(Image source- https://youthincmag.com/)
We’ve often heard complaints about the rise of so called “stars” or popular figures whose popularity doesn’t seem justified or even appropriate. We’ve discussed them in coffee shops, over dinners and amongst groups; wondering how and when did they get to this pedestal? The answer, my friends, is us. Unfortunately, without even realizing that our need for discourse over these unwarranted popular/ infamous number people has been a large contributing factor for them influencing society the way they do.
Social media has made accessibility to public viewership very effortless. To highlight oneself in the eyes of others doesn’t take much besides a few controversial statements that need to be documented and uploaded. Social platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have given rise to a new array of self-proclaimed stars.
We have given rise to “stars” such as Bad Ass Shubham, Hindustani Bhau and the ever so controversial Kamaal R Khan. How do these people, who are living examples of the societal problems that need to be changed, given a voice? It is only because we, as the masses and viewers have amplified their personality, giving them a stage to reinforce their popularity.
What are we doing wrong and how can we change our disposition as viewers?
- Watching shows such as Big Boss, where we get entertainment out of people locked together in a house, leading to mental breakdowns creating conflicts. I, for one, have been guilty of this. However, the change needs to begin from here; where we can acknowledge the fact that we need to be more mindful of our taste and where we should place our values when it comes to deriving entertainment.
- Twitter and Instagram are giving out the blue tick marks, verifying users as public figures, thus being an increment in the number of “influencer” in society. There are several voices that have been magnified bringing about a positive change, however there has been an adverse effect too. Kamaal R Khan now seems to think that he has a validated opinion in giving reviews over subjects that he lacks an impeding amount of knowledge. Unfortunately, this expatiated ego has only been because of the indulgence of us, as readers/ masses. We need to prioritize who needs to be heard and why.
- Taking onus of what we view and the usage of our social media platforms needs to be done. Change the lens that you’re using platform for and there shall be ample room for the improvement that we wish to see.
- Being mindful of our discussions regarding the people we talk about and the causing the change that we want to see, need to go hand in hand. For example, if we have a problem with Hindustani Bhau’s social media status, we need to actively diminish his reach by knowing that these are issues we cannot let reach the height it already has.
India has embraced the internet with open arms, and its digital population has been rapidly growing in the past decade with over 680 million active internet users. As data packs get cheaper and internet becomes more accessible, more Indians are embracing the digital lifestyle. At the same time, smartphones are increasingly becoming the primary screen for Indian customers. In fact, it seems that India entirely skipped the desktop generation and went straight to mobiles. In 2019, a whopping 99 percent of the rural internet users in the country primarily used mobile phones to access the internet. The global Indian user base of number of Facebook users exceed 290m, the number of Instagram users cross a prodigious figure of 100m and India is currently ranking 1st in the number of WhatsApp users.
In a country that has such vast usage of the internet across rural areas, it is our duty as aware citizens to be able to filter the voice that reaches the ones who haven’t been privileged enough to receive the education that we have. We have the ability to cause the change we keep talking about, it is time that we change discussions into actions. Being more conscious of decisions that we take lightly or brush off as ‘entertainment’ will be the healthy and serious change that we spend a juncture of our intellectual conversations about. So next time we are laughing about a situation/person, followed by a serious subject of change we wish to see, let us take a moment to absorb the fact that we have been highlighting this person to such an extent that its actually become a problem in society. Be mindful, be aware; they are the stepping stones to taking the leap that can happen.