Are we really what we share and post about?

An Old lady, may be in her late 70s called me to visit her home as she needed some help. As per this old couple I am a master in computers. Oh! No I don’t repair their devices nor do I fix any technical issues. But whenever their internet does not work, or if some of their favourite applications does not open or has any issues I am their saviour.

Today when I went to her home, she told me, “Jayshree!!! Plz help me buy this item, I need this, but they are asking for delivery charges which I think should be free.” I said Okay!!! Let me check, and she handed me her iPad. To my surprise, it was not Amazon, Flipkart or eBay from which she was trying to buy, but instead I saw an article about how to loose weight in 3-6 Months using some Tea. They have given some number only and the lady did call them and was worried about the delivery charges she has to pay. Later I tried to educate her about the online frauds and unhealthy ways of loosing weights going around. (Btw, She landed on that page after clicking on some advertisement while reading her horoscopes).

Why I shared this story? The above lady who has been introduced to the internet in her 70s, trying to learn technology and use it to connect to her kids staying abroad, buy things online which would get her a doorstep service, and watch TV serials on her iPad to pass time. She can be an easy target of any online frauds. She managed to learn how to use the device, how to look for her favourite songs and recipes, but she fails to recognise the RELIABILITY of the source of information online. But are only technically challenged people fail to check this reliability factor?

Internet helps people execute frauds, change identities, and spread whatever they want to within the fraction of time. Email users would know it better that how often they win a lottery, and how random people from the another corner of the world approach them to give out all their money. But we are smart enough to mark them spam and move on with our lives, because we know that these are not RELIABLE sources. We believe and use our COMMON sense. You will all say, what is new here? We are well aware of all these and we are not easy to get fooled, we don’t click unauthorised links, we don’t share passwords, We are smart just in case you don’t know.

Well, we are getting fooled everyday knowingly or unknowingly. Whenever we are passing anything without checking the reliability of the source and our common sense, we are being fooled!

Somebody forwarded us a message on WhatsApp or we saw a Facebook post that taking water daily with a pinch of soda and pepper would cure Diabetes, and now we will start seeing ourselves as the saviour of diabetic patients. Pass this information as soon as possible because how else they will get cured. After all what is wrong in pressing a share button as it costs just a click, and we are just trying to be helpful and make people aware here. Dude, Let’s first make ourselves aware, and stop curing diseases we don’t know about. We are not increasing a knowledge database. How would we feel if a person reading our post takes that advice seriously. What if they drag us to the court for this post and the harms that have been caused to their body? What if our friend’s device gets infected by clicking on the link we just forwarded to get a free recharge on our phone(Btw did we ever get that credits or the sneak peek of the latest version of the App as our post claimed???)

Social media has altered the ways we consume information. It is not all “what we see is what we get”. Take 5 different newspaper/news channels and compare the same information beings presented to you. If the sources of information themselves are biased, how would we expect to get the unbiased information? This why we have to scan for the Reliability and use our common sense. At one end we ridicule the superstitious acts and on the other we share others points of views without considering the outcomes. At one end we say all religions are same, but what we share, post online does not reflect the same. I personally know the people who would actually go to lengths to help out people of any religions but their online posts would not reflect the same. We have friends of other religions on our friend list or followers lists, but we do not think twice while posting any anti-religion posts.

Religions are just groups and not our identity. They are models and not the ultimate truth. Having faith in one should not stand us against the other. My dog does not know what breed he belongs to, and he is happy without it. We do not serve our clients and customers based on their religions. Do we ask anybody their religion when they come to our shop or clinic? Have we denied any business deal just because the person was from another religion? Dude, when we keep religions out of our business, why it’s a part of our social media campaign? Is it our part-time job?

Politics has misused the internet and social media to its extremes. Nowadays having political views are way dangerous than having any religious views. Since decades, Castes and religions were tools to politics, and there is nothing new here. But with internet, politicians have unlocked the key to divide and rule. Earlier we were divided over castes and religions only. Nowadays we often find each other fighting and laughing over political views, after all we don’t have anything else to talk about as that is what we are daily getting feed on. Have we ever took a second to think “who actually prepares such educational posts about political parties we are supporting? I am sure we ourselves are not that creative to make it ourselves, so how those funny posts about the other parties which we are not supporting gets in circulations. How posts and jokes about a particular tag is trending continuously? There are plenty of jobs in the political markets whose job descriptions is to create political contents and joke about the other parties. They would constantly feed us and brainwash such that our views would turn into beliefs. Dude Politicians are not Gods, they are fallible humans too, and that is why we have elections every 5 years. Stop being offended over political views and don’t infect others with your political views. I now understand why my Grandma never told me whom she had voted for after every election.

We can not control what is forwarded to us, but surely we can control what we forward to others. Kids even below 14 are using social media more than us, and they do read what we are sharing online. Are we teaching them to wear their religious and political views on their sleeves.

Do we really want to educate our kids about
– Which religion is bad over what our religion says?
– Which religious book should they vote for over what the book actually teaches us?
– Which political party will save our caste over what is good for humanity?
– How to cure diseases by sharing posts online or you really want them to become doctors?

Please, Don’t feed next generations with all these non-sense going around. Do not teach them how to misuse technology. If you are lazy and don’t want to check for the reliability of the source, then please be more lazy and do not press the share button. It would be a favour to the humankind. Spread positivity if you can. I know that does not sound exciting but that is what we need more. Do vote for whom you believe but do not infect others. Let them decide for themselves. Politicians will come and go but your relatives and friends will stay with you. So say hello to them and talk actually instead of educating them with non-sensical posts you actually don’t believe in or have evidences for.

As they say you are what you eat, on Internet “you are what you share/retweet about”.  Don’t say that your Share/Retweets are not endorsements. In today’s fast world a click can cost us so much.