Sun, 19 Jan 2014 09:45:00 GMT | By The Hindu Business Line

How much is too much on social media?

Love it or hate it, you can’t ignore social networking sites like Twitter; Sunanda Pushkar’s spat with a Pakistani journalist has once again put social media under scrutiny


How much is too much on social media? (© Getty Images)

New Delhi: The death of Sunanda Pushkar, 52, wife of Union HRD Minister Shashi Tharoor, and the public manner in which the marital controversies that embroiled the couple played out on social networking sites, have once again put social media under scrutiny.

Some time ago, actor Shah Rukh Khan reportedly quit Twitter on account of abusive comments but rejoined later. The Congress party, too, sought regulation of social media during the recent Assembly elections.

Love it or hate it, you can’t ignore it.

Film-maker and author Pritish Nandy, an avid Twitter user, feels it’s just another platform for communicating and for people to speak their minds. “Sometimes they over-react, are impolite and nasty; but that’s the way it is. It is a platform we share with someone like Sachin Tendulkar and Amitabh Bachchan and communicate with them directly.”

Nandy says Pushkar’s death and her tragic tweets show how closely Twitter touches our lives today.

Some social media users say the medium becomes as intrusive as one wants it to be. After all, the choice of how much to reveal rests with an individual.

Film-maker Mahesh Bhatt, however, feels the social media scene is spinning out of control and the existing law is incapable of dealing with this “very modern form of incitement”. “Social media encourages cowards and haters to spout the most ugly things that they would never dare to say in real life to people face to face. Social media has become a battleground,” he tweeted on Saturday.

But there is another side to it. Image guru Dilip Cherian believes that all depends on a society’s ability to adjust and absorb new media. “There are various phases of media, like when cameras were first invented, they were considered intrusive,” he says. Cherian points at the good that came out of social networks during the Nirbhaya gang-rape case, as people got an opportunity to express their outrage.

Cherian, who trains CEOs and politicians on having a social media presence, says he always asks them to remember that they may think they are narrowcasting while expressing views on Twitter or Facebook, but should remember that these are broadcasting mediums.

Delhi-based clinical psychologist Shalini John, however, warns that while these sites provide a platform to people to showcase their lives, some people try and project a so-called ‘perfect life’. “This is a fallacy, as it may be way too far from reality. Individuals need to be mindful that a projected image is nowhere near real life. It is also a place where there is little space for tolerance. So, sometimes even seemingly innocuous comments can have a lot of potential of impacting minds,” she said.

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