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Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

Your every ping

Makes my heart sing

 

A chat a day

Keeps blues away

 

Through emoticon

The heart is won

 

Your status update

Could seal my fate

 

Your profile pix

Is a heady mix

 

Of hot and sweet

I follow your tweet

 

And WhatsApp too

I follow you

 

On the Facebook

It is no fluke

 

That (your) every post

I like the most

 

On mails we chat

Of this and that

 

Until at last

Oh! Meet we must

 

Then I awake

Your profiles fake!

 

And all your pings

Of sweet nothings

 

Went out en masse

Alack! Alas!

 

My pal, my bro, my boss, my dad!

All got them, we’ve all been had!

 

And if all this has taught something,

Never ever trust a BBM ping.

(Soumya Mukherjee is an alumnus of St Stephens College and Delhi School of Economics. He earns his daily bread by working for a PSU Insurance company, and lectures for peanuts. His other passions, family, friends, films, travel, food, trekking, wildlife, music, theater, and occasionally, writing. He has been published in many national newspapers of repute. He has published his first novel, Memories, a novella, hopefully, the first of his many books. He blogs as well.

His permission to re-post this composition is gratefully acknowledged. It can also be found at http://www.differenttruths.com/literature/poems/ode-to-social-media)

 

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I extended my hand from under the blanket, and rang the bell for Jeeves. Promptly, he shimmered in, with one of hisPGW HughLaurie-BertieWooster pick-me-ups on a silver salver.

‘Good evening, Jeeves.’

‘Good morning, sir.’

‘Is it morning?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘But it seems pretty gloomy and dark outside,’ I said.

‘Winter is already upon us, sir. In the depth of winter, we learn that within us lies an invincible summer, sir.’

‘Shakespeare, Jeeves?’

‘Albert Camus, sir.’

I sipped the tissue restorative in a mood of quiet repose.

‘Well, what goes on in the great world?’

‘There are several messages for you on WhatsApp, sir. On Facebook, you have messages from Mr. Gussie Fink-Nottle, Ms. Florence Craye and Ms. Stiffy Byng. Aunt Dahlia wants to chat with you over Skype. A blogger oninternet image 1 WordPress desires to have an audience with you. On LinkedIn, Sir Watkyn Bassett wishes to connect with you. Several tweets await your attention. Also, there are some other items which might interest you on Reddit, Digg and Pinterest, sir.’

I shuddered at the prospect of having to brave the world at such an early hour.

‘Jeeves, I have somehow come to despise this extra dose of, what do you call it, something sounding like gravity?’

‘Perhaps you allude to the term connectivity, sir?’

‘Absolutely. Both have the same pull for all of us these days. You know, this intricate world-wide-web we have woven around ourselves? The world was such a quieter place when this was not there. To avoid aunts, all one had to do was to sprint across the Atlantic. Now, one gets chased all over the planet. Civilization’s foundations are quivering. Something ought to be done about it.’

‘But you may wish to consider that it has also made life much simpler, sir.’

‘Faugh! Earlier, I could saunter across to the telephone in the hall in my bath robe and mauve pajamas to hobnobSkype_logo with the aged relative. Now, I have to worry about the dark circles below my eyes and the dress I am wearing before saying tally-ho to her over Skype.’

‘This does present some challenges, sir.’

‘And how could anything be called Twitter? I thought only birds indulge in that pastime. Don’t we have any birds’ Twitter_bird_logoassociations? Would one of those not like to raise the issue of a serious infringement of birds’ intellectual rights?’

‘I believe the contingency is a remote one, sir.’

‘Consider Google. It has too much of information, making it difficult to chug along in life. One, it is no longer easy to pinch umbrellas. Those carrying umbrellas on their shopping sprees often keep a tab on my location and do the vanishing act whenever I happen to be in the vicinity. Two, it has reduced whatever little thinking I was earlier able to do on my own. I once told Stiffy Byng how I was much superior to Gussie Fink-Nottle when it came to being pumpkin-headed. Now, thanksGoogle_2013 to Google, I am no longer too sure.’

‘You feel, sir, that you have become mentally more negligible?’

‘Yes. I also shiver at the prospect of a Big Brother prying into my searches and building up an intimate profile of what I like and what I don’t. What has happened to the civilized norms of privacy?’

