ARE WE BLOGGING ON POLITICS OR BOTCHING UP OPPORTUNITIES?
Politics and politicians may have huge butts for jokes, but we - the citizen observers and commentators - especially in India - may be growing ours even bigger too. Even as awareness levels explode courtesy social media, political debates too keep breaching sound barriers. It's a happy scene, though, for a young democracy that's an old hat at politics. In the land of Chanakya, Political debates often appear beating porn at popularity.
But that's exactly where the problem also begins in India. While it's alright for porn to be both, pop, and poppy, in this business of democracy, however, political talk on social media can afford to be neither. There's more sense and sanity demanded of citizens when they talk politics, than what we expect from politicians when they do politics. Loose talk leads to choosing losers as our leaders. And making strong leaders, lose. The fact is: politics is harder than hard porn, and you cannot talk about it over XXX....errr... Rum.:):)
At times, I feel stunned at the sheer brilliance of some posts, sometimes, I smile at the lateral jabs and puns I read. And sometimes, I feel disgusted at the comments of people who I thought had it in them to analyse well, and also the spunk to call a spade a spade - instead of re-posting biased trolls sourced from shady publications.
In the last three years on Facebook, I've fretted on, enjoyed, applauded, shared and learned from the political flotsam on social media, and have always been tempted to build some classification of netizens on their political behavior. Here's my first shot at this. Indeed, since I am serious, I am not too charitable or generous here on my friends or relatives, and it's entirely possible that quite a few of us reading this may feel a rush of blood and the collars burning at times.
And that's my humble objective, as well.
Citizen political commentators on social media can be classed into five distinct species - all usually cross with each other, but some really irritable, and entirely avoidable the good, happy world, and the rest, God bless them for just being there to like and upvote! Here's the run down on my FIVE categories:
The Innocuous Spectators: They are largely non-partisan; they post what has entertainment value or is shocking; and generally never bicker, bitch, argue. They are incoherent, have a hatred for original writing and their quaint sense of political humor, if they try at all, almost always works. Their posts fetch likes of their friends, and no enemies, but you can almost also feel the coldness in the likes. Beware, they hide a certain capacity to bug you at times with their strange-reading, baseless skeptical comments. They dread the Ringside Politicians (the next category below) for their cold wit and hot logic.
The Ringside Politicians: They are largely non-partisan; but do often display leanings to parties or leaders who seem to be logical; they are addicted to the art and science of Politics; analyze ruthlessly, argue, debate cross swords... punch holes; can be safely trusted for accuracy of their posts; often write as if they know everything; research well; history is their favorite subject; and they are completely in-the-face, entirely open to the public. They usually get more comments than likes; their posts become more threads of discussions than magnets of likes.
The Ringsiders can barge into alien social groups, and threads if it matters to them. They are often perceived as show-offs or intellectual bullies by the Morose and the Stuck Clocks (below), and to some extent, by the others too. They will make an occasional enemy or two, but largely, have a silent following. Eminently capable of locking horns with everybody else; but they usually stay away from the Official Trolls and the Spectators - unless there's a post from a friend who's either of these, and a comment becomes a courtesy.
The Morose: They almost never do political posts on their own - and if they do, it will be on a tragedy or on a Minister found dead in a whorehouse. They largely comment to crib - on posts that spell hope or clap on a great shot. They're skeptics and idealists - mashed up big time to irritable extents. They write as if the world will end in the next few minutes; humankind is doomed to fail; nothing will work; men will eat men; policies will crush people... they invite one-word comments like 'true'... at times, likes too - and both, usually by the Innocuous Spectators. They are wannabe Devil's Advocates, who'll never make an impact on the jury. They are never designed for debates. They tango very well with Innocuous Spectators.
The Official Trolls: They bend and contort facts; invent farce, lie compulsively, and are very easy to make out. They deal usually in memes with their party's boss' pic embossed and carrying an idolatry message, or with their opponents' pics with a half truth that suits them full. These memes are churned out by their party's official half-truth factory, where you can almost hear facts, figures and objectivity groaning under the onslaught of troll writers overworking like child labor. Most of average netizens don't know trolls by name, and gradually, there's a general outcry building up against them - thankfully. Trolls get their oxygen from the Stuck Clocks (below).
The Stuck Clocks: They can turn out to be the worst of the tickers of them all. They can really suck the wits out of you. They are blatantly partisan - but always hide their choice - and often suffer bouts of selective amnesia and morose skepticism when pushed to the wall by the Ringsiders. They are secretly faithful to the Official Trolls, of the party they side, and only stop short of posting MEMES of their favorite party's boss.
They repost and retweet troll messages, are selectively outraged, they bend and contort facts; invent farce, lie compulsively, and - yet can try and slither away like scared serpants if you question on their logic or stance. They also deal usually in gross messages, or tweets from blatantly partisan journos, shady newspapers and incoherent, angry three-four liners from like-minded Stuck Clocks.
The bad news is that many of us aren't exactly the Ringside Politicians - the category that should swell up, if India is to grow out of its stupor and convoluted sense of history. The good news is that there's still time, and that, each one of us has flitted across each of these five categories during our life on social media.
The moot point is: which of these do we want to eventually belong to.