Monday, April 27, 2015

Reading Between The Lines

Reading Between The Lines
Over the last few days, I had been doing a lot of reading and writing work simultaneously, for hours on end. Barely sleeping a couple of hours between days to pursue my passion for writing and Blogging. As I read, collated, and created my articles and also published them, I noticed a disturbing trend. Not that it was absent earlier, but I found a certain upward trend in the occurrences of this trend. What was it? It was not a single action or trend that caught my discerning eye, but a series of observations that led me to create and publish this post. I hope the readers will do exactly what the title of this post implies "Read Between The Lines" . I have not only mentioned each case separately but also tried to give my opinion and solutions to it. Hope you like them.

For that let me re-post some of the meanings of the oft overlooked or misunderstood Idiom "Read between the lines" . Various dictionaries quote their own meanings but let me put forward to you some of them which are more relevant for my topic of this post.

"Read Between the Lines means - 

"to infer something (from something else); to try to understand what is meant by something that is not written explicitly or openly. After listening to what she said, if you read between the lines, you can begin to see what she really means. Don't believe every thing you read literally. Learn to read between the lines.

or - Perceive or detect a hidden meaning, - as in They say that everything's fine, but reading between the lines I suspect they have some marital problems . This term comes from cryptography, where in one code reading every second line of a message gives a different meaning from that of the entire text.

or  - to try to understand someone's real feelings or intentions from what they say or write - Reading between the lines, I'd say that Martin isn't very happy with the situation.

or -  to find a hidden meaning in something said or written The report doesn't criticize the research directly, but you can read between the lines that the review committee wasn't impressed.

These definitions and meanings of the Idiom can be applied to a variety of observations which I had which are the very reason for writing this post. 

In a rapid and fast growing Social Media Crazy world, you will not be surprised every Tom, Dick and Harry making a run to create their own Social Media Profile on as many Platforms as could be available, without truly understanding the true importance of this Media, let alone what impact it can have on society and our social being itself. While each Social Media Platform boasts of having crossed a new landmark in Members registering under them, few of them are more bothered about the quality of members joining. This often results in the genuinely passionate and concerned members who are trying to spread something worthwhile through Social Media rather than hitting for numbers or "Likes" as they call it. 

I for one am not interested in the Numbers apart from any demographic importance on how many people are really reading or liking my posts rather than the quality and content of the messages, or feedback that I get. It is here that I was shocked, when I started analyzing deeply each post, comment or like. I found a disturbing trend, which I am trying to pen down here for all of us to understand, analyze and correct if necessary. I hope I will be able to communicate with your minds and convey the right message!

These are a series of observations so one should take each one and try and understand the underlying meaning. I mean no disrespect to any member or person, but this post is my ardent and sincere effort to make people understand the true meaning of communication and understanding one another or a situation.

The rush for "Likes" - Yes the rush for likes and having to see thousands of people liking your posts or content, coupled with a lot of Traffic exchanges and sites offering you money for liking a post or image has even worsened things. 

The first observation I had made was that a lot many people were 

"Liking the Images - but never reading the content" 

The first disturbing trend I noticed was , there were many images or posts that were just liked, by the same person. Interaction with your friends and fans is very important. When I took the liberty once in asking one of my fans why she liked a post she shockingly replied "I liked the picture so much". As you may be aware even when you are posting a Blog post we often tend to see the main image on that post which may be prominent on that post or a standard image which is related to that blog. The reason I always make it point to check the shared content of my post is that many times an irrelevant image has been randomly linked to the post. In that case I clearly go and select the right image relevant to that post and ensure that it is highlighted with the link of that post along with a small description. So when I got this reply, I questioned her whether she had read the post and what were her views. I was flabbergasted when she replied "What post? I did not see any post, I only liked the image". It was later when I explained to her that she realized what she was missing, just because she never knew about it. She went back to that post and read it and not only commented but sincerely related with the post. Please understand that every post has a link and description to the post which should be read to make the best of it. If you click on the image only it will only take you to the image and you may lose out on valuable information. After that incident the same person has not only appreciated my content but has started looking at social media in a totally new perspective. 

Please understand that each post not only displays the image but also has a short description either from the page of that blog or specially added by the person posting it, along with the link to that post. Please click on the link and read the post first as you may be missing out on some great content. You are of course free to post your comments, which are most invaluable. But just clicking on the image will deprive you of some great information.

