Published on December 30th, 2012


Trend of the year

Moving from armchair activism to armchair argumentativeness, we bared our souls on social networks, and hit back hard in disagreement.
by The Editors | editor@themetrognome.in

Part 10 of our Yearender Diaries

They say a society unites in times of collective crises. That crises struck us, again and again this year, and in several different forms, was a fact nobody could have missed even if they wished to. Corruption. Scams arising out of corruption. Dismaying crimes. Absurd arrests. Several freedoms curbed repeatedly. Apathy from the authorities in the face of demonstration. Forced imprisonment inside our homes as somebody’s funeral cortege passed through the city. Women being murdered inside their homes by building security men, or by men they knew.

And we protested in the best way we possibly could. We logged on to Twitter and Facebook.

We’ve been so good at protesting online, that we’ve actually assumed an entirely new social role on the Internet – we have a reputation on Twitter and Facebook, and we work really hard to cultivate that reputation and keep it consistent. If we’re a weepy kind of soul, we tell everybody on our friends list about our latest heartbreak (even if it’s a cooking disaster in the kitchen). If we’re the demonstrative kinds, we put up pictures of everything happening in our lives. If we’re the ‘keen, media professional types’, we demand that others put up pictures of everything happening in their lives, as proof that it happened at all.

And out of this last, arose the Trend Of The Year – general argumentativeness over social networks.

This was also the Year of Short Tempered Sniping. The moment somebody said something even remotely sensational or contrary, there were 99 people vehemently disagreeing with that person or calling him/her an ass, and one person demanding a Twitpic or it didn’t happen (this ‘How many snipers does it take to pull down a Tweeter?’ joke tells itself). If a stand up comic made a joke out a situation that saddened everyone else, everybody united to call that stand up comic a joke on humankind. If a celebrity died, everybody was supposed to say ‘RIP’, not ‘I’m so glad he’s finally dead.’ Any behaviour not adhering to these norms was swiftly censured and publicly humiliated.

It’s like we’ve forgotten the time when we weren’t so combative. When we actually took the time to understand a contrary point of view and have a healthy discussion about it. When we, even when we wondered if somebody was telling the truth, gave them the benefit of doubt and gossiped only amongst our friends. When we didn’t butt into conversations two other people were having, only to either say one or the other party was being really funny, or being an idiot. When we still had some manners and didn’t count the general mood of society through the number of ‘Likes’ on a page, or the numbers of Retweets. This year, we challenged others’ opinions with impunity, staunchly defended our own and demanded that others agree with us as well, besides ganging up against those whose words or actions did not fall in line with ours.

This year, we shot down the message, the messenger and everybody else in the vicinity. Then we sat back in our armchairs and felt morally superior, because we’d actually gone out there and ‘done’ something.

(Picture courtesy theaggressor.blogspot.com)

‘Diaries’ is a series of stories on one theme. The Yearender Diaries seek to capture the most telling moments, happenings and people in the city this year. Look out for Celebration of the Year tomorrow.


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