Both mega budget movies from Shahrukh Khan and Aamir Khan at the end of 2018 have failed at box office. Usual thinking of big Khans pulling crowds have come to a grinding halt.

Because of social media. The early adopters ( first day viewers) posted negative comments on social media and the audience got thinner ever since.

Quality realistic movies like ‘Baadhai Ho’ have done surprisingly well at bollywood Box office. ‘Sacred Games’, the Indian Netflix series have done well. Internationally ‘Bird Box’ was a sensation.

Goes on to say, in social media driven age, our online opinions drive the demand up or down. Digital content is freaking transparent . No fake news can get you to go in to a cinema hall and make you pay.

I am in the creative process of designing a community project that will help people to identify fake news. For the last 3 weeks, I have plunged in to the vast ocean of social media in Sri Lanka in the light of constitutional crisis, among other things.

What struck me most is, fake people are more easier to identify than fake news. When I digged into the sources of the news, I was able to judge more effectively.

Fake people are the ones who create a persona that is larger than life. They do not live by their broadcasted values. They jump on to any opportunity that come their way. They show that they care through words.

Do you wonder why these fake people are been venerated by masses?

Reason is, these fake people understand what the masses want. They give you something to believe in. They play with the imagination of the masses. The masses fuel that by giving them the attention and their power.

You may think I am talking about the politicians. Not just them. I am talking about fake people everywhere. Fake people in government, private sector, NGO’s,entertainment industry, clergy, academics, media institute owners, sports men and women, and the list is endless. I have encountered fake people in our families.

These fake people create messages that speak to your heart. They steal your emotions. They create a persona that seems invincible. They are actually not.

Ask questions. Test their motives. Throw away blind fandom. Find that fake person behind a fake news. Have a critical thinking mindset.

Cheers.  

tweetupsl
pic credit: Dialog

I went to tweetupSL 7 yesterday. I have missed last 2 years.

So many new young faces, and the interactions gave me the flavour of young aspirations and new trends in social media. Right now, the intensity of  interaction is high, one of the main factors is the inclusion of local languages. It’s much more engaging when one can type in your own language.

On twitter, we follow so many unknown people. It’s great to meet someone in person after I had followed and interacted with them for like 3 years. Most of the time, when I meet in person, I see a different personality from his or her online presence. So yeah, we have our split personalities: online and offline. This very core human nature brings in numerous issues and tensions on social media. Social media promised us harmony around 2007, we wanted everyone in the world to be on social media. Yet we find ourselves in unwanted trouble in 2017, because when we have many people on social media, we get to see all of their problems too. You just cannot have good things only. Just like life.

I was asked this question by Amila, and I had to answer to the audience – ‘how did twitter helped in your life and work?’

I actually reflected on this same question, few days back after I watched Chamath Palihapitiya’s rant about how bad social media is, especially facebook.. He asked people to move away from social media. I guess yes, when you are popular and influential. No one needs your tweets to validate your authority in the field. But for the rest of us, who are ordinaries, social media is a gift of unfathomable proportions. Provided, we use it safely, with empathy and with patience. (UPDATE: yesterday, Chamath has taken back his own words. Again emphasising my point, we need balance)

I joined twitter in 2009. I’ve connected to great people and brilliant ideas on twitter. I cannot count them, but I can assure it is in thousands. So many long term business partnerships were formed through twitter and other social media introductions. Many good friends were found, some of them feels like my family.

Yet where do I draw the line? Too much of anything is bad. Too much of video streaming is bad.  Getting to phone the moment we are bored is bad. Too much of scrolling in your phone as a habit is bad.

Part of what Chamath says is true. Social media can own you, take control of what you think. It can create a small bubble in your mind and can make you think that what you see in your feed is the truth. It has happened to me. It became an addiction and then I had to get out of it. That’s where digital detoxes helps me. And there are apps to help me to get in to digital detox. 

Technology inclusion in our lives are inevitable. We must be part of it to explore the opportunities. We must also take care of our personal hygiene, so we become mindful in a world full of information.