The silver lining to social media | By Mehr Jan

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The silver lining to social media

The ways of the world have certainly changed with the advancement of technology. However, no one was probably prepared for how big a role social media would play in our everyday life.

There have been those who have ventured into creating whole new careers signifying major monetary benefits with titles like influencers and content creators.

This whole new lifestyle allows us to remain connected with the world and see everything in real time- no filters.

That means things have become rather transparent. Moments as they happen are publicly accessible, allowing us to own the right to comment and judge as per our notions and perceptions.

This has put everything and everyone under the microscope – more often getting subjected to scrutiny rather than praise.

But why is it so? Why are humans so very capable of only leashing out criticism and defying anything which does not fit in our cultural and societal framework of acceptance?

Yet many jump on the bandwagon- assume it’s their portal to get a part of the glitz and glam- under the pretext of a large following of strangers.

There has been a major rise of social media personalities this year itself, allowing individuals to create a podium of self-expression through personal likings.

It seems that we are willing to let go of and ignore the paradigms of reality to create our own little world of how we wish to be seen.

We can choose what to say, how to say it and wait for the responses to pour in. With our ability to remain resilient, we take the ugliness of trolling with a pinch of salt and many are going steady, posting their stories and reels with much enthusiasm.

Through various industries, we have also seen the way social media has impressively transcended into commercial significance, which comes to show it’s not a side hustle anymore.

But perhaps the best thing social media has defined its stature with is its ability to time and again, serve as a podium that allows us to raise a united voice against violence and suffering.

The social media influence is strong. It can stir waves of awareness if not change. Plights of those in need, cries of those in suffering and the woes of those who have been wronged are well brought to the forefront as people, putting their differences aside, come together to make some heightened noise.

Sharing the limelight on what is unjust; culprits – from whatever stature and class – are brought to the forefront and questioned.

This holds significantly true for when a recent college student in Pakistan’s Punjab province had been tortured and sexually harassed for refusing to marry her friend’s father, who along with others shaved the teenager’s head as well as eyebrows.

What is incredibly appalling in this whole scenario is how the tormentors in question even uploaded a video of the victim’s humiliation on social media.

And yet, that is what brought the whole ordeal to our knowledge. That is what allowed the whole nation to come together and demand justice.

Soon enough, it was reported that the Punjab Chief Minister had taken note of the incident and directed the Punjab police chief to arrest all suspects in the case and make sure they do not go unpunished.

While the case’s proceedings are still ongoing, the way it is being handled is for all to see as social media has allowed for that extremely naively put up video to go viral and make the suspects accountable for the heinous crime they committed.

But one can’t help but wonder – exactly what did they expect will happen when they uploaded that video?

Was it really too hard for their minds to comprehend the will power of the public to voice their anger against what they saw?

Surely social media may come with its share of demons, but it is a persistent and powerful platform that allows everyone their fair share to speak for what falls outside the boundaries of humanity.

We may have our own mindsets, likings and perspectives, but thank God, we know when to stand together when witnessing victimization of any kind.

—The writer is contributing columnist, based in Islamabad.

 

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