It is a norm nowadays, that even without knowing the whole truth we want to jump to a conclusion and crucify the other person. Social Media is a place where everyone gets the opportunity to have an opinion and voice out that opinion. But what one must be careful about is whether or not one’s opinion affects one or the other person adversely, even without it being his or her fault. We generally tend to exploit the elements of justice leading to greater harm than expected. When we are virtually active we are virtually connected and therefore manipulation in our decision or opinion-making is bound to happen. We could be confined in disturbing and tempting ideologies. We could be presented with a one-sided view of the events happening around us. Therefore it is a dire need to take advantage of all the information from every side. A lopsided view will drown us.
Social networking sites (SNS) in the given times have made everyone a freelance journalist. Any event that takes place around us we get to know of it even before the newspapers, television, and radio bring it to our notice. But in the process, the ethics of journalism have been eroded.
Movements like #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, #MAGA, #NotInMyName, #HeForShe, etc. have proved to earn attention and drive humanity cooperatively to activism. There have been positive outcomes of it but these movements have also caused great harm and tarnished images of faultless lives. These movements have brought people together to fight for their rights but have also caused immense psychological distress to a handful. Although there is a positive outcome of these movements on SNS there is the issue of justice that is been greatly hampered. The collective viewpoint gets altered instantly after a version is illustrated.
Or else track the events that have happened in the recent past, the issue of the #bioslockerroom controversy. On May 4, 2020, it came to light that there was a group of boys who were running a group chat on Instagram called the Boy’s Locker Room. And that in this chat misogynistic remarks were being made. Some called it the place where rape culture gives birth. Suddenly every boy became an enemy to every girl. There were derogatory remarks made on boys and their upbringing. “All men are trash” became the slogan.
Not less than seven days has it taken for the viewpoint to change after it came to light that a girl was using the fake identity of a male person and suggested her rape. Now there are slogans like, “this generation of girls/women are trash.” The altering viewpoint doesn’t justify the active existence of such violent group chats. But it makes it clear to us that there is no point in rushing with our judgments. There is no point in making conclusions that aren’t healthy for anyone of us. We ought to be patient and look at the case with an eagle eye. Let us not make it a fight between the misogynists and misandrists. These are issues that need the utmost attention given the transforming 21st century.
Prior to the pandemic and the lockdown, we were fed on SNS that different cosmetic products are essential for us. Without this, life is impossible to happen. But when the lockdown became active and physical distancing is being enforced our definition of requirements simmered down to the fundamentals for survival. Online classes were considered to be a hiccup to education as they lead the students to procrastinate and create a sense of isolation in the students but in these trying times, online classes are the relief to some students who are keen to study and have access to the internet.
Justice requires us to think of the other in the first place while making verdicts. It is our duty to do so whether online or offline. The other could be anyone a friend or an enemy and all those related to him or her. When it comes to the injustice we tend to punish the criminals proved or unproved and especially on social media it happens instantly. Therefore we ought to ask ourselves, is our judgment proportional and balanced. Are we thinking of the other? Our minds are easily susceptible to ideas supplied to us. But we must give a thought to our actions. We must reason out the problem before us, the possible solutions, and the consequences that we must be ready to face. There is always an alternate perspective to everything and we must explore that perspective.
Exploring different perspectives assists in looking at the wider canvas of events. We could save many mishaps in the process. We could save misunderstandings and tarnishing of images. It could lead us to harmonious living as opposed to conflicts. We must have spirited conversations to curb social evils that are still rooted in the Indian society, social evils that render genders into confusion and differentiation. Hitting the right chord will promote values that will empower humanity in its race against discrimination, fight for equality and dignity of everyone.
First Published on THE GOAN EVERYDAY newspaper