|Twitter revolution may be crap|
Stop, stop … conspiracy theory has its clientèle, but we are sick and tired of a pessimistic psychiatrist casting his morose shadow over the dawn of a new era. More or less this is how my dear friend Shruti will always react, shaking her pretty and formidably intelligent head vigorously when I start bursting hopeful bubbles of the social network revolution.
I repeat my observations about the so called twitter revolution in Iran. New York Times had dramatised it as a battle between bullets and tweets. Supporters of social networks and technology had raised their electronic hands in collaborated salute to the victory of democracy in the cyber world.
And yet, in a detailed study after the debris of immediate euphoria were removed, it is declared that no more than 60 active twitter accounts exist in Iran. This revelation by Al Jazeera has largely put to rest the romantic christening of the twitter revolution. Yet, more to my point is what followed in its wake.
With the endorsement of the American media – the cyber urban myth of twitter protests caught on. And when the State department requested Twitter to delay the scheduled maintenance fearing disconnection of rebellious tweets, the Iranian authorities decided to put an embargo on social networks. The FaceBook accounts of the ones entering the country were checked for possible anti-national leanings.
The social networks can as easily be used by an unscrupulous authority to achieve exactly the opposite of the freedom and democracy that many believe the Internet and technologies bless us with. Besides, as Evgeny Morozov points out in his pessimistic manifesto The Net Delusion, the publicised optimism of the west about the social networks make the authoritarian regimes more vigilant when it comes to information flow.
|Great Firewall of China|
I refuse to believe that the West is absolutely innocent in this regard. With the cyber snifferbots busy detecting dissident phrases, keywords and sensitive information, is no censorship, blocking and spying performed by the friendly neighbourhood organisations like CIA and NSA? Legions of stasis need not be deployed for big brother to watch you in the new world view, some programmed bots will do it efficiently. And thanks to the esoteric electronic world, there will be no file storage establishments to be converted into museums later on. The virtual world is heaven for mind controllers.
Apart from this, let us not forget a very basic premise. The Internet, at the end of the day, is a huge source of entertainment for many, social networking most frivolously so. A captivating source of distraction which also boosts our ego by providing the pseudo satisfaction of projecting us as limited but zealous political messiahs.
If all that it takes to satisfy our politically conscious gene is to share a wall post, we can turn to the next semi pornographic item number on you tube with a clear conscience. With all these television channels and delicious feeds awaiting us on social media, is there too much time left for the traditional news channel? I think not. Political consciousness is not being built by the individual today through general awareness ... it is being mass manufactured in the cyber world by tweets and wall posts.
And when constant entertainment in this form is available, very few individuals actually think of taking to the streets for issues which are close to their heart. As it is, a important issues of one moment are buried in the next through information overload. Just reflect at how quickly WikiLeaks has been relegated to the remote recesses of our psyche.
|The cross on the TV Tower|
History, in this sense, is being retold with technological amplifiers. The constant diversion, provided in the manner of the unpredictable roulette of red notifications and messages waiting, make addicts out of the majority – consuming the packets of data, clicking away in connected stupor. For authoritarian regimes, governments with vested interests, and the expanding imperialists, the opium of the people has been manufactured anew. Revolutions may not need suppression anymore – a well crafted and shared writing on the wall will do it admirably.
|Political Consciousness on Facebook|