We are currently living in the digital age, today everything we do is directly or indirectly influenced by social media. We are more active on social media than we are in the physical world and platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter impact our lives more than experiences in the actual world. However, in these recent times, there has been an explosion of negativity, hate, harassment, cyber-bullying and aggression on all these social platforms. Creators are fighting with creators, fans are arguing among themselves, using vile language and artists are receiving continuous hate online for whatever they do. While browsing online, you can feel like your social media has become nothing short of ‘Toxic‘ and we must put an end to this. Spreading positivity on social media is more important than anything today!
As a part of this initiative, an insightful webinar took place on 11th July, Saturday, at 2:00 PM live on the MissMalini Facebook page. We had a diverse panel, who brought their own set of experiences and perspectives to the conversation. This webinar was duly conducted in the loving memory of Samir Bangara, who was the CEO of Qyuki Digital Media. Samir was originally a part of this panel and it was extremely important for him to address this issue of negativity online. We are absolutely sure he was with us in spirit and guiding us in this initiative.
Devraj Sanyal (MD & CEO, Universal Music Group, India & S.Asia, President, Mass Appeal India) – Devraj manages a lot of artists who are subjected to continuous hate on social media.
Malini Agarwal (Founder and Creative Director, MissMalini Entertainment) – With years of experience in the entertainment industry, Malini has experienced/seen multiple moments of online hate and cyber-bullying.
Khushi Govil (Head of creator alliances, Qyuki Digital) – Khushi manages various online influencers and digital content creators thus had a very raw take on the current situation of social media.
Ranveer Allahbadia a.k.a. BeerBiceps (Popular content creator and entrepreneur) – Being a digital star himself, he shared the first-person perspective on how online hate and negativity impacts people emotionally.
Karishma Govil (Content Head, Influencer Desk at MissMalini) – Since Karishma runs the social media news desk and is in touch with online stars on a day-to-day basis, she moderated the webinar.
The major question is ‘what is the purpose behind this alarming hate online?’ ‘How do we hold people accountable for their action?’ The panellists addressed these questions and also discussed concepts like threats, vile language, sexual remarks, hate comments, defaming someone etc. and the effect of the same on creators and individuals. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a major behavioural change among many individuals, social media has turned into a dumping ground for negative emotions and angst. According to Ranveer, many young kids have started channelling their frustration and aggression on online platforms, which is precisely why a webinar like this was conducted in order to understand the crux of the problem and find ways to combat it.
Devraj believes that negativity is not just superficial, its majorly an ingrained issue in people’s mind, who tend to believe that ‘negativity helps me be positive’ and this mindset is harmful to their careers, mental health and stability in life. The large divide between the offline and online world is a new phenomenon and hence being brutal online gives people a sense of power. This is exactly why we must talk more and more about the need for positivity. Devraj correctly pointed out that negativity is not a competition and the likes of it shouldn’t gain momentum, in fact, there is power in being positive and uplifting people. Here’s what Devraj said,
If you don’t have anything positive to say, don’t say anything.
Social media platforms have almost blurred the line between real and virtual, daily millions of people consume content over the net and get influenced by it. For this very reason, Ranveer believes that every piece of content that is created online should have a positive call to action in the end. (for example – if a YouTube video is talking about ways to dress fashionably, it should subtly encourage viewers to love their bodies and be confident in their skin). If we take small steps like this and normalise speaking openly about positivity and healing, we will be able to see a gradual decrease in the amount of hate online. we are certain that this is a learning process for everybody!
This webinar gave everyone a lot of insight on what steps can be taken in order to make the digital medium a safe space for people to freely express themselves. Each member on our talented panel had various valid inputs for us to understand and imbibe.
1. Malini Agarwal wants you to remember three simple steps, firstly, behave online the way you would have behaved in real life. If you won’t say something to a person, in reality, don’t say it online. Secondly, learn to combat your insecurity by uplifting others, so next time you feel insecure about yourself make someone else happy by leaving a positive comment. And thirdly, social media tends to dehumanize people, approach everything and everyone with a sense of empathy and love. Malini says,
You must approach the world with a shield of empathy and kindness
2. Ranveer and Khushi strongly encourage creators collaborating with one another. Interesting collaborations between two unique artists will surely put out a strong message. Khushi also believes that we must try and be more ‘platform agnostic’, artists from short and long video format platforms should come together to create meaningful content. This also a good way to unite different fanbases.
3. According to Devraj, stricter punishment is required for online hate crimes. This will help instil fear among people which is required in order to create a safer digital space. He also strongly recommends us to stop and breathe every time we are about to send a hateful message across, read your message and think if you can ever say this to someone in reality, if not, do not send that message. Its is pertinent to understand the importance of meaningful conversations.
MissMalini is a publication that has always felt very strongly about positivity offline as well as online. Malini Agarwal, the founder of her digital empire, has herself been around various artists and content creators throughout her professional journey and experienced direct or indirect hate online. The main idea behind this initiative is to address the issue of the massive negativity and harassment people face online. The vision is to make people aware of this toxic and hateful social media culture and work towards encouraging people to take a stand against it. IgnoreNoMoreOnline campaign has helped various people come out strongly and take action against online harassers and abusers. Take a step towards a safer digital space and join the IgnoreNoMoreOnline campaign here @ignorenomoreonline
The webinar really put the need for positivity on social media out in the open and we only wish more and more people spoke about it and did their bit to help this initiative.
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