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Views & Reviews

Infodemic and Social Media

By EMN Updated: Jun 09, 2020 9:00 pm

As the world is combating the Covid-19 pandemics indefatigably, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognises another pandemic called “infodemic.” Infodemic is a portmanteau word of “information” and “pandemic,” usually described as “a surfeit of information about a problem that is viewed as being a detriment to its solution.” To check fake news, misinformation and rumours in the information, communication and entertainment (ICE) age, is to cut the Gordian knot.

Rumour mill is churning

Nagaland, a corner in India, has become one of the infodemic hotspots. The social media platforms have been swarming with fake news, misinformation and rumours- cybernauts were in confusion. With uncertainty looms large, people started buying hearsay. Misleading videos, images and information about the coronavirus, inmates of quarantines and whatnot, went viral. Some of those fake news were destructive for an ism-stricken Naga society. In certain instances, Dimapur Police swung into action and brought the rumour-mongers and scaremongers to book. Excellent job.

Arguably, one of the most popular viral videos that attract huge Naga You Tubers is an individual, who lambastes the government of Nagaland for allegedly committing corruption during the pandemic. Artfully, he picks Nagamese dialect, the lingua franca of the Naga people, as the medium to convey his messages. Ostensibly, in the name of weeding out government corruption, he committed ad hominem attack on the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary of Nagaland. Many would-be internet crusaders quickly affiliate to the man, who has probably a saviour syndrome. Bloggers’ opinions were willy-nilly left divided on this issue.

However, at this juncture, a sensible person should be thorough and, allow the rational faculty to conscientiously determine the merits of information available on the internet superhighway rather than allowing one’s emotion to run high.

Social Media buffs

For a Naga, the term “social media” is not rocket science. Its proliferation- from Twitter to Facebook to Whatsapp to Instagram- pose a risk. As social media websites are in mobile devices such as smartphone, which is no more a thing of luxury, its networking activity has taken over almost everyday life for a lot of people.

Advantageously, social media gives news and information quickly, connect people and imparts education effortlessly. But with a touch of a finger, effortlessly a user can make or unmake, create or destroy, social environments. Today, the majority of social activity does not even involve giving important news or information.

Haters and trolls take centre stage in social media. They are very similar but, there is a subtle difference between the two. A hater is just like the word says, a person who hates. They usually post offensive comments. They write comments like, “you are stupid,” “you are ugly,” “I hate you,” or “this and that.” To ignore them is to stop them.

Worse and the most dangerous for cybercitizens is the troll. In the internet slang, a troll is a person who with an ulterior motive upsets people by posting inflammatory or off-topic messages in an online community.  Social media trolling provoke someone’s emotional reactions; they annoy and irritate people to flare up online war. The golden rule to deal with it is to ignore them.

Man bites a dog

“When a dog bites a man that is not news because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news.” In journalism, the phrase “man bites a dog” describes how unusual, infrequent or rare events are more likely to be reported as news. Often “man bites a dog” scenarios occur in social media, which go viral in no time.

Burning question

All kinds of misinformation and theories have been flying around the internet. But how much of it is backed by evidence? Remember, alert social media users do fact-check, verify, think and reflect before they share anything on the internet. Misusing of social media would kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.


By EMN Updated: Jun 09, 2020 9:00:00 pm