The Glass Bangle

Being a Woman

The Click Brigade

I love Social Media. It has enriched my life in many ways. Keeping in touch with friends in all corners of the world has never been this easy and this instantaneous. Sharing and propagating an idea or thought has never been this convenient.

But, of late, I’ve been struck by the realization that all this ease and convenience has made us lazy. We are gradually becoming a generation of clickers. When I use the word ‘We’, I’m including myself since I know that I too am guilty of aiding the creation of noise on the internet.

Social Media has managed to manufacture a whole breed of Armchair Activists. Any issue, be it political, religious, social or cultural, creates a Tsunami of opinions and an army of protestors. In the earlier days, if standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square was a symbol of protest, now all that has to be done is change your profile picture to whatever is deemed politically correct for that situation, write a scathing comment on a public forum or better still, ‘like’ a particular image or video, and Voila ! – we have become socially responsible citizens ! I would like to emphasise that I’m not condemning all forms of protests voiced on Social Media. I’m just giving my point of view on the people who have perfected the art of appearing to protest, but not taking forward that thought in any way in their personal lives.

Voicing an opinion, or expressing solidarity to an issue or person is something we should certainly do. I’m all for it. But why are we, the majority out there anyway, not taking it to the next level ? Not possible for a lot of issues you say? Absolutely correct. We might want to do something about saving the rain forests in the Amazon, but due to a lot of constraints we are not able to do that. Fair enough. But what about all those small changes that we can make ? Seeing the sea of rainbow profile pictures on Facebook in support of the US Supreme Court decision supporting the rights of the LGBT community, was superb. But how many of us actually allowed the hues of those colours to run into our lives ? How many of us rainbow-profilers flinched to sit next to a trans-gender on the bus/train or even refused to rent out our houses to a gay/lesbian couple? Then there’s the selfie bandwagon. What’s the point in taking a selfie with your daughter on one hand and on the other hand refusing to let her go for higher studies or rushing to buy Fair and Lovely cream so that she becomes fairer? We jostle with each other to register our indignation about the rudeness and insensitive behavior of people who are shown on the billions of viral videos doing the rounds. But how many of us see the weariness etched on the security guard’s face at the end of a hot tiring day ? We don’t forget to shout at him if he’s a minute late to open the gate. A smile and a kind word is all it takes to bring an answering smile to his face, to make him feel that his services are valued.

At home, we shoo our children away when they come to us brimming with excitement to share their tiny triumphs and disappointments. But we don’t have time to listen, because we have to watch the latest video on Child Abuse doing the rounds on Facebook and express our anger and disgust. The shadow of sorrow that falls on the little face next to us goes unnoticed.

Then of course there is our favourite pastime – Govt bashing, or on a wider scale we can call it ‘system bashing.’ We love to rant and rail against the system, wax eloquent on its failure, and generally blame everything on the system. I agree wholeheartedly that both the Govt and the system do have a lot to answer for. But in spite of whichever party is in power, the people have learnt to live their lives. So, why should we wait for the Govt or any other social organization to bring about change ? It’s as if the responsibility of bringing about changes in society is solely that of organisations, be it Governmental or otherwise. We have got ourselves comfortably perched in our chairs, giving an opinion on everything under the sun, on Social Media. Let others toil, we will pontificate.

It’s slightly alarming to see this increasing inclination towards armchair activism. We need to recognize the power that each of us has, the power of the individual. We need to keep ourselves firmly grounded on terra firma, when our fingers are flying over the keyboard. We need to look beyond the world as framed on our screens and see it as it is. Just take a look out of the window, the sky is not as brilliantly blue as you see on your screen, there’s a softness to it which the pixels cannot convey. Social Media lets you exist in a false world, which you can construct as per your likes and dislikes. It can be either completely rosy or completely bleak. But the real world has both hues. One can see the most beautiful acts of kindness juxtaposed with acts of utmost cruelty. But there’s a balance that helps keep us stable and grounded.

So next time you want to click and express your solidarity for a cause, do it, but lift your head and look around you. Is the person working next to you looking slightly more weary and careworn ? A few words of concern or even a glass of water wouldn’t go amiss. We have the capability to bring a change in at least one person’s life, who ever it may be. Let’s not waste that chance. I’ve never felt the essence of Gandhiji’s words as I do today, when he said, “The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem.”

