For the many thoughts that come and go unannounced and the ones which refuse to budge out of my head…

Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

A ‘Clip’ on a Journalist’s ‘Shoulder’

“Uttarakhand: Rain, floods and landslides hit rescue operations, thousands still stranded”, read the headline in a popular go-to-for-everything website, I have trusted all along my academic life.

Little did I know that the devastation of the floods and the heart breaking visuals of falling buildings and faces of the miserable trapped and desperate faces would soon give way to something I wasn’t really expecting. Another one of those viral-yet-comical, brave-yet-insensitive amusing little guilty pleasures we all crave for came in a time like this.

This morning, Youtube, the boiling pot for all the good, the bad, and the funny on the Internet gave me just what I needed- a dismissal of almost everything that I learnt in undergrad level Journalism. If not everything, well at least this was a clear dismissal of lessons in Journalistic Ethics-101.

Click to watch video

Click to watch video

Recent Internet sensation, Narayan Pargaien, is a man of high stature. Well, at least that’s what he apparently likes to portray. The video of his report on the Uttarakhand flood is now viral on the Internet, not because he did a remarkable job of it, rather because he did what most politicians and self-righteous moral police would kill to achieve- deviating from the main issue.

Not only was his report a wee bit of an exaggeration, it was also a wee bit distracting, and a wee bit annoying, and a wee bit comical, okay fine, it was certainly more than just a wee bit comical. What do you expect out of a flood report video, which is high on ‘video’ but has little or no ‘flood’. And ‘reporting’? Now that’s just asking for too much. If you haven’t seen it yet, the video is of reporter Narayan Pargaien, doing his job (which as much as I’d like to disagree, is ‘reporting’), atop the shoulder of a man, presumably a flood victim in Uttarakhand. The flood and victims, government support and rescue operations are just the few things he said that most people who’ve seen the video just once have conveniently overlooked. Because well, you cannot blame the man on the shoulder to not get through to you, he tried his best on his part… It is all your fault you person with a short attention span!

Okay now I sense too much bashing happening here. Let’s cut him some slack and give the poor man the benefit of doubt (I was talking about the man who’s carrying him, who did you think? I said poor).

Anyway, so why do you think the man resorted to what the Internet has termed as ‘inhuman journalism’? Who knows? Maybe Mr. Pargaien was ahead of our time or a literary genius for all you know, metaphorically depicting the ‘burden on the shoulder’ of the man via journo… ahem… floods, yes floods, that took away everything from him. Poetic isn’t he? Or maybe it was just humour he (unintentionally I suppose?) wanted us all to see in a situation where that is the last thing one can offer. Well, whatever floats your boat Mr. Pargaien, or rather, whatever ensures you float.

Now, time to cut Mr. Pargaien some slack, after all everyone does not have the luxury of a Yellow Submarine, like the Beatles. The man did do whatever he could to save himself from the still unpredictable flood. Of course, it would’ve been an ounce better if our shoulder man could’ve also saved Mr. Pargaien from the flood of Internet commenters. But you can’t have everything you know.

All said and done, we are still in a deep, dark, dingy place where the country’s media is concerned. There is still an enormous amount of growing up that the media needs to do. And when it comes to a tiny droplet of a mishap like this one, the Internet will make sure the ghost of your mistakes shadow you forever.

I just hope that journalism one day becomes what it’s supposed to (wishful thinking, I know). Fair, and free, and ethical and all that jazz.


Anti-Social Networking

Humans have rightfully self-proclaimed themselves into being ‘social-animals’. And in the time where we all are today, the concept has been taken to an all new level in cyberspace. Voila! Make way for the phenomenal social networking sites.

The day I opened an account on facebook, I had a few things in mind about what I wanted from it. It was about four years ago, when I was naive, and thought that social networking was a great way to keep in touch with ‘friends’.

In hindsight, when I look back to that time, I am completely disillusioned about the whole point of it. I stepped into it to keep in touch with friends- my real friends. Not some creep who’s new in the city and wants to do ‘fraandship’ with me.

We’ve come a long way since the trend started. And sadly, it is now in its lowest phase. As much as many of you would disagree, it is the concealed truth. And here’s how.

First of all, there is just too much information out there in the open. There is nothing sacred or personal about an individual any more. It’s almost as if one does things in one’s day-to-day lives just so that they can go back and update their status about it. I mean seriously, would I really care about a status update which says, ‘I’m bored.’ Or one which says ‘I’m feeling so cold.’? A word of advice, if you’re so bored, then get off facebook and do something worthwhile with your life, and if you’re feeling so cold, go wear a jacket for God’s sake, stop trying to act ‘cool’! People put up the most worthless statuses on facebook. Seriously, if you’re so keen on recording your thoughts and bodily functions, then go get a diary for heaven’s sake! And save me the horror of seeing your utterly futile effort to seek attention, not to mention comments.

And even more insignificant then their statuses are the utterly nonsensical pages/groups people join. Okay do I really need to advertise if I like waking up in the morning and checking my phone? And are you competing with someone on how many pages you join which say ‘I love to sleep’? At this rate there will be a day, when people would make pages saying ‘I like the way the microbe on my body hair gets confused when it’s bleached!’ Honestly, we’re heading towards it.

Of course there are those random statuses and pages we all hate because it momentarily destroys our mental stability. But there is one more thing social networking sites destroy. It’s the special feeling of closeness one shares with a friend or a few friends which gets completely demolished when it comes to the virtual world. Facebok limits your friend list to contain 5000 friends, but in reality, you’d be lucky enough to gather up even five. And frankly it’s not even helping you make new, real friends (read: fraands).

What I’m trying to say here is that if I want a few special friends of mine to keep in touch with me I will do anything in my might to do so. I would not need a virtual catalyst to do it for me. And I would feel so much more special if people actually remembered my birthday and wished me, opposed to just being reminded of it by a virtual calendar, not to mention being reminded to even keep in touch with someone.

Social networking has made figurative puppets out of all of us. Ironic isn’t it? It was supposed to aid a social life. But in reality, all it’s doing is obliterating it. Having put it in perspective, there is nothing you can do on a social networking site which you cannot in real life (except of course, turning your friend into a vampire or throwing a dinosaur at them).

Come to think of it. What is the point of social networking sites after all? I would leave you to think about that while I go and deactivate my facebook account.