Social media activism and everything wrong with it

In the world of winner takes it all, desperation is bound to take over. Influencers mushrooming various social media platforms are always on the lookout for that one big deal that would seal their rags to riches stories. So if you too are thinking of jumping into this ocean, then contrary to the popular belief – it is too late and too messy!  This article is an attempt to see the future of social media in the context of its follies. But don’t worry, I will not preach about how it could lead to bullying, age-inappropriate content because the boomers will do a better job at this.

I remember watching power rangers growing up. The narrative was simple enough but the ability to give justice in real-time was what stayed with me over time. If you look through this lens, cancel culture stems from the same idea and even propagates it. The anonymity provided by social media means you could be the next power ranger. But this also means that people are making split-second decisions. From petty drama like James Charles versus Tati Westbrook to the #MeToo movement – there is a lot at stake. The lie of the land might seem like a small issue, but one quick Google search reveals much more. Drama channels – a new addition to the list of influencers, ensure that the career of such influencers is in shambles. While people may argue about whether it has gone too far, I would argue about whether it should even exist. Fundamental issues of accountability, objectivity in judgment are left behind with the invention of cancel parties under this culture. Even if I ignore such lapse, we all need to come to the conclusion that cancel culture doesn’t provide any real sense of justice – there is no repercussion in real life for the guilty and no safe space for the innocent. To sum it up in one line – cancel culture is the brainchild of media trials except now everyone is reporting. It undermines the legal justice system by equating revenge and defamation to justice. This year desi cancel culture truly exploded. Every day new celebrities were cancelled over the death of acclaimed actor Sushant Singh Rajput. The gullible fans celebrated victory even when everything remained unchanged in real life but for one. The case being transformed into a labyrinth of screenshot, allegation and a probable dead end. Maybe the new updates of disappearing messages on social media sites could end this!

Even on social media sites, Kardashians and Kapoor’s are stealing the show. Apart from competing with big names, juggling personal touch and advertiser-friendly content has left many influencers in frenzy. Add to this pyramid selling schemes and MLM – and you get a bubbling influencer market. These companies use a large number of influencers to push their claim of legitimacy.  Young individuals who dream of making big money often fall prey to such traps, putting them in a never-ending cycle of weak economic position. And people like you and me, who are already disillusioned by the capitalist world end up spending their time reporting such profiles only to get the message – this profile didn’t violate any regulations of Instagram. Other influencers are taking a route inspired by celebrities. It might seem a harmless attempt to gain clout using children. But it is just the start of child exploitation on areas which are yet to come under concrete regulations. From extreme cases of a Youtuber disowning the special needs child she adopted to parents faking the age of their child, it is just as insane as it seems. 

But in a recent addition to their woes, Social media sites are constructing algorithms that make organic growth of influencers a distant dream. This is concerning not only for the influencers but for companies using influencer marketing too. Such developments could lead to an enormous snowball effect where influencers are using advertisements to reach out to the audience. Then except for a few big names, companies would prefer to roll out direct ads than to rope in influencers. Therefore, making social media absolute like it’s old friend tabloid.

The final stroke though is the banning of apps ensuring the disappearance of such influencers in thin air. Marred by the trauma of the internet bubble, social dilemma and politicization of social media, it is prudent than ever to ponder – is social media the titanic of the virtual world?

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