 

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23 comments on “The Click Brigade

  1. Awkward Earthling
    November 10, 2015

    Wow..!!!
    I must tell you..!!
    Love your writes & the sincere language you use !! 🙂

    Following you right away !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anil Kumar Das
    August 26, 2015

    Great writing , Anju, I especially liked the part ….But the real world has both hues……We have the capability to bring a change in at least one person’s life, who ever it may be….. Thought provoking and I fully agree with your thoughts presented in the most effective manner. I will become your face book friend so that I can read your blogs hot as they come out of press.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Glass Bangle
      August 31, 2015

      Thank you Anil Chettan. It’s always heartening when my views get validated by well wishers 🙂

      Like

  3. themangoman
    August 21, 2015

    Nice article. You are right when you mentioned about arm chair activists on internet. You can add to your list another breed of internet activists called as Trolls, who are blinded by their political party. Since i write a lot on politics, i get frequently trolled by trolls from all political party. They refuse to listen to your view point. Few months back, i wrote a blog on how discussion on social media demands your loyalty as a bhakt, aaptard or a congi. http://themangoman.co.in/social-media-demands-your-loyalty-as-a-bhakt-aaptard-or-congi/

    Like

    • The Glass Bangle
      August 31, 2015

      So sorry for the delayed reply. Your comment somehow slipped through the radar 🙂
      I’ve read about these trolls and how they hijack discussions which turn nasty for their avowed hero of the hour. The anonymity of the internet gives a completely false sense of bravado to a lot of people who otherwise wouldn’t say Boo to a goose. Gives a new meaning to the thought ‘The meek shall inherit the earth.’ Maybe they will, through the internet.

      Like

  4. Maniparna Sengupta Majumder
    August 19, 2015

    “Armchair Activists” is the word! They click on links, like and share, but they merely think or realize the problems. Absolutely agree with your points here. Nowadays, the number of ‘likes’ determines the importance of any issue…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Susanna J. Sturgis
    August 18, 2015

    Halfway around the world from you, I say “Same here!” 🙂 I make snarky remarks about the “click-share-and-donate crowd” even though in many respects their political views are similar to mine. I am grateful to live in a small town, one of six towns on an island whose total year-round population is less than 20K. What this means is that I’ve been involved in many groups over the years and I know firsthand how difficult it can be to achieve agreement on anything, how personalities and relationships influence everything, and how rare true leaders seem to be. If running a town with 3,000 residents is so challenging, how can running a whole state or country be as easy as these armchair activists seem to think?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Glass Bangle
      August 19, 2015

      It never fails to amaze me how similar the thought processes can be, no matter what the culture or place or ethnicity. Susanna, its always a pleasure to read your comments. I feel like a friend has dropped in to have a chat over a cup of tea 🙂
      Armchair activists and their thoughtlessness is just one more topic to add on to our conversation 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. macjam47
    August 18, 2015

    Great post. There’s a lot of truth in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sid Balachandran
    August 18, 2015

    Armchair activists – they’re all around us, aren’t they? And most of them won’t even raise a finger to help the person next to them. Or even notice if the person next to them needs something. Click, click, indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. dreamzandclouds
    August 18, 2015

    Reblogged this on dreamzandclouds and commented:
    “………the sky is not as brilliantly blue as you see on your screen, there’s a softness to it which the pixels cannot convey”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. dreamzandclouds
    August 18, 2015

    Oh dear, I absolutely love this post. It seems like you read my mind and wrote this post. Like all others even I am somewhere a part of this click brigade but slowly I am trying to take a step back and trying to concentrate on what I can actually do in my own small way to make that big change happen, one day. Love you Anjana, for writing this post! ❤ :*
    and I love this line, "………the sky is not as brilliantly blue as you see on your screen, there’s a softness to it which the pixels cannot convey:……so true! I wish many more of us starts to think in these lines. 🙂
    BTW can I share this post?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Varnam Gump
    August 18, 2015

    Cannot agree more. Worse is the “smug conviction” I see that by clicking they have done a lot of good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Glass Bangle
      August 18, 2015

      Varnam, the’smug’ factor is something I completely missed out on ! Should’ve added that 🙂

      Like

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