We are living in the age of high technological advancements and misinformation, where we are getting closer day by day through technologies no matter how far we are from one another.
The online presence of everyone around us has narrowed down the distances which should be there for a healthy ecosystem. Everything, everyone is connected now, although it might be a good thing for many but there is always a second side. One might be more optimistic about this I am going to talk about all the blunders it has brought in our day to day life.
“The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently,” wrote the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in his 1881 book titled The Dawn of Day.
Now-a-days there are too many Social media platforms, I’ll have to write another whole article if I’m going to name each one of them. Some of them which almost every person is using are messaging apps, dating sites/app, blogging sites/app, video sharing apps/sites etc. It has become a inseparable part of our daily lives, for few of us it might be as hard to get away from these as drug withdrawal. While one can always debate that their primary intention wasn’t to ruin our lives and take mental peace away but I’ll argue about all the impacts it has on us.
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The human beings have mastered in the art of polluting and exploiting everything which comes in there contact, be it nature as whole or air we breathe, water we drink, food we eat, etc.
We have developed so many ways to shorten the distance around us through these social media platforms, where we can see, talk, share everything related to our lives with whoever we want to, it has to be one of the greatest inventions of mankind. One might disagree with it but that can be talked out.
While we enjoy the presence of it in our daily life facts and data aren’t hidden anymore which points towards the bad impacts of it. Many research have shown how these social media platforms affect ones mental health, ones performance as whole. It have caused several genocides, riots directly and indirectly, many suicides, killings etc.
Misinformation (fake news, rumours) is the newest cancer that mankind is being affected of these days. It first attack our brain and slowly pollute our critical thinking, one might have the better probability of recovery from other diseases than misinformation.
They are being feed to new generation. Societies have always been decided on the basis of ideologies, political stands but today we more divided than we ever had on the name of these. As far as my knowledge goes several wars, several revolts etc. has taken place in our history based in ideologies but the difference it has in today’s scenario is that it’s making people bitter, one is avoiding to listen the other side, the diversity of ideas and thoughts which should be celebrated, discussed, argued, debated has been a medium to cancel everything we disagree with.
“The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.”– Garry Kasparov
The main aim of the propagation of the particular agenda, political narratives, specific ideologies which ends up effecting us and our society as whole in a manner that can’t be repaired.
The initial targets are the people who doesn’t have a basic understanding of that subject, and surroundings are filled with functional illiteracy, overload of information and where there is a bias.
The propagators mostly pick the subjects which are more sensitive in nature which can be fueled easily like subjects related to health, religion, security, policies etc. for example we can talk about the misinformation which are floating around since the starting of the pandemic (COVID-19) regarding the virus, masks, and vaccines. Health is a concern to all and it is very easy to create panic among people, same can be argued for the other subjects as well. Even our social media is still flooded with these type of misinformation.
Misinformation travels faster than the speed of light. Misinformation is often used as an umbrella term, it can be categories in several forms such as – intentionally-spread misinformation, unintentionally-spread misinformation, rumours, fake news, unverified information, spam, troll, hate-speech, cyberbullying etc.
Social media has become a crucial part of our diet and one feeds himself/herself to get the satisfaction and skipping can be as hard as drug withdrawal. We are fast forwarding our lives to get more attentions. Our generation is the most attention seeker I think, we have literally strip down ourselves and our privacy on social media just for the sake of likes, appreciation, acceptance and attention, which is more bad than good.
The hunger of attention often leads to share the information which might be wrong factually, scientifically, doesn’t support the data but is sensational in nature. People outrage over very basic things such as someone’s statement which they don’t agree with. And soon one realizes what is going on there is a cancel culture which take effects as soon as something get viral or spread.
Disagreeing with someone’s idea, thought, action has now consequences as bad as death threats, rape threats, and online harassments. The idea of a dialogue is being vanished in the heat of this instant conclusion mind-set. Where we should at least listen to what the other side is, what perspective it has, it simply get backlashes just because that doesn’t suits our idea of that particular.
The impacts are countless even if we start naming them still few I’m going to highlight such as riots, lynching and individual impacts such as anxiety, depression, suicide, traumas etc. and all of these impacts is backed with several studies.
The structure of these misinformation are often made as compelling as it looks true the reason why so many people end up spreading those.
Cyberbullying is a nightmare for so many young children where they face bullying regarding the looks, appearances, race etc. and it often drove them to use drugs and suicides. Several social media platforms brag about their policies and all but that is not helping in any ways. One often tends to project a perfect life on their virtual platforms for the acceptance that it causes several mental health conditions.
Misinformation regarding health subjects have caused a significant amount of loss in our society during this pandemic, vaccine hesitancy is still a very big factor in several countries including INDIA. In rural areas there are several WhatsApp forwards have been seen during these pandemic which caused panic and health issues.
Tackling the misinformation –
Due to this fast growing communication platforms, our thought and decision- making processes and societies as whole is more influenced by the function of globalisation processes more than it ever had been. In other words we are more polarised in today’s scenario.
To tackle the misinformation we need to it is cultivate tolerance to diversity of ideas and thoughts. We must learn to listen and explain why we disagree, especially on matters where evidences, data are to give a clear picture of the dispute.
Personally I would advise to maintain a good distance from these platforms but considering these can have a good serving impact too, it is highly unlikely. So the best option we have is to promote dialogue, discussions and be more tend towards the logical side of an event than sentimental ones.
It is very important that we don’t end up spreading some misinformation for that we should cross check our information no matter how much appealing and true it seems. It’s better to wait and be sure than falling in trap laid by some propagator to fit his/her agendas. One misinformation can cause a big ruckus in someone’s entire life or in our society.
Gandhi said “be the change you want to see in the world” and it’s the high time we literally practice this. We have to learn to acknowledge that what we don’t believe in or what we don’t know doesn’t always is the wrong side. Instead of this cancel culture we have to start the discussion especially from the perspective of the other side.