Opinion

I think this is an Open Letter to the trolls on the internet

I am a social media junkie. I think that is what you call people who have user accounts on all popular social networking websites.

Facebook. Check
Twitter. Check
Pinterest. Check
Instagram. Check
Quora. Check
Tumblr. Check
Snapchat. Check
Google Plus. Ermmm Check *oops*

And I am fairly consistent with checking them as most of my work happens on these platforms. One common trend I notice in most of these interactive networks is the amount of cynicism that people resort to. Facebook and Twitter in particular. It is a convenient trait to point out, isn’t it. Let me give you a simple example.

The US Supreme Court ruled in favour of marriage equality and the whole world went online to express what they felt about it. The first 6 hours after the ruling were fairly black and white. There were people jubilant and there were people who thought this was unnatural. Personal opinions. And I respect that. A couple of hours into this, the cynicism set in. There were trolls and there were scores of them. There were remarks ranging from “marzi se shaadi toh karke dikhao” to “amrikaa ki baato pe khush hokar rainbow DP lagaane waalo, janta tumhe maaf nai karegi”. Okay, I agree that the rainbow filter on facebook was a stretch but whoever did it, only did it because they saw it as their personal choice. If you like it, then facebook gives you the option to ‘like’ it and if you don’t, communicate it to the person directly if they are your close friend. Here, let me show you how:

XYZ just changed their profile picture *adds rainbow filter*
You think it is laughable becuase, you know, amrikaa and shizz.
You (to XYZ) : “Dude, really?! Colourful profile picture?!”
XYZ : “Why! What’s wrong?”
You : “Tu gay hain kya?!”
XYZ : “Have you lost it?! Its to support LGBT shaadi in amrikaa”
You : “Why would YOU give a scoot about what amrikaa is doing with shaadi equality and all?”
XYZ : “Ainvayi, meri marzi. Plus I look super cool with that filter. I think I should instagram it also. Anyway everyone will just pull it down in a couple of days, just like the whole frenzy will die down eventually.”

That is the whole point. Know the reason. It could be nothing complicated or weird. Some people may well be following herd mentality here and some sincerely voicing their opinion. The whole filter applying charade was the heat of the moment, the immediate reaction that people made to make sure they expressed themselves about how they felt. I did it too. I thought it was a cool thing, what happened in America. Sure, marriage equality has been a achieved in a lot of countries before this. But none of them have the stature of USA in world politics, and that cannot be denied. I will lay the political debate circling around this issue to rest for now (probably deal with it later, in another post). 

My plea goes out to every individual in person, there are many people out there who are sensitive to a cause/issue, who are probably dealing with their own identities or of someone they are really close to, but they do not want to be directly vocal about it and hence choose indirect channels to express an emotion. If you think being cynical towards a cause is hilarious, please be kind with the jokes you make, otherwise inadvertently you end up hurting a major sentiment. 
As I sit here and type whilst preaching ‘be good, do good’ to internet dwellers, I also realise that I am stepping over that cynicism line. Poking fun at them. Well I do so in good spirit and believe it or not, I do believe that social media websites can be a colourful fun place to be on. Fun and wit must always be welcome but choose the butts of your jokes wisely. Politicians make good joke material, and arnab goswami, and KRK. There are so many people and things we can collectively make fun of, why pick on peeps in your friends and followers list. 

Disclaimer : Please do not point out that stand-up comics make fun of people, situations and causes randomly. That is their job plus you pay to go watch them do it and laugh when they do it. Ofcourse you don’t think they are serious, do you!
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