It was an angry duel between two friends on facebook that made me write this and the more I think about it, the more it seems true. We are increasingly becoming an intolerant lot, and this behaviour is being best exhibited online.
Don’t know about the world, but there is definitely growing intolerance in the online world. Disliking one’s thoughts is one thing, debating another but people have stooped down to slandering and expressing hatred in extremely derogatory ways. People are ‘fighting’ over status messages, some are hurling abuses at each other, while trolling for a variety of reasons is widely popular.
This is a dangerous precedent we are all setting, and if we don’t keep this in check, then it will eventually simply spill over to the offline world. Here are some instances of what is fanning all this intolerant behaviour and what we can perhaps do to put an end to it.
1. Let us stop fighting over status messages
Ever heard of the right of speech and expression? I mean there is a line and its tough to say when one crosses it, but can we not be a little respectful towards other people’s thoughts? So they said something against your favourite political leader, about your community or religion, but how about engaging in a discussion over simply starting a war like debate that the world watches? What we don’t realise is that it’s not just the two people who engage in such a debate, but everybody else on the friend list and also the other public network that is watching this conversation.
While defending intolerance, or your community or religion, make sure you are not creating further negativity around it yourself.
A perfect case in point –
2. Don’t go crazy over rumours
The one big problem with online media is gossips and rumours. If the media could not be trusted in entirety, the online media is even harder to trust. The problem lies with everybody wanting to be the first and fastest. In trying to spread news quickly, many news agencies don’t even do one reference check before publishing something. Sometimes the facts they publish are not entirely true, at other times outdated, or sometimes just plain rumours, which they happily publish, because who cares about the veracity of something as long as it gets some views on the portal.
A brilliant case in point is Shahrukh Khan’s statement about rising intolerance in India. Watch the following video and see the reality behind what actually transpired.
3. Please read before sharing
We are a headline reading generation. Nobody has the time to read stuff. At best, most people read headlines. The headline of this article will in itself change opinions than the content inside. Websites make the best use of this. Click Bait is happening in full swing. Let’s get people to click and share, why bother about what they read. News is twisted and twisted further till it gets a website the right amount of clicks. Now they will not all always resort to twisting a headline for personal gain, but what about the ones that do. The common man out there doesn’t know the difference between a hundred websites, to him/her, they all look the same.
The more we rely on headlines, the more we are misleading ourselves. Please read beyond the headlines, and please read before you share.
In the time to come, what happens in this world will be less dependent by what happens on the streets and more by what happens online. We have a very important responsibility in our hands, and we must not let our actions further fuel intolerance. Social media is purely people centric, people driven and consumed by people; we are all like journalists and our friends like viewers, let us not let ourselves down by spreading hatred. This message is as much to myself as it is to you. We all need to learn, be a little calm and work towards establishing peace in the online world.