The advent of Orkut and the popularity of Facebook and Twitter has made a rapid resurgence in our times. Its utility, value and the ability to connect the world together is unparalleled. The advent and popularity of smartphones, tablets and smart devices along with the proliferation of Wi-Fi facility around the world has made social media a very very powerful weapon. But just like any other weapon of mass destruction, it can be used in destructive ways by negative forces to accomplish their work.
Social Media – As A Propaganda Tool
Like Lao Tzu once said, all battles are won even before they are fought. Social media has been used by modern day marketers as a positive and negative tool to spread false propaganda against a competitor and to defame others. It has been used by day to day mom and pop businesses like dhabas, hotels and even small retail shops. One of my friends at Kake Da Hotel has got the brunt of this attack when a video showing his staff in negative light went viral on Twitter. All the subsequent media blitz on YouTube, India Today and NDTV pointed to unhygienic conditions in which food is prepared in the dhaba. The poor owner Captain Arun Chopra’s famous dhaba was raided by food inspectors. But like a true Punjabi warrior, Captain Chopra fought this and got a high court order to stop this nonsense from his enemies.
Politicians and newsmakers have used social media to uncover truth, carry out sting operations, catch corrupt politicians taking bribes and even speeding propaganda against political enemies. Raids and counter raids are conducted to humiliate and harass the opponent. This is what creates the news and the controversies on which our media survives. There are many such examples where the social media has been used to fuel infamy and it has been very effective at that. Social Media agencies manage this for a buck and the rewards are immediate.
The armed forces have used it to highlight their plight, lack of proper food and ammunition and services. Many jawans have voiced their concerns through social media to highlight issues that have been kept on the back burner by the government.
The stock market is a major user of this kind of propaganda as social media is used to decimate false information to cause a manipulation in the stock market indices and to drive down competition stock. Pitting one company against the other, social media plays the levelling advocate by making money both ways.
So like the bomb of Hiroshima, THE FAT boy has become really fat and is flexible with muscles. Social media has already become a more powerful tool than the main stream media and it is time we acknowledge that. We need to try and use it in a positive manner to do good and not to harm competition but to improve our business by using its efficiencies and effectiveness.