Social networking sites undoubtedly are the most just spaces on the Earth as they have indiscriminately provided us all platforms to voice our thoughts, unlike in the real space where society is predominantly hierarchical and continuously restrains new thoughts under its rigid structure. (From what I see in India and would be true of a lot of other places.) They have taken the world by a storm. And consequently they have also given rise to this phenomena, where, almost everyone now feels the compulsive need to voice their opinion at the earliest, about anything that is ‘trending’.
People feel a certain compulsion to let everyone else know they are following the current events, they are knowledgeable and have an opinion that they think needs to be put forward. Moreover, they want to be quick or so as to say ‘first among their friends’ to have posted in those regard. And in order to do so, they do not actually delve deep into the subject but skim through it and often through the take of writers on popular sites like BuzzFeed, Storypick, ScoopWhoop, etc. This often leaves their understanding of the issue half-baked. And a lot of times shadowed by the opinion of writers on these websites. Originality goes for a toss. And before you even know, the hullabaloo dies out and another topic takes them slave, and this goes on. And these people form the enormous bandwagon of pseudo-intellectuals.
And people who genuinely ponder over issues are less likely to be as active on social media. And so when they do turn to Facebook, they see their newsfeed flooded with similar posts (often having surface level content) that happened like a wildfire overnight or sometimes within a matter of hours. It pricks them, and quite a few conclude they don’t want to join the herd in its fad. The thinkers refrain from giving what would be a worthy outlook, and end up keeping their ideas to themselves.
Following the legalization of same-sex marriage in the Sates on June 26th, the world exclaimed in support with rainbow-filtering their photos on Facebook, and so did much active netizens of India. And gay marriage undoubtedly became the most talked about issue, pushing behind other topics of concern, namely women’s security, unjust beauty standards, government surveillance, and net neutrality among others, that created much stir in the past year or two.
It’s an alarming situation. While people distributed leaflets, published newsletters, organized awareness workshops, took to the streets and marched unafraid, voicing their demand or support as allies to groups to bring a revolution in yesteryears that led to constitutional changes; today it has reduced to laconic reposts and hashtags.