Sunday, October 9, 2011

My NSMD Pledge

Hereon, I have decided to set aside certain days as "NSMD" which would actually be an abbreviation for the No Social Media Days and something prompts me to think that this might actually be one of my wiser decisions in life.
The act in my context would chiefly include abstaining from Facebook, Twitter, reading blog posts, and online news sites including yahoo, msn and any other platform that might update me on anything that is happening around in the world. I would also prevent myself from reading the newspaper on these days. Of course, it is a different thing if someone were to pick me of all people to start ranting on the latest around the globe. But well, one can only try to a certain extent, isn't it?

The reason? Depression. Frankly, shame aside, I feel small. You know, like insignificant small. And look which wise mama preached about camera angles, eagles and all in the previous post, you say. Wait. I have my rebuttal. 

Firstly, I am beginning to feel like the entire media is one big reality distortion tool. Really. Ever been to an awards ceremony? The prize winners or some achiever goes up on stage with the spotlight on him, being clicked voraciously by numerous photographers and then gives a speech. And 'the crowd' sits down, clapping their hands. Now imagine, if day after day, this were to be the only activity that you ever were going to do - attend an award function and look at the prize winners. How would you feel?

In real world, this does not happen. The crowd goes back home, assumes their daily life, have their hobbies, friends, aspirations etc. In real world, an eagle's eye perspective is easy to be assumed. However, the media is not real world. It has merely become one never ending tool of promotion and more promotion.

First, there are the advertisers, who can't just shut up. Every day, a new product has to come, a new discount has to be launched, happy beautiful faces need to show us that they are happier and more beautiful after using them.

Then, there is twitter. Actors, singers, authors and directors have to keep tweeting about their life, work and preferences and there are a zillion people following and re-tweeting this. Every second  a person finds something interesting and shares a link to a song, product or article.
Bloggers (me included) get increasingly narcissistic and each wants to think that we have the responsibility of enlightening the world with our thoughts and opinions. Of course, when we meet a person, there are so many cues for us - body language, facial expressions etc, which are actually essential tools to get a perspective on someone. However, while reading a blog, the words become the person. The style and richness of language are our cues. Once you get this right,  and also have a lot of followers, you come across as a very confident, independent, intelligent, bold person.

I know I am not making sense. Yet, somehow, the media makes me feel like so much is happening every second and success stories are being created at the speed of light. I am not blaming or ridiculing anyone for what they do or did in cyber space. I am just saying that due to the combined effect of it all, at the end of the day, I am losing touch with the "real" around me. Logging on to the internet has become akin to a trip to the mall - everyone seems to be rich and smart and successful.

The media has created a world inside our heads and I am feeling ridiculously disturbed in this world. It seems to be a filled with highly opinionated, super-confident people but I wonder if in reality we really have this proportion of domination or authority. I hope not.

Platforms are plenty to define, refine and showcase ourselves. And these platforms are even more crowded with celebrity fan worship. Eagle's eye perspective becomes really difficult. For e.g, every where I go, I see references to Chetan Bhagat's latest book. In my media world, then suddenly Chetan Bhagat is a prominent star being talked about by every single person alive - he is the most happening.  And I haven't even read his second book completely. Oops! 

Yet, what is reality? Hardly 15% of our country men know English and what proportion of that would have read his book? And what proportion of that would have liked it? And what percentage is that of world population? Firstly, what is Chetan so popular? What percentage of his success was through adept marketing? 

See my point? However, it is not possible for me to be on such rational guard every second. Years back, there was a lot of research on how advertising is manipulating us. I think the internet and media in general is a thousand times worse, because it is filled with not just professional advertisers but also normal people - advertising themselves, advertising others.
Remember the old adage? Believe only that which can be seen, touched, heard and thoroughly investigated. It seems golden to me today and it seems to translate to "Stay away from the media, idiot!"

(Of course, some of you know me personally. For the others, well, I wonder how my personality had come across before this post. Smart, articulate, bold, rebellious or self-assured? If any of this, take my word, there really is a long way to go for all that )


Abhishek said...

