Social Media is becoming the Fifth Estate?

AMIT SHARMAA lot of people are unhappy with facebook. Thats because it has deeply engrossed their own into the virtual world. They are forgetting face to face relationships and are hanging out with friends from the virtual world. I myself have fallen prey to this. If I stay online too late on facebook then my wife feeds me with burnt rotis to indicate her symbolic protest of my online activity. Anyway…

Social networking sites are banned in some countries of the world. Even in India, there were many attempts to censor social networking on the internet, which were protested against. But just a few minutes before writing this, I met someone whose happiness depended a lot upon facebook. No, am not talking about finding old friends or lost lovers on facebook as a pursuit of happiness. But one should remember that Mark Zuckerberg founded facebook keeping in mind this purpose at hand.

I met Ashish Kumar Chauhan. Currently, Ashish is Additional Treasury Officer in Rajasthan’s Sirohi district and he was placed 181 in the recent IAS exams. Facebook was crucial in getting him selected for the IAS. Now what can facebook and the Indian Administrative Services have in common! You must be thinking the same thing. Actually Ashish had penned down his hobbies as facebook and meditation. When he went to give his interview 80% of the questions asked around his hobbies were related to facebook. Ashish had cleared the mains two years ago as well but the questions asked were so difficult that he had to say ‘sorry’ and leave the interview. This time the panel asked him about 10 questions related to facebook. Because Ashish was proficient at facebook, he could answer all the questions in style. A panelist also tried to trick him by saying that they knew nothing about this social networking, when they knew everything related to it.

What we get out of Ashish’s experience is that the things we label as ‘timepass’ can also change our lives. What can influence your life for the better, you never know. Aamir Khan in the first episode of Satyamev Jayate kept a good point across very sophisticatedly, something about which we all think a lot but can’t do much about in our lives. The official website of the channel had a number of hits, twitter and facebook were alive with a number of opinions about the Save the Girl Child campaign he started. The horror of female infanticide was brought forward by two journalists, Shreepal Shakhtawat and Meena Sharma, and the torture they had to go through for seven years brought tears to our eyes. The whole country is texting Satyamev Jayate and writing letters to the Chief Minister of Rajasthan. Social media users are making one appeal after another. Social media has symbolically taken the step of becoming the fifth estate of the Indian democracy.

We had started by talking about a person who sat on the seat of the highest civil office of the country’s bureaucracy. If we hadn’t asked these questions about facebook w might not have reached till this point, anyway, we have talked a lot. Now I’ll switch to facebook. Ashish has sent a facebook friend request, am confirming his request right now….

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