"Reading through the Image and understanding the lines rather than just judging the image and commenting"

The second observation was there were a lot of people who liked an image but commented in a way which never related to the image or maybe they misunderstood the underlying meaning. This could happen either due to generation gap or utter lack of understanding of the content related to the image. I will relate this with two images, taking one image at a time. 

I had posted this image along with a nice description of what love actually means and how we should relate it in the right sense. This image too is very sensitive in the sense it takes a discerning eye to understand the true meaning behind this image and the lines that it expresses. I do not blame the layman or the common reader who would expressly take a different view to this picture and post an offensive or rather cheap remark. I had to delete/hide those comments, but not before I could make them understand the true meaning which they did apologize and accept, which was my true achievement. Many times you have to either have experienced those feelings or related strongly with both the image and the underlying meaning in those lines before commenting or even liking or disliking the image or content. But in this trigger happy or rather "Click" happy Social Media culture that is prevailing many not only miss out on the true essence of the content, but also malign the person who is posting it. Please relate, soak in , understand both the lines and image before commenting and I am sure you will see a whole new world opening up for you!

The second image was ....

As you will see this image too has a very strong underlying meaning, but possibly because of a single vulgar slang word in the content people tend to pay more attention to that word rather than absorb the true content of the lines the author is implying to express. Here the four letter "F@#$" word is used to stress and force the importance of the meaning rather than mean it in its true sense, which often people tend to find offensive. In my case I had been overtly careful in pleading the reader to overlook the profane word in the content, yet I was shocked to see few comments or likes maybe only because the "F@#$" word has had such a bad impact on our thinking and even use of vocabulary in the true sense. I think we should rise above all this to take out the essence of the words rather than get distracted by one word which does not in any way relate to the true meaning as in the dictionary or taken literally. Most of our readers are adult enough to understand this. 

Please rise above the literal meaning or view of what you see or hear and try to soak in the essence of the matter. It reminds me of a scene from the famous Bruce Lee film "Enter the Dragon" where Bruce is seen teaching a student, and while pointing out to the rising sun the student is busy looking at Bruce's hand/finger pointing out to the sun and he taps the student on his head and says "Look at the Sun and not my finger , or you will lose all its Glory"!!!! I am sure you too will understand!

"Rise above Petty Party Politics and Politicizing in hour of need"

This relates to some of the latest posts over the last few days where the whole world was getting together to help and offer assistance to Nepal after the Earthquake that has brought disastor to the people in that area as well as some areas in India.

What shocked me that while there were so many people genuinely expressing their feelings for the people, some comment on a post published by a News channel (one particular person for that matter)...was trying to politicize the issue  and asking why the government or rather the PM has not done anything or commented on the incident. I was furious and had replied to his post as had many others who were so furious with the member that they were asking him to be marked as spam and reported to FB. It is indeed shameful that while the whole nation, and people all over the world are trying their best to offer assistance and help, along with our own government, someone can have the time to even make such a comment. The same happens with many posts and articles when posted. Let us all rise about petty party politics and one-upmanship or credit mongering to hold hands together and work towards a better tomorrow for all!

There are so many articles, pictures, with captions and quotes that mean so much, but sadly most of us fail to see through the image or underlying meaning of the post. Social Media is such a powerful medium and we should make the best use of it rather than use it as a Friend making tool only. Yes these media are meant to expand your social reach and get to know more people but it also allows you the privilege of meeting like minded persons, celebrities and even dignitaries who may be staying continents apart from you, but share their thoughts and experiences with you. Take advantage of such opportunities. I am indeed so blessed to have such a wide plethora of friends from so many countries and professions who are always ready to share, help, motivate, suggest, comment and even push you to perform better. What else do you want? 

Let us grasp this strong quote in its true meaning. Anyone can write a few words, but it is those words that have come from experiences of various people all over the world, which when compiled together in the form or articles, books, etc form the proud literature that we all talk about. But if you are not able to "Read Between The Lines" as I say again repeatedly, they will seem like meaningless words to you. 

As you will see I have not named anyone in this post nor am I interested in doing so or taking up a "Personality Development Program" for those who cannot be changed, but it really hurts when most of those who are commenting or reacting are learned people. I mean no disrespect to any one of them as they may relate with my post as soon as they read it and if they read it.

