Their rules become your game

Is social media a tool for expression, or have we become a tool in the hands of social media ? Media has always influenced public opinion, but now, it has the advantage of being omnipresent. It has moved from the morning newspaper in the hands of the literate sections, to the television set in your drawing-room, to cars and bedrooms and now, at your fingertips all the time. Literacy is no longer a pre-requisite with the onslaught of audio-visual modes, and availability of vernacular localized versions of content. The revolution in the field of communication is laudable, but has also increased manifold, the vulnerability of the masses to politically or profit motivated messages.

Of Intellectuals and Power Lobbies

The intelligentsia is the section of population that chooses brain-work as their vocation in life, as opposed to a manual worker. But this is the class that depends on the political and business masters for its livelihood. They need approval from these entities, before taking their mission in life ahead. The Civil Services draw the crème-de-la-crème from universities, and assign them to a life of subjugation to the political masters. Self-employed professionals like doctors and lawyers remain consigned to the narrow lanes of anonymity, unless they align themselves to strong lobbies. Lobbies provide the forum for displaying your talent or competence. There is no system for recognizing brilliance of individuals, outside educational institutions, which amounts to a major part of your adult life. What happens inside educational institutions is a matter of a separate debate. These lobbies become the dealmakers, the movers and shakers that run the country.

“Independent thinking alone is not suited to interdependent reality” — Stephen Covey

The independent intellectual does not easily subscribe to a lobby, as they fear loss of freedom. So, there we have several “ivory towers” floating in the mainstream of mediocrity, which are ineffective in transferring their brilliance, or propagating their ideologies to the mainstream. The floating islands are hired as anchors by the massive merchant ships, when needed, but discouraged from connecting to the mainstream. Lifeboats are distributed as a relief measure, but bridges are never built.

The lobbies hold control being the public face of institutions, and the resonance that this association generates is unidirectional. It degenerates to dissonance, the moment an independent opinion is expressed, or a stand taken. Rebellion is crushed instantly and noiselessly, as it holds the power to destroy and replace the lobbies. The components of a lobby share common interests of wealth-generation and self-preservation (not necessarily by ethical means). These are some of the strongest bonds in the world, as a single weak link can annihilate the chain.

Self-preservation is the strongest instinct in the world, which invokes different reactions. It leads the unethical to unite, and the intellectuals to remain isolated. It is about what one is trying to preserve, and what kind of ecosystem does one need to survive. The book written by C.G. Somiah, an ex-bureaucrat is titled “The Honest Always Stand Alone”, and a review of the book was titled “A Lucky Loner in the Corridors of Power”. The titles chosen for both speak volumes. (Weblink http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-bookreview/a-lucky-loner-in-the-corridors-of-power/article590514.ece)

The Influence of Social Media

The reach of the social media is utilized

1. To project politically motivated opinions and ideologies.
2. To drown the voices of sanity by trolling.
3. To generate user content for the business entities that make their millions through it.
4. To divide the population into manageable chunks, so that they never become a powerful unified lobby. Issues that can whip up a frenzy of emotion are carefully chosen.
5. To divert attention from other issues that can expose the Lobbies. People are busy celebrating ‘never-heard-before’ Days and Weeks, or analyzing the implications of an isolated statement, rather than think about the economic issues or corruption in high echelons.
6. To crowd-source ideas for rationalization of their actions. The same are immediately repackaged and sold.
7. To collect qualitative and quantitative data on opinions and waves, which can be converted to vote banks.
8. To encash on popular sentiment.
9. To collect inputs from the population, which can be used to rule over them.
10. To identify the loopholes and divides, which aid formulation of strategy.

“There are three classes of people – those who see, those who see when they are shown, and those who do not see” — Leonardo da Vinci

The Massive response of the Masses

Why do people play into the hands of string-pullers and manipulators ?

1. Fear of isolation

The need to belong is a social need of human beings.

2. Fear of repercussions

Going with the stream is always a safe mode.

3. Being with it

Nobody wants to be left out. Jokes which are “new in the market” carry a premium.

4. Giving in to emotional blackmail

“If you love your mother/ country …. “ kind of statements.

5. Outlet for angst

The repressed anger, frustration and misery from one source all find a convenient outlet somewhere else.

6. Display of loyalty

Supporting friend/ family/ community/ profession carries value. Voting lines on shows are an example which are money-churners for the telcos.

7. Instant response to provocative images or titles

Sensational words and images are used to evoke a mass hysteria. Public figures are commissioned, and their popularity misused to generate a wave.

8. Lethargy

Believing a social media post is easier than probing into the issue, collecting more information and analysing it.

9. The instinct of self-preservation

A bogey is raised, or a distant figure or issue is painted as being the ‘annihilator’ that will consume you, unless you act in defence. The gullible audience fails to identify the hidden annihilator in their own environs.

10. “Why not me” syndrome ?

Logic, intent or the purpose of common good are all defied in the wake of “ If X can voice his/her opinion, why not me ?”

The string-pullers have thrown a rope at your desperation. To survive, retain your sanity, manipulate or be manipulated is your choice.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” — Aristotle


Reena Saxena

Reena Saxena is an Image & Success Coach/Trainer by profession, and a blogger/writer by choice.

5 Comments

Cindy · April 2, 2018 at 1:05 pm

Great post Reena…
“Hope you don’t mind. I nominated this blog for the Real Neat Blog Award. Is that okay with you? If yes, then claim this award with the link below:
https://cindielifestyleblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/02/real-neat-blog-award/“.
Thank you…

    Reena Saxena · April 2, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    Thank you so much for the appreciation! Many of the good blogs that I follow are award-free blogs, hence, nomination will be a challenge. I shall be happy of you just reblog it, and share it on social media, instead of nominating.

    I can answer your questions though 🙂

      Cindy · April 2, 2018 at 6:51 pm

      Thanks for your time then.

Unbranded · April 2, 2018 at 7:46 pm

Thank you for this assessment! I actually don’t log on with FB much anymore, much less post, generally for many of the reasons you’ve listed. But I wonder if I should post this article? Would it be too contrary?

    Reena Saxena · April 2, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    The FB controversy is only one dimension to this. Manipulation has always been around. The tools have changed. In its simplest of forms, song or dance can be used at the outset, to induce certain emotions and increase the receptivity for what is to follow. I do not see any contradictions, if a platform exists for views to be aired.

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