Hoor Asrar talks about a
Social media is causing havoc in Pakistan and has unnerved the circles that matter and has increased social polarisation. Though the Rise and rise of social media in Pakistan in the country is neither new nor it is without fetters but it has substantially rankled the traditional notions and perceptions. Social media was also taken lightly when it emerged on the anvil as people took it more as an entertainment and enjoyed its vast tentacles in using it just as a communication network. They shared their stories and tried to keep it entertaining by employing humour as much as could be done. Social media was then rated as an innocuous platform for exchanging pleasantries and was more of a wishing-well phenomenon. The entire context of social media took a new turn with the advent of Arab Spring when it played a vital communication tool documenting the legendary callousness of well-entrenched Arab regimes.
The changed usage of social media took an unusual turn and it soon became a very strong basis for airing candid views and denouncing unacceptable behaviour. Very soon its impact was felt far and wide and its approach spread out into all spheres of existence. In Pakistan the growing impact of social media was recognised rather late and the experienced segments dealing with public matters tried to keep it under wraps but could not hold it for long. Some social media bloggers operating from abroad came under stress but the ensuing pressure resulted in getting them free. Such bloggers had agendas that were generally recognised to harm national perceptions therefore the general opinion favoured punitive action taken against them.
But the overpowering reach of social media could not be contained in respect of conditions prevailing in the country. The very recent impact of social media was brutally felt by politicos going out to canvass in their constituencies which they treated no more than their fiefs but had to back-off after their constituents treated them shabbily. The well-entrenched dons of feudalism who control many levers of patronage and power are clearly unnerved when they face angry sufferers of recent floods in the country. Social media aggravated their discomfiture when it not only recorded such instances but also peppered them with bitter and ironical comments.
Soon the practice became a norm as ineffective political leadership was amply exposed in their electoral remits and the bubbling anger did not spare anyone. The whole process reveals how social media has not only raised awareness among the people but has also made the people question their own leaders. The social media combine of internet-Smartphone has transformed things to an extent that they are barely recognisable in their original shape. The growing power of social media has brought power to people in the real sense of the word. That they could no more be shackled is very obvious as people can keep an eye on every movement and minor detail regarding their political leaders. They can also keep a strong watch on objectionable social behaviour and can develop a widespread consensus on important issues.
The global reach of social media has enabled common people to see many strong reputations wither into its heat and it took the wind out of the grandeur surrounding them in Pakistan. The vast portal of social media encompassing large number of websites and plenty of applications is playing a very credible role in a string of by-elections that precluded any attempt to rig them. It is the growing power of the social media that frustrated the designs of powerful elements supporting the status-quo that tried to get the polls postponed. The social media clearly brought to fore the claim of general public that they are the ultimate accountability forum in their own right and no segment of the polity is entitled to trifle with it.
The social media has enabled common people to share photos, opinions and events in real-time and this ability has added a decisive angle to public perceptions. It is no more a communication tool but has been transformed into a very strong platform for gauging public opinion. The range of social media is increasing by the day and so is its credibility. Social media is changing the socio-political landscape of Pakistan with ever growing number of people obtaining access to it and its rise has made a lot of difference in the social matrix. The unique facility offered by social media to make its productions viral is seen to be the most potent game-changer in the forthcoming elections. The people have been provided with a weapon that can certainly compete with media cells established by political parties simply because the people’s opinion is always non-partisan and forthright. It is already becoming clear that people are winning the war of social media and their participation in the coming elections will be ensured by social media. TW