The Dark Side Of Social Media


The Dark Side Of Social Media

Rifa Deka | August 31, 2019 14:07 hrs

Social Media does give us all a taste of “a few seconds of fame.” Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, any social media platform that you pick, you will find thousands of influencers creating different types of content, sharing stories, advocating for causes and endorsing brands.

Anybody can be an influencer today with a unique idea and the right “hash tags” to gain followers. It takes a lot of effort and dedication to build an audience to become successful, or one could simply post a picture of an egg on Instagram and start a hash tag trend to compete with a celebrity. Sometimes, that works too.  

Most social media influencers have no clue what they post about since they are rarely experts in the fields that they claim to be. However, it is how these social media influencers “influence” people that is important. The absence of a “blue tick” is not stopping anyone from claiming to be a “public figure.”

The massive reach however is very important to monitor. When social media influencers share or post something, the post gets thousands and millions of views. If what they share is incorrect then the damage is done, most people do not fact check before pouring their heart out on sensitive issues. 

There is always a bias behind every social media influencer’s posts and it is up to them how they use this bias and what issues they draw attention towards. Social media influencers have the power to raise issues silenced by governments and overlooked by mainstream, conventional media.

Growing exponentially, these influencers draw haters like moths to a flame. If the audience is happy, you mint money and if they’re not, you lose followers. It’s as risky and uncertain as the business world out there but with each passing day, we find more and more youngsters willing to quit their jobs and indulge in this new world of Influencer Marketing. 

Being a social media influencer may sound like fun till you have free goodies being dropped off at your postal address, but never will it come with a caution note for fragile hearts. Influencers draw tones of casual observers of which some into haters. Some famous celebrities have even jumped on to either disabling comments or filtering out comments from haters, which is one of Instagram’s new features. But why do they draw so much hate?

When an influencer becomes significant or untouchable in their field, a lot of individuals forget that the people operating these accounts are human too. Mostly, these haters are just random people on the internet, more worried about what’s cooking rather than going about with their daily jobs and using the social media platform as a leisurely form of entertainment. Sometimes, these haters are envious competitors trying to pull down the image of the one doing well.

“It’s a glitzy world out there! We have to pretend that everything in life is perfect and slowly the discomfort of putting out the bad parts creeps in, and that takes a toll, because we’re human too, we too have our highs and lows”, says Peri Brahma, a social media influencer from Guwahati.

On Privacy being affected, Peri shares that at some point in time, influencers stop being real. Displaying personal life online, she believes, has negative impacts on an individual. “When you share too much, judgements are bound to come in.”

Peri has been a social media influencer for two years now and endorses for some renowned brands. She takes a break once every few months to disconnect from the online world and live her life to the fullest. Logging off once a while has proved to be helpful for the regional star in the long run. She is a style icon followed by youngsters not only from around the city but from many other parts of the northeast. 

She also often shares her views on important social, cultural and environmental issues apart from her regular blogging and contributes to spreading environmental awareness whenever possible, setting an example for all our local social media influencers by starting small from where she is and what she has.

The gift of the glamorous and gawdy fame behind being a social media influencer comes wrapped in layers of challenges one must be willing to face, one must fight battles to shield oneself and others from the negativity while always focusing on the light at the end of the dark tunnel to become a true influencer.

(The author is a student of Royal School of Communications and Media, Royal Global University, Guwahati. Views expressed are personal.)

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