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Rotten apples of vlogosphere

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Many vloggers use social media to express strong views, often in abusive language.

A wave of hypernationalism has struck India recently, and the reason for this cannot be completely political, social or cultural but technological too. With affordable 4G services, vlogging is on the rise.

Until the digital revolution in India, these chats about international relations, wars and conflict over land used to happen in graduate classrooms, public parks or office cafeterias. With the advent of smartphones, the discussions shifted to social media. Unlike olden times, one does not have to worry about the reach because there are millions in cyberspace looking for trending, provocative content.

I have my doubts about exactly what ratio of patriotism to self-promotion motivates vlogging. The content chosen includes harsh criticism of citizens or celebrities who are perceived to be pacifists or liberals.

Catchy abusive phrases take up a major portion of the content and the gestures indicating sarcasm, aggression and ridicule create enough drama to entertain viewers. Strong opinions by a speaker who has a way with the local dialect will connect immediately, but the same content, if said in a milder way in sophisticated language, might not have that impact. It would be hypocrisy not to admit that these videos draw our attention with content which is labelled abusive.

The number of views, comments, likes and subscriptions quantifies the reputation of a vlogger, and he or she should look for potential rival vloggers who can reciprocate and keep them going. A perk of being a hypernationalistic vlogger is getting the support of certain sections.

Keeping aside the views about whether this kind of vlog culture is good or bad to society, it’s sure that the lack of censorship of online content has unleashed a cacophony of online verbal extremism.

If the common emotion that binds all citizens of a nation is patriotism, there is a layer above it called humanity. When we turn a blind eye to the element of humanity, we narrow down our common emotions and start alienating others on the terms of nationality, religion and race.

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Printable version | Nov 22, 2019 8:32:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/rotten-apples-of-vlogosphere/article29418181.ece

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