By: Muhammad Sultan Shah
“Social Media is a Mix of Sweet and Sour, becoming stronger every passing day. It can’t be avoided…It’s life!”
Starting as an entertainment Hub, people never thought that Social Media will emerge so strongly and ultimately will get so much value and importance in everyday lives. Almost every prominent Company, Institution and Individual keeps their presence on web through various online media sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter etc. It’s a complete world where you have online presence of individuals, advertisements for commodities, selling ideas, introducing new talents to the world, shaping up view points and much more. Expression was never that enhanced before, people share their feelings electronically that were never thought a good ten (10) years ago. Social media is continuing to gain Power with the passage of time and getting respect and attention from all corners.
As a normal attraction for a young man, I remember when I started using Orkut and Facebook and the main aim was chatting and getting in touch with friends via net. Then with the passage of time, multi dimensions evolved like thoughtful discussion pages, picture and video sharing, playing games breaking news links, signing petitions and arranging events & meetings. Nonetheless staging demonstrations and even claimed revolutions (Egypt’s Tehreer Square).This rapid evolution is really amazing and no wonder where it will lead in future.
People do not have to wait for a long time in order to get their views posted/counted, you just have to log on and post whatever you think is right even from the PC worth Rs.5000. Vast variety of news now break for the first time here like we saw in famous Malik Riaz and Arsalan Iftikhar conflict. It is also used as a litmus test indicator of Public Opinion. Slowly and gradually it’s becoming a bench mark for Opinion making. Various surveys are also conducted on Facebook during live programs which give an initial idea of what people think for a given issue.
Social media has made people brave enough to express whatever they think is right. The most amazing display we saw during last elections Campaign (11th May, 2013) in which people Hell fired various political groups which could never be thought in past. Especially young generation spoke their heart out trying to make an impact on mainstream politics. People were not that much bold and blunt before. People used to express themselves rather quietly and play between the lines often not directly indicating Evils and Villains of their lives. You cannot stop them now!
People in social Media continue to vow their thoughts and often make a considerable impact on the mainstream media and politics. In fact outbursts on Social Media are the everyday things emerged out as feelings of masses. Everyday perspectives of such great variety were never seen before as now everybody has access to Social Media. Perspective raised from a very unpopular background can also gain a lot of attendance to make you famous overnight. Taking Pakistani point of view, WASU (a diehard Baloch Pakistani) who became famous by singing a song on Pakistan history and ultimately got involved with Shehzad Roy in the program ‘WASU AUR MEIN’ opening good food for thought. Then the latest sensation Osman Khalid Butt who gained popularity after his blogs on YouTube under the channel name TheLivingPicture.
Previously, in the age of Print media; we used to see rare whistle blowers who used to raise voices to some to undesirable acts while the mainstream media power hubs always kept things with respect to their own benefits and Game Plans. But now, forces representing thoughts and desires of common man continue to pave their way to fight against captivating individuals who control print/electronic media and rights of common man. You cannot restrict them, you cannot ban them now, this is the beauty of online community and immense power of social media as there is no ‘NAZAR-YA-I-ZAROORAT’ here.
Social media websites and pragrams are a great blessing for people residing overseas to be connected with loved ones which were never easy before. Nonresident Nationals keep in touch with their motherland and try to participate online with respect to discussion forums/threads on national problems. I also (residing outside Pakistan) make use of online media and sense of attachment is enhanced while we contact our relatives and friends residing in Pakistan and other parts of the world. My father recalls his memories when my uncle was residing in KSA and compares with recent times. He says that it was really much more trying for the whole family in past and we are really happy to see you on Skype every other day. Connecting is enhanced, people are relaxed!
Social Media can also be used to defy from facts which is a negative side of it. The biggest disadvantage which I see is deception. The pictures and videos, which can largely be crafted and used easily to defame anyone. This perhaps is the biggest drawback which should be restricted as this often disguises a common man. We saw worst display of forging and deceiving people in last elections where people portrayed various fake things against their opponents and tried to bluff and misguide masses.
Ethical use of Information and privacy is also a big issue while we talk about social media. Every now and then, we see the regulations and privacy options changing which at times is very difficult to grasp. Social Media groups may use your and my personal information for their own sake which might be undesirable for us. People using fake identity and blackmailing are also heinous acts which often denigrate Social Media.
Posting also becomes crucial sometimes as there are organizations which can monitor all the happenings too. I remember US President Barrack Obama once warning for whatever we post on Facebook and like hoods. Your personal information and posts can get you in trouble as well. Regulations are good things but if it is meant to lock minds, it would really destroy the liberty and truth which is a trademark of Social Media. Any Official regulations/tracking in future should be rational and ethical.
Speaking about Social media, some people call it a conspiracy (from International forces) to gather overall information and mind control sort of thing. I have seen people who leave online community with all these fears across their minds. They might als0 be right up to some extent but by doing so they are surly missing a big source of information, intellect and entertainment. On a bigger picture nobody is stopping you to express yourself (you can limit your personal information) and equip with the kind of activity/information you want.
Scheduling tasks to move in life is also a very important thing for individuals as all this online activity eats loads of time and takes away other advantages. Physical and outdoor activities among teenagers have reduced to a great extent as majority prefers updating their status and getting to know about others online. If we take out some ratio then it would be evident that new generation spends more time accompanying their Laptops, Ipads and mobile tablets. We must limit this and focus on other physical and constructive activities as well that would be much better for our overall development. A balance needs to be maintained in life, Social media be one part of life and not the whole life!
Online community is growing at a sprinting pace, people from all corners are joining hands to seek things and express themselves. Observing rapid development and effect on lives of people, it can be safely predicted that Social media will only become more powerful in future. It could also be used to take guidance for identifying needs, demands and desires of common man. Who knows it can drive various national policies with the passage of time. I see Social media becoming one of most powerful stakeholders in overall scenario thus effecting lives more than ever thought of…