While in the midst of a worsening pandemic in India I am seeing the worst side and the best side of social media.
In our school alumni group I found there is very strong polarisation for and against political points of views.
This is true globally we saw the same recently in the US . We see different flavours of the same across the world.
The problem gets bad when positions are so strongly held that each is not able to see the other side of the story that the situation reaches a breaking point in long relationships.
And it gets worse with manufactured truth to fit ones world view . The fallout is violence as we saw at the Capitol Hill , it could sow distrust in communities and groups with opposing view points.
Every hour the trends on Twitter change based on the two view points , further adding to bitterness and division.
The hate created is so deep that it has forced platforms to ban certain handles from using their platforms for good.
Is social media responsible for dividing our world?
I remember a time in our early childhood when there was no social media there was lesser polarisation , friendships were not so bitter.
Then again I have not seen any better example of how social media is being used in the worst time during the current pandemic where ordinary people are seeking help and are getting helped by strangers .
Twitter , WhatsApp, Facebook have become a way to reach out and ask for help real time , people who need oxygen or a bed in a hospital or medicines turn to social media.
And they get helped by complete strangers !
Few celebrities have leveraged their social presence to amplify the message of those in need.
Many are using social media to raise funds for oxygen cylinders and concentrator. So many lives have been saved because of social media.
Social media is a double edged sword on the one hand it can divide us as a society on the other hand it can unite the world for good.
Unfortunately politics plays a role , fake news can be easily spread to divide for motives. Those on the edge can be converted with constant visual content.
Interestingly platform algorithms show you more of what you want to see . That is how AI and ML gets smarter. The ultimate objective is to hook you to the platform , to get you spend more time on the platform.
How can we stop hate being spread through social media platforms ? Is there a way out ?
Has social media become a Frankenstein monster that is now difficult to control?
There are no easy answers , there are powerful vested interests.
I would yet say there is enough good about social media which is why it needs to exist . It brings people together, it connects people and hearts .
It is the one thing that has kept us sane in prolonged periods of lockdown.
It is for us the users of social media to keep the balance on the side of good , on the side of humanity and guard against hate and spread love and compassion.