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The (Anti)Social Networking

It seems that surfing Social Media has become more than just a leisure-time activity for many. While the Social Media often become platforms for attacking political opponents, sometimes the Netizens trigger controversies by commenting on sensitive issues. Many visit Social Media on a regular basis to find new villains so that they can troll the latter. The more famous the person is, the more s/he suffers. Sometimes, family members, spouses, children, parents or friends of those famous personalities also go through ordeals, like getting abused on the Social Media. The Troll Culture has started encouraging even educated persons to misbehave with others, use unparliamentary language openly, and cross the limit of decency.

Dr Maitrayee Chaudhuri, retired Professor of Sociology at New Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University, has said: “These are not isolated incidents. The Internet Culture is cornering individuals, especially women, more and more. What people used to be ashamed to say are being used with hashtags.

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A section of sociologists is of the opinion that even loose comments on Social Media could be explosive, if they fail to clear the standard of political fidelity. Psychiatric social worker Mohit Ranadip has stressed: “There is certainly a desire to express oneself easily. At the same time, people are worried about critics, as their expressions may attract trolling.” He added: “In fact, Social Media have become a platform to spread all kinds of violence and hatred. There is an increase in bloodshed not only in social life, but also in the virtual world.

Indian author Sangeeta Banerjee is active in various discussions on Facebook. She recently said: “Some of my words have been misunderstood, and it has been emotionally devastating.” In many of her novels, Banerjee has discussed physical relationships. Panty is one of her popular novels for which she was trolled. “People used to criticise titles of my novels even a decade and a half ago. It was easy to explain when people used to call me over the phone. However, in case of any debate on Facebook, it has become really difficult to argue. I can’t write about the Politics of Sexuality nowadays as I could before,” she said.

Debating is an essential part of human discourse. Unfortunately, personal attacks have become a new trend, as far as debates are concerned. “Human rights have been curtailed in the last six-seven years. The practice of political writing is declining, while debates on Social Media are on the rise. The troll culture is the consequence of this,” insisted Dr Maitrayee Chaudhuri.

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