The media is a vast place where whether it is a funny video, a controversial statement, or a shocking news story, the viral nature of social media platforms amplifies the spread of information, often with unintended consequences. While viral content can sometimes entertain and inform, it also has some harmful effects associated with the rampant spread of such content.
The media has helped spread awareness, amplify creativity, community building, and recognition. The “pawri ho rahi hay” girl, Dana Neer, rose from a content creator to actor, model, and influencer. Similarly the “chai wala” gained popularity amongst the mainstream media viewers and became a model within a couple of days. This way, media improves lives by providing recognition to otherwise underrepresented groups/ individuals.
Media also comes with the negativity of misinformation, clickbait culture, online harassment and cyberbullying. We have all heard the phrases; “kaampien taang rahi hain” and “bik gayi hai gormint”. Everything goes viral, be it a slip of the tongue or talking impulsively, from a politician or a random citizen. The harmful effects of media spread like wildfire. The woman who gave an anti-establishment interview got bullied for her remarks and became “meme content” in 2016.
During a follow-up interview with Samaa TV , the woman’s son informed that after her video went viral, their social life was ruined, it became difficult to find matches for his sisters, and even lead to the creation of safety issues for the woman.
Similarly many incidents have occurred where the interviewee has been bullied on social media platforms for their unfiltered comments/opinions/beliefs.
It is important to recognize the dual nature of viral content on social media, understanding its potential to inform, inspire, and connect, while also being cautious about the negative consequences it can have on individuals and society. Responsible journalism, closely monitoring media content before making it public is necessary for that matter.