‘We have to take the good with the bad, sir.’

‘Then think of Facebook. It is high time someone like Roderick Spode spoke to Mark Zuckerberg. He might take a dictator who designs women’s underclothing on the side more seriously. How can one place all one’s friends on the same level of intimacy? Are we not entitled to have few who are really close and intimate, some others who are useful in some way or the other, and all the others who are mere acquaintances?’

‘There is some merit in what you say, sir.’

‘Of course. And why is everyone posting only about the good and positive things happening to them? Do you think I mind posting the number of times I have been nicked for fines or have been jugged into a chokey for thirty days without the option?’

‘Your openness on social media deserves to be heartily applauded, sir. It might interest you to know that some people have formed SPIN – a Society for Prevention of Narcissism on Internet. They wish to see you in person, ostensibly to request you to accept to be the President of the outfit.’Facebook

‘Right, ho. That is how I have preserved my bachelorhood status all these years. After all, who would risk having me as a son-in-law or a nephew? Is that not the reason Justices of the Peace wish to connect with me? They just wish to keep a tab on what I am up to, possibly forewarning police constables in my vicinity to strap their helmets a wee bit tighter.’

‘That is being clever indeed, sir.’

‘‘Yes. Consider all the delicately nurtured ones who shiver at the prospect of taking a saunter down the aisle with me. Still, I have a long list of those wanting to befriend me over Facebook. I wonder why they wish to connect with me. The mind boggles.’

‘Perhaps to capitalize on your generosity, sir? Several times in the past, you have assisted young ladies in getting affianced to the real love of their hearts. You had done so, if you may recall, by first declaring your intentions of marrying the young women yourself. This had left their guardians all-of-a-twitter, much relieved to eventually allow an alliance with the true heart-throb instead.’

‘I am sure my record in such acts of chivalry is beyond reproach. What I resent is the commercialization of all our relationships. Look at LinkedIn. One would like to have a large circle of influence. But to what avail? We end up LinkedIn_Logonetworking only with those who could be used by us to further our own career interests. What we need instead is a platform where we can connect only with those we admire for their sterling qualities of head and heart.’

‘Well said, sir, but you would readily appreciate the difficulties involved. Perhaps there could be better ways to filter out only those who love and admire one and one’s work.’

‘Jeeves, I do think I have one such idea!’

‘Indeed, sir?’

‘I think I should start a blog of my own.’

His left eyebrow went up a quarter of an inch. I braced myself with the old Wooster grit. I persisted.

‘The more I publish my own escapades and my several acts of mercy, the quieter my life would be! In fact, the journal at the Junior Ganymede Club – could that not be serialized to great effect?’WordPress_logo

‘The rules of the club are rather strict, sir.’

I bridled at him.

‘Jeeevs, if you could get the Eulalie stuff on Roderick Spode once, surely this would not be difficult?’

‘I fear, sir-.’

‘OK, I know what you are going to say next,’ said I, waving an imperial hand. ‘Don’t you think having a blog of one’s own helps? Would you know how one starts and develops a blog?’

‘Sir, having had the privilege of assisting an avid blogger earlier, I can say that it is hard work, indeed.’

‘I don’t believe this. Blogging would be like a song and a lark. That is what Bingo Little told me last night at thePinterest_Logo Drones. His wife’s popularity has gone up since she became an active blogger. You just bang on the keyboard whatever you happen to be thinking of at the time. You hit the ‘publish’ button. That is all there is to it.’

‘One also needs to do so regularly, sir. To do this, one has to learn to read with great fervor. One has to keep the interest of the readers in mind. One has to edit a piece thoroughly before deciding to publish it.’

‘Reading? You mean some juicy stuff others keep writing?’

‘Wisdom would dictate that writers of the stature of Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, Spindrift and Spinoza could provide regular inspiration, sir.’

‘What? One has to read such blokes just to be able to blog?’

‘A course you would be well advised to pursue, sir.’

‘But that would be tough on the nerves, Jeeves. I remember when Florence had expected me to read some stuff on Reddit_logoTypes of Ethical Theory or whatever. Is there any other procedure one is supposed to follow?’

