Life without social media

Thu 23 Feb 2017

It was on a highly political afternoon in the not-so-distant future that the social media of the world collapsed into a pile of moral dilemmas, personal problems and ideological conundrums. All of Mark Zuckerberg’s servers and Sundar Pichai’s men couldn’t put social media together again, but they did find that the last straw that broke the camel’s back was a passing “Presstitute” comment on a mainstream media news item.

Suddenly the youth of the nation could no longer depend on picture captions for political or social context. They had to take stands and decisions unendorsed by likes and shares, and many found they lacked conviction. Without pop-culture reference and film scenes to provide context, ideas had to be communicated in full sentences, which many found boring.

Chaos everywhere

The vast Online Defenders of National Pride regiment was disbanded, since their terrain of operation no longer existed. Liberal crusaders of various causes failed miserably when asked to go beyond petitions and sharing foreign media articles. Without peer pressure, left-wing thinkers found themselves thinking right-wing thoughts and right-wing dreamers found themselves in left-wing dreams. Trolls of various hues, of course, remained trolls. Some things don’t change in real life.

Certain Prime Ministers and Presidents could no longer jump the queue on facts or public opinion. They had to wait for the facts to emerge along with voters. What they had to say had to pass through filters, and some things did not go through. Without the direct feed, their supporters had to look around them to see the truth and felt profoundly moved.

What to report?

Many journalists could no longer RT without endorsement their unstated belief. Since they could no longer include in their stories the lines “Many are of the view that…” or “There was general opposition to…”, most felt jittery putting facts to paper. And without “How Twitter reacted to…” articles to file, energetic young reporters found themselves in corporation council meetings and learning how the country is run, to their utter disbelief.

There was a sudden epiphany among 20-somethings that liking posts did not translate to liking those who posted, and many wrote poems about it — which they couldn’t post, and felt extremely disappointed. Also now that they couldn’t share pictures, they realised what looked good didn’t really taste good.

Back to the real world

The big positive, however, was that relatives were easier to love and cherish now that they were no longer sharing misogynist or racist comments on family groups.


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