THINK BEFORE YOU SHAMEPOST
THE PITFALLS OF SHAMING STARS ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
I wrote something about Aamir Khan the other day and realized that I only wanted to put out my views on a particular subject. That he can’t be oblivious about the effect that his saying something about the AIB roast on national television had on swaying the issue in general, specially when he’s as human as any of us when it comes to his creations and uses the same means that he seems to be criticizing. And my post said this in a ‘Chill out man, don’t take yourself too seriously’ kind of tone. And soon enough I realized that there were so many people venting so much anger about the man on my wall and on the shared post on other people’s walls. Somewhere within, the idea that my words were being shared by so many people was a turn on. It is for most people. And so I feebly tried my best to say time and again that I am still a fan of the man’s body of work and look forward to his films. But I realize that this is how social media works.
Your social shoulder is used by a lot of other people with agendas to fire their social guns and say a lot more vicious things about someone based on your words. It’s a catch 22 situation. Because no matter how carefully you arrange your words, if there is a strong feeling behind your argument it will stick in people’s minds and the process of firing their gun over your shoulders will begin. I don’t hate Aamir Khan, hell I think he’s the most responsible superstar around (And this is relative not absolute), hence the increased expectation. And so many of his films have moved me deeply and remain jewels in my psyche. TZP for me is my all time most favourite film. And all my close friends know this. I read an article shared by a friend about social media shaming on his feed. And realized there is a lot more to think about before posting. Not that I feel that any Prime Minister or superstar is a poor little victim of one man’s status message. But, it will never remain just what I want to say. It will end up becoming what a lot of people want to say, through my social mouth. Do I want that? …is a question worth thinking about.
Stars are easy to pick on. Because anything they say can and will lead to news. Period. Anyone who says they’re not piggy backing on this, is lying. Do I know when I write that it’s because I’m talking about an Aamir Khan that my article is being shared? Yes. Am I consciously using that? At most points..No, because I’m talking about something, an issue, I feel strongly about. But once it starts being shared am I not aware that it’s being shared because it gives an opposing, well – articulated point of view about someone who’s famous enough to inspire news? Of course I am and in this is the dichotomy. I don’t want to shame, or end up falling prey to championing any kind of a public shaming. That’s not cool either way. I’m personally still trying to grapple with what the alternatives are, maybe even taking more care while writing a post to choose words carefully. Of course if would be great if FB created a ‘Do Not Share’ option. But even that could just be copy pasted and used out of context after adding any prefix with any ascerbic words thrown in there.
The next time one thinks of shaming someone, popular, powerful or not, it is probably a good idea to consider all these things. We must still retain free speech and fight for voices that are unheard but does that justify beating down the rights of voices that are being heard? Maybe not. And it definitely is something to really ponder on.
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