‘Yes, sir. You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. The latter implies that there are no free lunches. Blogging is work, with uncertain rewards. And courtesy demands that one promptly replies to all comments coming in, howsoever impolite these might be.’

‘Oh, that does not sound very simple, does it? It would consume a lot of my time, I guess.’

‘Indeed, sir. Blogging needs dedication. It also strains the cerebellum to some extent.’

‘Is there any other requirement?’

‘The place where you write must be one of solitude. It would be advisable to hire a secluded hamlet far away from the temptations of a city life, sir.’

‘Oh, but then we should have no boy scouts prowling around on their acts of mercy in the vicinity, cleaning chimneys and burning cottages.’

‘Yes, sir. One has to minimize the probability of such an occurrence. Allow me also to point out that availability ofMona Lisa connectivity would be a sine qua non.’

‘That would be a disaster. I was not aware that you need to depend on internet to be able to blog. So, if I were to take up blogging, I would end up feeling like someone on whose head all the sorrows of the world had descended. Who was it you had once mentioned, Jeeves?’

‘Perhaps, you allude to the Mona Lisa, sir.’

‘Well, if she calls up now, tell her that I do know just how she feels when confronted with the harsh slings and arrows of life.’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘By the way, Jeeves, what are all these applications I keep hearing of these days? What do people keep applying for?’

‘If I have understood the query correctly, sir, you perhaps refer to some programs specifically developed for smart phones, sir.’

‘And what do these do?’

‘These are used for simplifying some mundane tasks of life, sir. First, we had WhatsApp. Then we had Line and HikeWhatsApp_logo apps. Now, we have Viber which is catching the fancy of the people. I believe there are about 1.3 million Android apps and Apple’s app store hosts 1.2 million of the things. By comparison, Windows has only around 300,000, Amazon 240,000 and Blackberry 130,000 or so, sir. ’

‘The mind boggles, what? But is this not a delightful affirmation of human ingenuity and creativity, Jeeves?’

‘True, sir. But the reality is that while there are indeed some creative programmers producing elegant, witty or ingenious apps, there are also some misleading programs which entrap one for an uncalled for burden on one’s wallet.’

‘Oh, a prospect better avoided, then?’

‘Depends on how one looks at it, sir. Let us say, you wish to replace your Alpine hat with a more suave version. UsingViber-logo some applications on your cell phone, you can sell as well as buy.’

‘But I do not wish to replace my Alpine hat, Jeeves.’

‘Sir, I just sold it using one of the apps on your cell.’

‘What? These smart phones are making me even more dumb. Let us get rid of it right away.’

‘As you say, sir.’

‘Yes. I am just getting fed up with this continuous slavery of today’s technology. All day long, messages keep beeping, giving one no respite. Is there no place left on earth where one could get some rest and repose? What about that World Cruise we were discussing sometime back? Do ships have internet, Jeeves?’PGWodehouse

‘Not necessarily, sir.’

‘So why don’t you book us on a voyage to Antarctica or some such place where one can really live life to the fullest, devoid of all e-distractions and boy scouts? You had better get the tickets tomorrow.’

‘I have already procured them, sir. Before we proceed on our voyage, may I suggest your meeting the representative of SPIN – the Society for Prevention of Internet Narcissism, sir?’

‘Sure! Jeeves, you stand alone.’

‘I merely endeavor to provide satisfaction, sir.’

(Note from Jeeves: Those of you who have enjoyed this line of thought may like to check out https://www.facebook.com/SocPrevInN)

[Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/mirror-mirror-on-the-wall-who-is-the-smartest-of-them-all; https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/why-become-a-slave-to-technology%5D

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Ever imagined living in a fairy land where all those you happen to know are smart, living their lives to the hilt? They could be visiting exotic locales, celebrating career achievements and other events in their lives, or simply having a blast. The sun is always shining, the flowers are forever in bloom, the birds are incessantly twittering and the bees are invariably busy collecting nourishment from delicate flowers. In other words, God is always in heaven and all is well with the world.internet image 1

In this land, the sky is never overcast. The harsh arrows and slings of life simply do not exist. No one ever falls sick. A business loss or a career setback never appears on the horizon. There are no villains around. Parents find that kids throw no tantrums. All denizens behave in an exemplary fashion. Everybody likes everybody else. Spirits are all buoyed up, what with people making positive comments only.

