(Illustration: Gajanan Nirphale)
(Illustration: Gajanan Nirphale)

Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media

This week, it appeared as though Covid-19 was not the only thing going viral across the planet, giving rise to comment and concern. Our attention has been naturally drawn to other, similarly hilarious/ odious/ ludicrous practices that have yet to be called out, on the social media platform.
By Malavika Sangghvi
PUBLISHED ON JUN 04, 2021 05:36 PM IST

This week, it appeared as though Covid-19 was not the only thing going viral across the planet, giving rise to comment and concern.

A moronic, but equally contagious post, began showing up on the timelines of a whole swathe of Facebook users, from continents as far flung as Australia, Asia, America and Europe.

“I was wondering where everyone went!” began the awkwardly-worded canard, quickly going on to declare: “Thanks for the tip to circumvent Facebook... Works!! I have a whole new profile. I see posts from people I didn’t see anymore. Facebook’s new algorithm picks the same people - around 25 - who will see your posts...”

And then without much ado, the message urges naïve readers to further perpetuate the myth, by copy pasting it on to their own timelines.

And lo and behold, without so much as a whisker of scepticism, this idiotic communique has proliferated on user after user’s timelines, as if the whole world has overnight been infected by another deadly virus, this time one that destroys grey matter and all vestiges of common sense.

On its part, Mark Zuckerberg’s social media platform has been vainly attempting to quell the contagion, posting numerous and strongly worded advisories that it is false information which has been circulating since 2017, one which has already been debunked in no uncertain terms-but to little avail. (“Facebook does not set a limit on the number of people whose posts are shown in your News Feed.”)

So, with no signs of it abating, our attention has been naturally drawn this week to other, similarly hilarious/ odious/ ludicrous practices that have yet to be called out, on the social media platform.

And so here they are, gentle reader: The Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media — in the form of popular Bollywood film titles…

1) Mujhse Dosti Karoge! (The Sin of Sycophantic Sucking up)

There was a time when the practice of toe-curling sycophancy, unctuous fawning and cringe-inducing toadying were called out for the blatant brown-nosing that they were; but that was a time before the advent of social media. For some inexplicable reason, those given to such execrable demonstrations of smarminess, have assumed a carte blanche to carry on the revolting practice on social media, with a no-holds-barred attitude, making the rest of us reach for the barf bags, all too frequently.

2) ‘Cull’ Ho Na Ho (The Sin of Passive Aggression)

You know this type. The ones who want to get a tart message across to some hapless individual on their friend’s list, but rather than come out and say what’s on their mind directly, they prefer to beat around the bush, hoping to get their message across, through a general post, ostensibly addressed to everyone, but actually aimed like a tiny poison dart, at the heart of the particular individual who irks them. There are many ingenious ways they employ to achieve this. Most common among them is to slight A by heaping fulsome — and mostly undeserved — praise on B, on the assumption that A and B are rivals.

Complicated? Yes. Tedious? Certainly. Pathetic and juvenile? And how…

Oh, and yes, these passive aggressive types are also the ones who will issue periodic veiled threats announcing with sweet regularity, that they are on the verge of culling their friends’ list, in the hope that people be nicer to them, …

3) Dil Dhadakne Do (The Sin of Generic, Gushing Banality)

Wish, wish, wish. Every holiday, every festival, every religious celebration, every world event, every famous person who dies, every meme they’ve received, every schlock kindergarten wisdom they’ve marvelled at, every joke they’ve thought funny, even every joke they’ve not thought funny, will end up on these people’s timelines, in an endless carousel of gush. And the prodigious Niagara Falls of their sentimentality is matched only by the ingenuity with which they come up with a million hashtags to accompany their vapid posts with.

4) Band Baaja Baaraat (The Sin of Blatant Exhibitionism and Unbridled Showing Off)

Welcome to Show Off Central. Your homes, your cars, your toys, your boys, your PJs, your Porsches, your pearls… all served up daily, by the hour, every hour, in all their pixelated splendour, for your “friends” to envy and covet. What’s more we are informed, this extreme practice of “neighbour’s envy, owner’s pride”, has given rise to a whole range of businesses such as mock up cabins in private jets, Olympic sized swimming pools and luxury limousines, which you can rent by the hour, to service your proclivity for in-your-face, runaway exhibitionism.

5) Dharm (The Sin of Relentless Virtue Signalling)

This transgression is perhaps the most disingenuous, because it seeks to deceive not only the viewer, but also its originator, by conveying a vastly exaggerated sense of their saintliness and virtue. This type of post is marked by its propensity to constantly advertise the individual’s good deeds, their numerous acts of charity and their benevolence and singular generosity of spirit, with such dogged consistency, that the light bouncing off their halos is said to be able to guide lost ships at sea.

6) Meri Aawaz Suno (The Sin of Desperate Attention Seeking and Posting Too Frequently)

There’s no way escaping from this transgression on your timeline, because it’s in your face, every day, in every way. Whereas conventional wisdom caps it at posting once or twice daily on FB, half a dozen posts before lunchtime, is routine for this compulsive attention seeker, because of course, as everyone knows, you can’t have too much of a good thing.

7) Thappad (The Sin of Virulent, Overt Hatred)

This one needs no explanation; you just have to look out for the grammar (non-existent), vocabulary (ditto) and punctuation (way too many exclamation marks and mostly every word in ALL CAPS) which accompany this truckload of freshly minted manure. Leading to the question: What is the co-relation between poor communication skills and a proclivity to verbal violence? Because apart from inferior grammar, puerile name calling and low-grade insults, these posts offer little, by way of wit or acuity.

So, there you have it, gentle reader — The Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media. Which ones are you guilty of?

Or in other words, among the seven, Hum Aapke Hain Koun..?

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