Not so long ago, Twitter was the monopoly of birds, Wiki was the Hawaiian for ‘fast’ and the closest one could get to “Facebook” was the face of the poet’s sweetheart that he had compared to a book. While, words like Skype, Pinterest and Vimeo were mumbo-jumbo altogether. Not so anymore.
Chances are that even if one has managed to escape the addiction of cable TV, for want of time or any other constraints, the same person will be happily caught Twittering or Whatsapping or updating his Facebook status at one time or the other.
It is not a surprise then that social media has become such a powerful tool of communication now, at times even eclipsing the popularity of mainstream media. The mainstream media, despite its paraphernalia, inherently remains a one-way communication channel, where the audience is quite literally, at the receiving end. While social media, on the other hand, is the epitome of the concept “Of the People, By the People and For the people”, granting a wee bit of power to each and every individual to have his say and to be heard by all. It is then up to the individual individuals, whether they use this powerful medium just to create a ripple in the pond, or instead, use it to generate ideas that can snowball into movements big enough to turn the tide of history.
Unfortunately, however, we can also see a recent spate of incidents, where the power of social media has been used by vested interests and the unscrupulous elements of society for destructive, rather than constructive purposes. Whether it is a communal gang trying to spread rumours and fuel mobocracy or whether it is a brand of alcohol criticized for using social media to promote binge drinking amongst youngsters, they have been very effectively able to use the reach of social media to promote their agenda at the cost of the unsuspecting public.
But then, with collective power comes collective responsibility. And so, if the users of social media are aware of the underlying dangers of the medium, they can work together to sieve out all that is bad and retain all that is good in this powerful medium, for the better of humanity.