My mom uses the Internet fairly well. For someone her age, I’m glad to see her use is very productive. She reads write ups by young people very regularly. She tells me that she does it to understand “how our youth today thinks”. What she reads makes her happy. But sometimes, it leaves a bad taste in her mouth. “Kabhi kabhar khamoshi bhi zaroori hoti hai”, she says.
You see, my mom belonged to a generation that knew when to share an opinion and when to withhold it. You may argue that it was a different age because they didn’t have internet, or they weren’t allowed to be as expressive. Your arguments will all be valid. But then again, the generation I talk about knew the art of mindful expression.
The Internet has made it very easy for us to be expressive. Look at me, an introvert in real life, typing away at the speed of light here. You probably thought I was as expressive otherwise but I’m not. Hiding behind my screen, I have found comfort in talking about anything and everything. I can take up social causes without having to stand with a bunch of people on a roadside, holding placards and chanting slogans. The anonymity has given me the confidence to voice my opinions very freely. The same anonymity has given me the option to quit my cause, change sides, or simply leave very easily too. Communication is very easy today. In fact, the social media giants build on the idea that they have made it possible for communities to come forward, where everyone is given the power to express themselves.
Verbal diarrhea is a real phenomenon.
For us bloggers, we take this a bit too seriously. Deciding the topic of your next blog post is as difficult a task as deciding “aaj kya pakaayen” every single day. While some days your kitchen tells a majestic story of your culinary skills, other days you make do with whatever you have in the fridge, and make helpless attempts at cooking something decent.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of you, but not every opinion is worth giving our opinion on. Not every opinion needs to be aired.
I find that there is so much noise on social media that it has drowned out many sane voices. Social media thrives on sensationalism. Posts that create stir get more engagement. The easiest way to create a stir is to create controversy, do or write something outrageous, or give a new (often not very helpful) perspective to something. To read more on how social media promotes such posts, read my blog The Dark Side Of Social Media.
Bloggers, are you writing about every topic under sight just to climb up on trending hashtags? If that’s the case, where’s your opinion in the real sense? There are more and more magazine style blogs which offer safety to bloggers who can’t stick to one thing. Granted, today it’s all about being able to talk about what’s new and in the now. But why compromise the density and depth of your thought by talking about everything under the sun?
Have you heard of the phrase “choose your battles”? The opinions we decide to talk about are the battles we choose to fight. Is there a cause you want to back by speaking or writing about it? You can also choose to talk about a cause that you are more knowledgeable about. Why add white noise to the Internet by talking about a subject you don’t comprehend fully?
As a blogger, I’d like to stay true to myself by voicing my opinion when I feel it will have a positive impact, way more than just numbers and engagements. Staying true to my influence also means I stay true to my audience. Talking with authenticity, authority and mindfulness is a constant analysis that needs to be made.