Yes, I am talking about our social networking platforms. It is mostly about ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘mine’. Face Book, LinkedIn, Instagram, Four Square – all showcase the ultimate in the art of narcissism. We upload all the positive happenings in our lives. We wish to announce to the world that we have finally arrived. When it comes to playing the game called life, we are smart.

Only our accomplishments get announced to the netizens. We want everyone to know what a great time we are having. Intimate feelings which we feel shy to convey either face to face or over phone we pour out to those in our network. Just-married couples exchange love messages over it. Fathers have a purely personal discussion with their sons on such platforms.

Why does this happen? Why do we choose to live in a fish bowl? Have we all become addicts to a virtual bliss which shuts out the real world? Why is it that before we reach out to our morning cup of tea we prefer to browse through our smart phone or laptop, just to check how many ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ we have received on what we posted last? Our mood fluctuates much like the Dow Jones index, depending upon the sheer volume and quality of response our posts generate. Walking to catch the metro, or talking to a colleague, we make a virtue out of checking the status on such platforms at regular intervals.

Perhaps, the answer lies in our need to seek wider approval for our actions. Or, we find ourselves so lonely that we are desperate to connect with someone out there. If so, perhaps the loneliness arises out of our increasing sense of isolation in the society. Possibly, we like only ourselves.internet image

Movies, television and other forms of entertainment offer us a willing suspension of belief. With social networking, we have found a better means of achieving this state of transient bliss. We wish the world to know only what we believe it should know about us.

Anything negative happening to us we would like to sweep it below the carpet. It is like an extended dating trip in life, where we project our best at all times. We have to be presentable at all times. We also have to be politically and socially correct all the times. Our ugliness, warts and all, need not be shared with those who form our universe of ‘friends’.

It is not my case that social networking is utterly useless. It is helpful in so many ways. It helps us to discover and remain connected to distant friends and relatives. But there are limitations as to how we have chosen to use these powerful tools.

Nor am I trying to say that details which could jeopardize our career prospects or hurt someone else need to be shared. If a medical emergency gets posted online, instant help could follow. If an assignment is getting too hot to handle, advice could come in from distant quarters. In the long run, our not-so-glamorous side could also become a part of our public profile. The fact that we can seek help openly would show us to be professionals who are humble and willing to learn. The caring and sharing part of our personality would also emerge.

In blogsville, we do find people sharing their traumatic experiences, but not so on social networking sites. Don’t you think it is high time we thought of developing a protocol which would be like, say, ‘Truth and Dare’ on such sites? Those who join this group would undertake to be truthful to each other about what is happening in their lives.internet image 2

A better level of frankness and openness could prevail. The level of hypocrisy could come down, thereby increasing our capacity to devote ourselves to more creative pursuits. A more balanced profile could emerge. Our strengths as well as our weaknesses would show up. An HR manager who interviews one of us after having gone through our Face Book or LinkedIn profile would no longer need to ask the question we dread the most: “What are your strengths and weaknesses, please?”

Afraid of losing friends and assignments this way? Fret not. Only those who like you and your work genuinely would get in touch. Others would fall by the wayside over a period of time. You would be left behind with a shorter list of ‘friends’ who would prove to be more loyal in the long run.

Are you game? Would you like to give a more balanced spin to your online profile?

What do you think of being part of a group which could be christened as SPIN – the Society for Prevention of Internet Narcissism? Would you prefer to be counted as the smartest one?!

Related posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/of-nomophobia-and-noconnphobia; https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/why-become-a-slave-to-technology.

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We appear to be living in an age of profanities and vulgarity. Be it our advertisements or movies, the content is becoming increasingly bold. If self-restraint does not get exercised soon, we could end up becoming a society of the most frustrated youth, forever on the lookout for an easy outlet for its innate urges and profane tendencies. The world-wide-web already has us in a thrall, leading to an exponential increase in the influence of these forms of entertainment.

