not only with the millennials it but also with people in their 50s. Social Media has become a way of getting attention that they have lacked earlier in their life not realising that social media is like a dark hole and that more we get into it, the darker the place is. I have observed a trend in social media is that it was a place to connect with your long-lost friends but has turned out to dementors(soul-eaters) who suck our souls and make it into a place where there is no positivity left. There is a proverb “Success kisses you in public, failure slaps in public” which is to keep success low key but social media has become a boasting platform of one’s achievements which breeds dissatisfaction among the peers about their lives which leads to further depression.
“If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
With the need for a social media presence we have given up our privacy. The Central Government had said to the Supreme Court that the right to privacy is not a fundamental right but there is no need for the discussion as there is no privacy as soon as you enter social media. We post our photos, discuss our daily routine, our home or workplace or places we visit, our date of birth, our email ids and some even put their telephone numbers. We volunteer to share our data in social media to enhance our social media presence. We search for flight tickets to a place or product on e-commerce websites and when we open our social media account you see there is an advertisement for the same flight route or same product. These are not co-incidences that it pops up on our page.
I did an experiment for this article. I had a second account on a social media platform and I sent friend requests and joined various group and even some dating groups. The initial experiment was for the initial part of my article to see how people increase their social media presence. As I logged out of that account and came into my account, there was shocking incident I observed. Friend requests I sent from my second account are in friend suggestions I get in my original account. There is nothing common between both accounts except the location, I.P.Address and the wifi network. How I get friend suggestion is beyond my IT skills? Where is the privacy now? So if my friend uses my computer with my wifi connections chances are we both get friend suggestions for our friends even if we aren’t on Facebook.
If you want the truth, no one is going to tell you the truth, they’re going to tell you their version. So if you want the truth, you have to seek it out for yourself.
– Julian Asange,Fifth Estate
The final part of this article is Propaganda. It has become a child’s play to spread propaganda in social media. People in social media are gullible for spreading of propaganda especially when it suits their vision of the world and especially their opinions of their leaders. Chinese Bus Stand becomes Ahmedabad Bus Stand, Woman like Rothak Sisters become hero’s overnight and Men like Kuldeep and Mohit (accused in Rothak Sisters Case) lose army jobs. As I wrote in my first article we have become an Impatient Society without waiting for a case to develop before reaching judgements. The aggressive press and the gullible social media is a lethal combination.
Social media also has become a platform to spread propaganda to radicalize youth into extremism. The new trend of attacks is carried out by people radicalized online through social media by spreading propaganda in the name of religion. We live in a world where we don’t discuss issues based on facts rather on shares. If a post aligns with our thoughts then we immediately share it without finding the facts or at least basic details through different sources. The flooding of social media propaganda has come to a point where either you are liberal/rebel otherwise you are termed as worshippers/bhakts. In a democracy views are important and should be discussed on facts but we have lost that art and are heading to abuses,meme and sarcasm which somehow overtime has grown into a way of thinking.
In conclusion, reports of increase in radicalisation, self-obsessions and the age of the kids entering the social media world reducing with time, it is time to have a hard look by social media companies to restrict data as well people entering the social media bracket. It has also bought into light the need for parents to cut down their own social media presence and increase presence with the kids to save the future generations from getting sucked into the social media sphere.
Social media has made the world fit into our palm but it has made us forget about the world past our finger tips. It has made people capture memories but it has reduced people savouring moments. It has made people famous but made people think fame and success are same. It has made people find each other, but it has made them strangers to each other. It has made communication between humans easier but reduced compassion. It has thrown into light, a lot of facts but also shown us the dark side of humans. There are only two kinds of people in cyber space – one a cyber bully or cyber victim. As Friedrich Nietzche said “The worst enemy you can meet will always be yourself; you lie in wait for yourself in caverns and forests.”
this article is wriiten by zuko