Outrage on Social Media – a Magicians Trick!

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“What could be cons & pros in the future with the way Indians are showing outrage on every topic or event?”, I was asked to which I responded:  

There are NO pros that come to mind. None at all.

Why? Well, outrage is ephemeral and dies out at the emergence of the next thing to outrage about; always around the corner. Nothing changes because of a trending topic on Twitter.

Few, if any, of those outraging ever DO something about the issue. For instance, you are outraged that someone called India a poor country? Then, what are you going to do to reduce poverty?

Cons though, are many. The most trite ones:

  1. Waste of time by all concerned.
  2. Some idiots are incited to violence.
  3. Media starts thinking that this is what journalism is all about.

The REAL con is that we, citizens, get distracted by the wrong / insubstantial issues. Today the critical issues in India is not that someone is calling the country poor or some celebrity complained about loud speakers on mosques. The critical issues are

  1. a significant section of the country feels unattached and unconnected to the rest of the peoples.
  2. government is intruding into our daily lives and decisions.
  3. the environment is being abused and we are leaving a poorer land for our children.

But few, if any, are speaking about this. Because they are distracted by ‘outrage’ issues. This works perfectly well for those in power. I am reminded of what Thomas Pynchon, the American novelist once said “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”

Promoting outrage on social media is a magician’s (politician’s) trick. Best if we not fall for it.

Makarand