Thursday, 9 February 2017

COMPLEXITY OF SOCIAL MEDIA CONVERSATION


If there were social media at the time of Mohandas Gandhi, how well he would have used it? That guy was a genius when it comes to Power of Social Influence.  
Last year when I started using Twitter around January 2016, I never even thought it would pose a problem.
How difficult can it be? I am a writer. I have been writing for past 10 years. I have written TV shows for National Television in India.
I wrote a novel—a BIG (thick and complex) novel. #iAm16iCan— India Against Rape Culture. The first book of #YinYangSeries
For heaven’s sake, I write for my living. So, Twitter: 140 characters! It would be trivial. 
Right? I could not have been more wrong.
Difficulties of Social Media Conversation:
Human communication is complex. Read Transactional Analysis to understand the complexity and science of human communication. When we talk with a person in physical space, his/her body language gives more information to us (which our brain decodes) than his/her words. In social media, this torrent of information is missing. There is no body language, and therefore, you have to solely rely on other person’s words—written words. 
Now, even there, it’s complicated. Every person is not one person. S/he is an island. So many faces living in a singular system. So many archetypes. And social media (being a media) demands that people wear a façade. 
If I am cranky and fighting with my husband because of PMS, I won’t sulk on social media. I SHOULD'T. 
I had some interesting conversations of this (read-- fake) kind when I realized that people quite often talk hogwash on social media. Things they don’t believe in. Sometimes people create a 180-degree opposite persona on social media from who they are. It’s called Over Compensation. An Ego Defense Mechanism.
E.g. A person can be a xenophobic in real life. But his/her rational mind doesn’t like this fact. Xenophobia is something s/he feels at emotional level. 
This person will go on social media and behave like a flag bearer against xenophobia. But if you speak with him/her outside social media where the person is not forced to wear the mask, his/her real feelings will come out in open.
And as a Jungian psychologist, I know for fact that humans operate more often from their emotional center than they do from their rational center. I appreciate, respect, and rave this fact. 
That said, it makes ANY social media a very difficult platform of conversation.
(1) Noob Mistake 1: Thinking That People Are What They Write On Social Media.
(2) Noob Mistake 2: Failure To Look Beyond Mask
(3) Noob Mistake 3: To Enter Social Media Without Putting Your Mask On

If social media is so banal and hollow, why to start any conversation on social media?
Because, it’s a great platform to meet people WITH masks and facades. 
Read Sabaa Tahir's An Ember In the Ashes to understand how people can fall for masked soldiers. Ha :)
Think of Twitter as a party where people are supposed to enter with their mask on. Or a corporate
building where a mask is the part of the uniform.
Intelligent people know what others think.
Not because they have a SIXTH sense or something but they have an ability to THINK the
same thing, and acknowledge (not accept or allow, but acknowledge) the EVIL right in their own
system.

Therefore in order to excel in social media, you will have to make a conscious decision about what
mask you plan and prefer to wear. Then stick to that mask and make it a part of your brand
building. It’s a long and complex process. It’s like learning a language after you are past 12 years
of age. It takes time. You are bound to make mistakes. It took me more than a year to understand
what my voice on Twitter should be. And yet, I still make mistakes sometimes. 
Bad days are part of the game!

But like many things one needs to learn in order to do a job well, if you want to become an author,
understanding Twitter (Social Media) is part of the job.
Handle Twitter with sportsman spirit, like a game you don’t know and want to learn. And over
period of time, you will know the rules. Later, you will enjoy playing it. I enjoy it—now!

    Kirtida Gautam is a clinical psychologist, screenplay writer, and author of the unpublished psychological thriller I am 16 I can. The novel questions Juvenile Justice System of India and raises opinion AGAINST rape culture. Follow her on Twitter @KirtidaGautam 

2 comments:

  1. Hi Kirtida Gautam.
    Excellent Blog Post - very insightful tips and food for thought.
    I liked this the best: "Therefore in order to excel in social media, you will have to make a conscious decision about what mask you plan and prefer to wear. Then stick to that mask..."
    Regards
    Vikram Karve
    Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Vikram.
      I am glad that the post was useful to you.

      Delete