(Left) Varun Dhawan’s deleted post, which he took off saying it was ill-timed due to the Covid crisis; (Right) A controversial post by beauty influencer Priyam Joshi, requesting people to not post about Covid resources on Instagram
(Left) Varun Dhawan’s deleted post, which he took off saying it was ill-timed due to the Covid crisis; (Right) A controversial post by beauty influencer Priyam Joshi, requesting people to not post about Covid resources on Instagram

HT Brunch Sunday Debate: To post or not to post?

That’s the question creators are asking themselves as social media handles turn into Covid SOS helplines
By Rasna Bhasin and Preiti Bhamra
PUBLISHED ON MAY 02, 2021 07:31 AM IST

“Do I need to show a new dress when people are dying?”

By Rasna Bhasin

According to Rasna, if influencers have so much power that they can make people buy things, then they can make them save a life too
According to Rasna, if influencers have so much power that they can make people buy things, then they can make them save a life too

I put up a post announcing suspension of brand posts as I had someone who kept asking to do an unboxing story. I said I can’t when the country is on fire! Do I really need to show people a new dress when out of 90k followers, so many are dying or running around trying to arrange their own oxygen cylinders?

I had taken down a couple of posts last year as well during the lockdown. At that point we hadn’t seen Covid in our circles. But this year, all the money and connections in the world can’t help.

As someone with influence, I can urge people to donate plasma and save a life. We say, as influencers we have so much power that we can make people buy things, then why can’t we make them save a life?

My Instagram page is now a Covid SOS helpline. I started out with three other people and now we are a team of 14 people on WhatsApp, who are verifying and amplifying leads.

To those still releasing dance Reels, it’s great if it makes you happy, but Covid is affecting all of us. And anyone could be next. I have full respect for the content you create because it takes effort but a make-up trick will not help if there’s no oxygen. It’s time to step up because our system has collapsed. But if we are in this together, we will survive.

Rasna Bhasin, 28, is a brand consultant and content creator

“For some people, beauty and skincare can be therapy for anxiety”

By Preiti Bhamra

Preiti says platforms like Instagram are places for entertainment and information
Preiti says platforms like Instagram are places for entertainment and information

Platforms like Instagram are places for entertainment and information. Some opine that unless it’s comedy content, it’s not entertainment but that’s just patronising someone’s else’s work. Fashion content can also be an escape.

Usually, my feed is review-heavy, but I’ve now made it more fun and DIY. I asked myself, “Should I even do this?” Then I realised that for some people, beauty and skincare is therapy for anxiety - just like it is for me. Like a positive escape.

I put out a poll on my Instagram story asking followers whether they still want me to put up skincare and beauty posts. And 80 per cent asked me to continue, saying that they browse my feed for distraction and entertainment. At the end of the day, people want to be distracted, even if it’s for a bit, given what’s going on.

I’m not saying that things are great in India. The Covid situation is bad and I have been posting about help needed for oxygen cylinders, beds, medicines etc.

Brands have stopped from pushing products and promotions via us. But everybody has their own jobs and as a creator it’s also my job to talk about veganism, sustainability and beauty. We have deadlines and payment cycles. You can’t take a break and say, ‘mood nahi hai’. Work goes on.

In today’s day and age, where will you go for entertainment if not online? So, let’s just be kind to everyone and not be judgmental.

Preiti Bhamra, 28, is a content creator who focuses on beauty, veganism and sustainability

From HT Brunch, May 2, 2021

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