If you don’t care about the Starks and Lannisters and if you cannot be bothered which country is going to run away with the World Cup, you might as well not exist online

A decade and a half ago, if you did not watch Kaun Banega Crorepati, WWE, all those trashy Hollywood and Bollywood action flicks and did not follow cricket, you were deemed a social outcaste of sorts, often unable to follow what your friends and family are talking about when they discuss Tendulkar’s superb cover drive or Kane’s effective chock slam. Times may have changed, but this phenomenon remains the same. Many netizens are feeling quite out of it with the football World Cup and the popular Game of Thrones series carpet bombing discussions on social media sites.

For graduate student Prajakta Joshi, Twitter and Facebook have become unrecognisable in the last few months. “In the first half of the year, it was the elections and random name calling that followed the polls that dominated the discourse on the Internet. It has since been replaced by discussions and analysis of the Game of Thrones and the World Cup. I am not a football fan and have not watched the series or read George R. R. Martin’s books that Game of Thrones is based on. I find it rather disturbing that the ongoing conflict in Iraq and Syria gets lesser mentions and discussions on twitter than a failed attempt by Rooney to score a goal in the World Cup”

She adds, “I was a fan of twitter for the multiple issues that were discussed, the different point of views one encountered and music, movie and book recommendations by like minded people. This has undergone a change in the past few months. The only discussions now revolve either around the elections or the World Cup, with an overwhelming analysis on Game of Thrones episodes, especially on Monday mornings. I am not against football or TV series, but the fact that serious discussions seldom happen outside these issues does bother me.”

Her concerns are shared by Prashant Jain, another social media enthusiast. “A supposed rape scene in a fictional series (GOT) got the attention of more people, resulted in a flurry of analytical pieces about the need for such a scene, about the implications on gender relations on TV and so on. I despise my social media streams cluttered by things that are not even real.”

Prashant is also against turncoats, who suddenly develop an interest in football and GOT in an attempt to appear cool and high up on the popular culture sweepstakes. “One of my followers on Twitter went ballistic on the net and claimed that China would do really well at the Cup, little realising that the Chinese never qualified for the cup. The number of people supporting Real Madrid and Manchester United to win the cup is also very high. I find it hypocritical to talk absolute nonsense just because you want to appear cool to your followers on the net.”

He adds, “Game of Thrones has tons of analysis pieces and scene by scene dissection of the episodes. Most of it is unnecessary and pointless. Such discussions go against the general thread of multiple issues on the social media. For example, how can someone talk about a new documentary movie that deals with serious issues, when everyone on the net is only concerned about why Spain lost badly to Netherlands or how would Tyrion Lanister make his escape? Widgets dealing with the World Cup make my Google and Facebook feeds cluttered with football scores. It comes in the way of getting information.”

Sushil Kumar, a psychologist contends, “I think people will always make an effort to appear knowledgeable about things that are discussed in their peer group. As far as the surfeit of information about FIFA or popular TV series is concerned, it is to do with the fact that people now interact with each other electronically than in person. The creation of small private groups within the sites has also contributed to this situation.”