My dad recently bought a nobel-prize book by someone called Orhan Pamuk , filled with anticipation and excitement .

He now calls teh book impossible to read . How'd you explain how he got so excited about this ? Ans : the media .

The media built up the image that no one could compete with . The media created a " Mr.Brilliant " for Orhan Pamuk ( who's writing i thought was a drag , when i tried to read it ) .

Think about it this way : If the media never existed , there would be no medium through which news of recent event could reach us .

Which brings us to why we came up with newspapers in the first place : the new ! .

You should'nt shut yourself away from the world , cuz it only promotes to something even worse ( which i've read , usually ends in rehab ), and even if you do , try to keep it at minimum .

So good-luck to you !

Indumathy Sukanya said...

@abhishek...are you talking abt that book named 'my name is red'? cuz i picked it up in a stroke of inspiration too!
no, i didn read beyond a lay sleeping in my cupboard n i totally forgot abt it...ended up paying a huge fine :P
it's the big bold advertisement on the cover that said 'Newyork times bestseller' n all that crap that wooed me! true!

n @sindu...happens to me on a weekly basis! i love being ignorant most of my time....its bliss!
but i cant afford to...cuz i get my regular guilt trips about being a bad media student :P

Natarajan Sundaram said...

When I was about to lick the link "Comments" I saw this line.

"Posted by Sindu at 4:47 AM"

Seriously, if you have posted at this time, Sindu, take a break.

I agree to the whole content of this post, that media is occupying too much of our lives. But its upto us to take it or leave it. Yes, internet and media help us to get introduced to a new product or thing, but its the same media or internet, where we know the truth about the same product too.
Not all the media, posts and bloggers are bluffing or just promoting the positives. There are people who do justice too.

Right from the day I started to follow your blogs, I remember you as a good person i can turn-to,to have a good review about anything. I just hope, you will be the same to a whole lot of people, over a period of time.

Just keep up the good work, and leave the rest to the public. We know who is real and who is not.


Srinidhi said...

Media and advertising are together the cycle that really messes with your head. I truly believe "that advertising promotes low self esteem".

And there are more such scary thoughts that come to fore if you over analyse the information emdia gives you, you might see the quirks. :)

But as you rightly put, we can't do it every inch of the way. Its painful for our brains.
But working for the media, I question how powerful we often feel. As we produce what people "should" read. Pretty darn powerful no? I think so anyway.

But I want to escape the news sometimes. But how can i? Working at a newspaper makes me too involved. Sigh.

I understand where you are coming from. Sometimes I feel the same way.

P.s Reading your blogs makes me connect to your thoughts. Often, I prefer it to reading news. Cause I feel some blogs have the soul our newspapers might forget. :)

P.P.S Following this post, I hunted for you on twitter. hehe! :)

Anonymous said...

Aw Sindu - don't be hard on yourself.

The world keeps changing - there is nothing either good or bad about it. The question is, "Are we able to cope with the new set of values?"

Do listen to Abhishek (his last line).


Anonymous said...

You could turn to your virtual friends when you're feeling bad - they'd always be there, 'virtually'. :)


Sindu said...

@Abhishek: I wasn't planning to shut myself from the world... in fact, on the contrary - spend more time with the 'world'. Hmmm. Just an experiment Abhishek. Let me see how it goes. However, somehow I hear a voice saying that the problem is somewhere in my attitude.

@Indu: Seriously! Yesterday while typing this, I suddenly realized that I was a journalism student and that these NSMD bouts can't happen after a while. Sad.

@Nataraj: :) Nataraj! Hmmm...firstly, I posted it around 5 in the evening. So, not clear on the time settings. Secondly, 4.45 in the morning is not a bad time to post, you know. The Vedas say they are man's most creative hour. ;) However, if I am writing about depression at that time, yes, something is wrong. And thank you for those good words, pal. :) It is not the nature of reviews that affect me but the fact that reviews are all around, everywhere, all the time. Sigh.

Sindu said...

