F is for factless forwards
Years before, it was all about handwritten letters and posts. Ever since we could manage to pull off the trick of the internet, We keep losing the skills and techniques of writing letters to the loved ones till we reached the era of instant messaging apps. When it was just the start of the internet we invented an e-mail. Everyone was amazed and ready to try new technology. Soon it overtook the traditional postage system and entered the demon of forwards in the web. For sure demon must have entered in a disguise of pictures of cute babies, beautiful sceneries, amazing places around the globe, and what not. That little forward arrow on every email window kept pulling the recipients to click on it and forward the e-mail. Remember we used to get those random postcards in the name of gods or goddess, which one has to be sent to 108 people without breaking the chain? They had those “do this otherwise…..” curses and bad luck showers mentioned at the end. This demon in disguise didn’t need them. We readily forwarded the emails and spammed our friends and families.
Soon we witnessed the revolutionary development in our mobile phones and demon smiled cunningly. We, humans, are very enthusiast about keeping ourselves up to date. We promptly switched to smartphones ditching our old handsets. Now we could constantly be in touch with our friends, family, love and to the world. The invention of Facebook, Twitter and other social media had made us global citizen even if we are sitting in a small village in interiors of India. The demon had now equipped himself with video clips which everyone would love to laugh on and send across with their free wifi plans. Soon the demon realized that we just keep spreading the things which we receive and move on. He started to shed his disguise. Soon he took over the consciences of society and forwarding action became mechanical. We stopped thinking about what are we reading and watching. We started accepting what mass is saying.
We don’t bother to do simple fact-checks before forwarding. Just to give you an example, UNESCO has been awarding Indian national anthem as “best in the the world” every year since 5-6 years. As if every year, some 10-15 new nations came into existence, or we destroy a bunch of them from the map. and there are new anthems every year to have competition. I have lost the count for how many times, Earth had been hit by cosmic rays and NASA had issued warnings of keeping our cell phones off. Forwarding anything without thinking anything about fact-checks has become the trend. It’s really sad that such forwards have been accepted as news sources. Things are becoming frustrating. Forwards are spreading like haywire.
Demon soon started offering his services to anti-social elements or someone who just want to sit and have a fun watching the panic in people his roomer have spread. I am really saddened by the way we behaved in the time of recent social conflicts and riots in Nashik, Maharashtra. If some incident happened in one village, it used to get blown out of proportion and roomers were spreading in the entire district even before the incident got reported to the police. It’s sad that authorities have to shut down the internet connections in the district for almost a week.
We just can’t stop forwarding things. We really should have some self-control on such forwardings. I am not blaming habit of spreading the knowledge or sending some nice words to each other, but my only request is guys if you read something and wish to forward it to someone for any reason, you just take a breath, think before hitting that arrow, does this really make any sense? Think rationally about it. If you get the affirmative signal from your brain then and then only send it across. It will really reduce hate, frustration, and anger from our society.