Social media has great benefits. It has greater disadvantages. It has become a battleground. People take sides and strive hard to one-up the others to show that their belief, their idea, their religion, their favorite actor, even their dog is the best one. The Internet is a great equalizer in that it gives the same amount of freedom to both intelligent and the dumb. When the dumbs mob the social media with useless posts, unverified information and their speculations which are light years away from the truth, the quality of the content quickly degrades. Anybody and everybody with an access to internet has become a warrior, moral police, critic or a judge.
I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig, you get dirty; and besides, the pig likes it. – George Bernard Shaw
Many intellectuals stay away from the battleground thus leading to an explosion in the volume of misinformed content. Many a times, we don’t even know if the information that we are getting on internet is a valid information or it is just a hoax. What is appalling is that people forward and reshare any content without even applying common sense, forget about verifying the information. A recent example could be the tracking chip in the newly introduced ₹2000 note during currency demonitisation in India. The forward was rich with technical details that people easily bought into that as a fact. Or another forward “Parenting tips from 2000 years old Thirukkural”. Thirukkural is a great book but the information that was being forwarded was not from that book. It is but an irony that the same Thirukkural insists that one should investigate and find the real truth about whatever he or she might hear from whomever.
Everyone of us should take a moment to verify the information that we might receive from various sources. Only if we find it legit, we should forward to others. If not, we should not forward it further. Simply refraining from forwarding that message goes a long way in the preventing the rumours from spreading. So, forward responsibily people! Remember Uncle Ben’s words – With great power, comes great responsibilty.
Note: This quote is from Thirukkural. Thirukkural is a great book on Ethics written by the poet Thiruvalluvar more than 2000 years ago in Tamil. This book is one of the most translated books. You can read about the book in this Wikipedia Page.
Note 2: Today’s post was written for Day-5 exercise of Writing: Finding Everyday Inspiration. The task was to begin the post with a quote as a hook. An epigraph.
Pic courtesy: muthunagarajan.wordpress.com