@Srinidhi: Does it feel powerful? Hmmm. I was interning at a leading news daily a few months back and got a few bylines. Did I feel good? Not much. Well, initially yes, seeing my name in the paper and all that vanity. Soon, I realized that I was not taking news to the people. It was just that whatever I decided to take to them would be the news. You will know better. However, there are some really passionate people out there too. And knowing you from your blog, I know there is another thoughtful compassionate person out there! :)

Twitter eh? Lol. Once a week, I go there, think for fifteen minutes on what to tweet and finally conjure something just to be active on the platform. Essential tool for Journalists, they said. But guess I am a really not a natural as a bird.

Sindu said...

@V: must be wondering from where this girl gets issues to brood on. :) And no, Uncle OTEE. This is not a natural order of change. This particular world I have written about might be an illusion and I don't want to adapt to it.

Virtual friends eh? :) Now you have opened up a whole new psychological line of thought - what makes virtual relationships so non-threatening and assuring? Hmmm. Lol.

Anonymous said...

what makes virtual relationships so non-threatening and assuring?

Hmmm. You made me think too.
- less expectations (demanding)?
- less responsibility (commitment)?
- less vulnerable?
- exiting a virtual relationship is less painful?

On the whole virtual relationships are lesser than real relationships?


Sindu said...


Here is how I think of it.

Personality is enhanced on a virtual platform. In real world, lets go back to the early teenage years (sometimes holds true for a lifetime) - Imagine seeing a beautiful well built person of the opposite gender with a good body language, nice smile and polite going past us. We are immediately prone to assume many other things as well about the person - maybe that they are intelligent, kind and funny as well? And one stare of theirs our way, sometimes we are prone to thinking about it for days and assuming that they like us and are thinking about us too. It is silly but beautiful.

Now, in cyber-world, there is a huge advantage. We miss the visual cues. Simple talking communicates to our mind a lot quickly. A guy - he has an intelligent point. Online, if the point is put in good language, I go all "wow". Offline - if he is talking the same point, a lot more factors come into play. If he stares in a way that makes me uncomfortable, shutters shyly, is too loud, comes too near - well, somehow end of the day, something doesn't register too well.

So, that is the point. Online, with language alone, we might perceive people differently. We might know a few personal details, see their photo - this shapes the mystique but doesn't destroy it. The romanticism is greater. This romanticism is, to me, the major point that makes us connect closer to them, trust them more and want to share things with them. We conceive an idealistic human on the other side of the screen who truly understands us.

Is it lesser than real ones? Lesser might not be an apt term. I think it could keep us in the dark about a few misconceptions but well, so what, isn't it? :)

Anonymous said...

The romanticism is greater.

Finally - a valid reason for my desire to be anonymous, most of the negative cues around me are eliminated. :)

But beware (be aware) of possible misconceptions. ;)


karthick r said...

Media is so manipulative these days. If every other newspaper companies start broadcasting news as-is, there won't be any takers. So what do they do?
They sugar coat words, add their own flavour and present it to the viewers.
For instance, a simple news items would be 'Anna sent to Tihar Jail. People protest.'
and the one we get to hear is,
'Anna made to share cell with Kalmadi. Gandhian sharing the same cell with a corrupt-to-core politician. Outrageous.'
Also, since when did newsroom became the places to settle civil/criminal disputes.
I have expressed my angst against the likes of Arna[w]b and Bharka Dutt earlier in my posts and will continue to do the same till I find it boring/they give up. :) I don't see either of that happening in the near future.

A similar thread here >> TOI

But you can't trust TOI as they are the ar*e-lickers of Congress.

And staying away from FB/Twitter/Blogs - I gave up that fight long back. All I am trying to do now is to keep it to a minimum.

~ cheers..!

Anonymous said...

How does it feel
How does it feel
it were like a sweet breeze blowing past you..

have I really felt it ?

a few good years, the reality hasn't sunk in yet

Srinidhi said...

Thats what I meant by feel powerful. 'you' get to decide what 'others' read. powerful no?

You are right though. The fascination fades. For some.

Thank you for the compliment :) I hope to stay passionate you know :)