The latest category of frivolous commenting or posting was the last straw that prompted me to publish this unfinished post which was lying in "Draft" mode for long like a dormant volcano. 

I will not put any image for this as you will all understand it very quickly as they are quite rampant nowadays. Many sportsmen, or celebrities, or even Hollywood or Bollywood stars are often maligned publicly with comments that only go to show the caliber of those writing those comments. There are even some pages that take pride in creating images that compare those personalities with various objects, animals, or even other people just for the sake of fun, or as they call it Jokes! Yes we do understand that you have a right to expression but please stay within your limits and do not malign any person publicly as they too have their own private life. Many sportsmen are the worst target of such belittling. A recent post exhibited an image that compared that sportsman's performance to the low average of a High end Automobile commenting that that car gave a better average than the sportsman. The persons posting or sharing the image and content totally forgot the whole story behind the life and efforts he has put in in making a comeback into sports after a battle through a life threatening illness. The same Page also frequently posts images which have really great social awareness content, but then tags it and modifies the image with small comments that malign religion, communities or religious sentiments. I personally un-followed the page and also reported it to FB as inappropriate. 

I first took up the matter with one person who happened to be my friend who had without a thought re-posted one of those images without giving a second thought to the comment that he was posting. I tried to make him see reason, and correct his thought process. When I found it was no use I only personally reprimanded him being a close friend and then deleted all the comments I had posted on his personal post and tagged it as "Don't want to see this post" and un-followed the page and posts.

I am indeed happy that he saw reason and immediately deleted the post as well as all the comments, while personally apologizing for the error, which is truly commendable. I feel it is the responsibility of all of us to share our views with those who post such comments and images in a small effort to try and correct them in case they are misguided or on the wrong track, or worst come to report it to the social media team to take necessary action. This is not a personal war or grudge against any one person but an effort to try and make our sharing and information, communication much more respectable and readable. 

There are a lot of other cases where many members waste their time and valuable web space posting offensive images with equally offensive comments, which we obviously don't befriend or follow, and I am sure the Social Media team on FB is reported to take care of it. Let us educate at least those who we can share our thoughts with especially the like minded ones, and make them aware of those small fine points like I have mentioned above where we can make this platform a better sharing medium for quality content, and empower our knowledge through better thoughts, and experiences. 

Suffice to say that it is only our efforts that will make a difference...but after all as this last image says ....if nothing works than I only have to be content with....

I say this because there are many and I mean no offense once again, who pass lewd or irrelevant comments on posts or images which they possibly have not truly related with or just copy the content from someone else and post it on their timeline. This can be dangerous and though it may sometimes sound funny as they are most of the time erroneous entries made in a hurry to get on to the next topic but can also hurt the sentiments of those related with the image or content. 

I can only faintly remember one post where there was a news of someone passing away, and most of the comments read "Sad to know, RIP xxxx", "May God give your family strength in this hour" etc...while some one possibly in a hurry using the cut-paste technique and forgetting to check before posting had mentioned - "WOW- Congrats" - "RIP xxx " is very clear from the formation of the sentence that it could have been a hasty post, but please be aware of what you are posting finally before you click on the "Post" Button! 

I will conclude this post by only penning down a few suggestions to all my loving readers, patrons and fans. When ever reading or scanning through any content do take some time to browse for a second on the totality of the content, be it an image or an article, before posting your comments or like. Give due credits to the writer, and if the content is worth sharing do share it on your respective pages or timeline. A lot of forget that all content on FB is limited to the audience that you select or the person who is posting selects. For example if I allow viewing only for my friends, public is not able to see it. But if my content is great and you share it on your page and your profile allows all public to see it you have automatically shared some good content to all like minded people. Most of us sometimes are unaware of these intrinsic settings and are deprived of some great content so try and educate one another. Be strong in what you say or want to see or hear on your post. If you find some one offensive or not in line with your taste try to correct them, and if not you surely have the option of un-following or un-friending them or even reporting to the concerned authority. A lot more points dwelling in my mind but will collate them and publish in my subsequent posts as they are related to a slightly different subject though all related to Social Media Posts.

Don't be click happy or like-happy and keep liking every image you see unless it is truly relevant to your likes or understanding. I may sound philosophical or harsh but let us make our reading experience and sharing experience worth it for all. And above all check before you click the "Post" button! 

No comments:

Post a Comment