Titillation and Commercial Success 

Cinematic content these days makes one rather immune to all the dare-and-bare acts. After an overdose of cleavages and thunder thighs, one only carries a feeling of contempt and disgust. Show of skin has become a necessary evil, the language has become expletive-laden and the lyrics somewhat soul-less. Titillation leading to commercial success is surely the name of the game today; social mores and cultural values appear to have taken a back seat.

From the days of delicate handling of romantic overtures (like Mughal-e-Azam, Guide and several others), we now have petite heroines mouthing profanities in movies like Who Killed Jessica, Ishqia et al.the-dirty-picture-02-s

In The Dirty Picture, in a particularly offensive shot, the heroine’s tummy is demonstrated to be effective in converting a raw egg into a half-fried version! Our hapless housewives who in the recent past were chasing a higher quota of subsidized cooking gas would surely approve of this environment friendly way of discharging their cooking responsibilities.

Lure, Offend and Succeed!

The advertising has become crude and offensive. In the 1980’s, Doordarshan used to beam the serial Ramayan into our drawing rooms. During breaks, it would also show a simple ad of Mala-D, a contraceptive pill for women. Once my daughter, all of four years then, was prompted to openly wonder if Sita-ji used Mala-D tablets to ensure that she conceived Luv and Kush only after a gap of more than fourteen years!

These days, we have enticing and naughty ads of condoms being promoted on some channels, depicting PYTs with hour-glass figures seductively disrobing themselves while sashaying down into a bedroom. One really pities today’s poor parents who have to answer a barrage of searching questions from curious children while keeping a straight face.

In the 1990’s, a Cadbury advertisement showed a comely nymph rushing into a cricket field and breaking into an impromptu jig, while another one promoting Liril soap was depicted dancing her way into our hearts under a waterfall. Now, we have a young Nokia user scaring an ‘aunty’ by displaying rash driving skills on his phone, while a Pepsi campaign keeps aside any pretensions of decorum and mocks the Indian cricket team!

Internet-ional Advertising

Entry of internet is proving to be a game changer. Marketing plans are increasingly being tweaked to use this platform, so as to reach the target segments more effectively. Despite the restricted availability of broadband in India, young and old alike are getting addicted to internet at a faster pace.

Increasingly, brands are getting wired to digital space. The creative juices of our advertising honchos now appear to be targeting social media platforms, and TV appears to be grudgingly yielding precious space and revenue to the web. Eventually, the two are getting together, offering a seamless experience to today’s highly connected generation.

According to YouTube sources, more than 70% of its viewers in India are less than 35 years of age. Also, 30% of its views in India are through mobile phones. This indicates the potential of penetration internet has in the marketing and advertising space.

Several prominent brands have faced the music over indecent content in their promos on the web. Smart ones have been quick to apologize and withdraw such content. Goes on to show that there is a limit to which sex and violence can help in selling products and services. The belief that higher ‘shock value’ results into higher sales in the long run is a doubtful proposition.

Is Audience Really The King?

Speak to either a movie maker or an advertising honcho, and the argument invariably is that they have a need to ‘connect’ with the younger audiences these days. But, can one really blame it all on the audience? For every “Rowdy Rathore”, a “Ferrari Ki Savaari” also hits the screens. There are several advertisements one can easily enjoy with the entire family.

According to Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI), only around 121 million of 1.2 billion Indians are logged on to the web. Of these, only 2% 0r 2.2 million in rural India have access to the same. We are therefore talking of urban, young and tech-savvy audience which is said to be at the helm of defining what is popular in culture and content. One would rather admire today’s youth who have the courage of conviction to stand up for probity and justice for many of our social ills, much unlike their earlier generation.

In their relentless pursuit of higher visibility and better margins, most makers of movies and advertisements go for higher ‘shock value’ in their products. Our cultural values and a basic sense of decency appear to have gone into oblivion. Those who create content appear to be placing a higher premium on salaciousness and commerce rather than on civility and social mores.

Twenty Years Hence!

Twenty years down the road, when the babies brought up in present obscenity-ridden times become discerning adults, and when the youth of today assume the status of ‘uncles’ and ‘aunties’, the trend may well reverse itself. The need for our dream merchants and creative minds then would be to ‘connect’ with a different profile of target audience, possibly brining in products which are more sober and decent in their content. One does hope for the same!

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