Last week, my photographer friend had posted a picture of a train on Instagram and asked a question “Are train journeys passe now? What are your views?” I loved the picture, so I clicked the like button and shared my thoughts. My friend is an Instagram celebrity with more than 20k followers. Little did I realize that I had made the biggest mistake of my life by commenting. Because I liked and commented on the thread, I got a notification on my mobile every time some random person liked or commented on the photo. XYZ says “great click” ABC – “awesome click” JFK -” well done chick” SRK – “screw you witch” The list was endless. The sheer volume of her fan base meant that every picture of hers gets at least 6k likes and 1k comments. I got notified on my mobile 1347 times in the next week for a single comment. Why did I have to go through this torture?
As it is, there are a zillion notifications I get on FB. When someone posts a pic of a marriage, child birth, vacation etc I try hard to resist my temptation not to comment on the pic. In case the pic has gone viral, the same story repeats. FB is worse than Insta. Every comment by everyone is also sent as an email notification. Which means daily I get about 690 notification emails only for FB. Waah Zuckerberg waah. Hume aur koi kaam dhandha nahi hai na. First these emails, then the credit card emails, then the “Hey Hari, this is Trisha…Will you marry me” emails, then the Amazon Flipkart “Great Indian Slapping Festival emails “. It’s literally a slap on my face as the sale happens every month. What’s so great and what’s so Indian about these monthly Big Billion Days? A Billion get fooled every month. The price is marked up. We think we are getting 60% discount and buy up stuff every month. Even if you unsubscribe, these Big Billion days continue to stalk you.
The misery doesn’t end here. The God of small things, Twitter is next. I have posted my last tweet 4 years ago, when I joined Twitter “#HelloWorld”. That was enough. Every day, I get an email “Hari, we are missing you on Twitter” Same here – I miss you my love. Without you, my life is empty Twittu. Sometimes, there’s an active-passive voice innovation “Hari, you are missing us on Twitter”. I continued to ignore until one day Twitter really spiked my curiosity and sent an email “Hey Hari, here’s what people are saying about #Raga”. The first time, Raga was trolled on Twitter, it was funny. But now, even this has become irritatingly predictable as he always ends up becoming a joke. Nowadays, its “Hey Hari, you are missing #Chowkidaar, #Hawaldaar, #Wafaadar, #Arey-O-Sardar.” Why do I have to be sent emails on every hashtag? Unlike FB or Insta, where notifications are sent in the threads you have commented, Twitter is a free for all whorehouse. Irrespective of whether you have a Twitter account or not, you keep getting notifications. The challenge with all this daily spam is that the genuinely important mails get missed. Thankfully, my FB has been linked to my old yahoo account therefore all my FB activity emails go there and I don’t use that email anymore. Else, add another 250 emails per day.
I wish there was a campaign “#me-chu” in protest of all this social media spam. Everyone who has been a chu and become a victim of this should just tag #me-chu. I want to garner 1 billion online petitions and send it to Zuckerberg and Twitterberg to do something about this online harassment. Ban gaye pagle. Rula bhi diya. Abh bacha kya Ghanta!!
The harassment goes to a different level on Instagram. I keep posting inspirational quotes daily on my Insta handle. Daily a few random unknown people follow me. From about 120 followers, my fan base went to about 250 followers in about 60 days. I was happy. I started following back many of these random folks as a token of gratitude. After 30 days, I suddenly realize that my followers have gone down to 220. Then, I got to know the latest Insta-con game “First they follow you, You follow them back, Then they unfollow you, Aur Tum ban gaye chu.. “ I have sent nasty messages like “Thanks for the follow. Bigger thanks for the unfollow. Balls to you” to a few of them. I wish Insta published a notification every time somebody unfollowed us.
The last type of online harassment is the random discussions on politics and cricket controversies. Friends go to the extent of beating each other trying to take sides for Namo and Raga, Ashwin and Butler, Kejriwal and Didi-bawaal. Why get animated on social media? The best part is none of these opinions are going to make an iota of impact on the concerned individuals. People think they are change agents by doing this. Chillar hai nahi jeb mey, change agent banne chale. Bas karo yaar.
Whatsapp is the icing on the cake. Thanks to Whatsapp group birthday wishes, a birthday wish has become a formality. “Happy birthday bro raised to the power of 257. Thanks all for your bland wishes” Something personal and treasured like a Birthday, has been realized to a message. Once, my colleague in office was wished Happy Birthday by about 50 people in the office Whatsapp group. Poor guy in the afternoon sent a message in the same group “Folks it’s not my birthday. Its my 3 year work anniversary”. I thought people would be sane enough and stop wishing him. In the evening, one joker who I guess was too lazy to read the barrage of messages typed “Happy birthday mate”. Twenty jokers again followed. Hum nahi sudhrenge!!
If there’s any one on the tech or marketing side in these social media organizations, below is my humble and sincere request to them
“Aey mere Zuckerberg ki aulaat
Laga dimag technology ke saath
Irritating features sey mat badha spam
Action nahi logey to hoga social traffic jam
Feature banana koi badhi baat nahi
Users sey feedback lena toh sahi
Aur karna bandh sabki dimaag ka dahi
Sun ley mere dil ki baat
Bandh kar harassment mere saath
Aey mere Zuckerberg ki aulaat
Aey mere Zuckerberg ki aulaat”