I was born in the heat of the Second World War . May be , I belong to the post war cohort group of social classification of generations as per present norms . When my cognitive skills developed , I got to know about the use of propaganda by the Allies ,Germans and Japanese during the war . Later on I read about the Iron Curtain [ USSR ] and the Bamboo Curtain [ China ] of the Communists . While they blocked the free flow of information from inside , devised dubious methods to use propaganda targeting gullible minds outside to spread communism world wide as an alternative to democracy . This was very evident during the cold war period afterwards . Unfortunately for them , there were only word of mouth , the television or the print media available to spread the message . The only picture available for print media was a low resolution radio photo . Therefore , the effectiveness or even damage was limited even if significant to change the fate of nations . I got a glimpse of this phenomenon when I stayed for a few weeks on official business in the Soviet Union in the late 70’s – the period of Generation X .
The advent of the computer along with the Generation Y – the millennials era and later the internet changed all this . While in the initial stages it was used constructively for research , commerce or official work , the technology advanced so fast to include electronic media , entertainment and later entered the social space . Satellite communication and underground submarine cables spread all over the world with incredible speed of data transmission facilitated a quantum change in the virtual environment . Cyber Security along with end to end encryption became a necessity coinciding with the launching of Dark Web and Darknet . So , Generation Z had to face and cope with the new reality and lived / worked in a new paradigm for social acceptability with associated new stress factors .
Twitter probably brought the advent of social communication on a “ one to many “ format and people across the world discussed almost everything under the sun. Instagram , Snap Chat , Pinterest , We Chat ,Tinder ,Youtube , and Facebook followed soon . While the movie “You’ve got mail “ in the late 90’s discussed the advent of e mail in a lighter vein with an “on line “ romance as its theme , the later movie “ Social Network “ validated the business model and impact of Facebook and the visible arrogance of Mark Zuckerberg . Monetising “ Likes “ became a phenomenon world wide because of the new trend of instant gratification , the pleasure principle and societal acceptability . On line commerce and especially social marketing became the new buzzword for high volume sales and purchases globally .The situation still remained in control and people got used to the new normal and the new opium of on line virtual identity and interaction . Julian Assange with Wikileaks achieved a new level of the art of whistle blowing. He is quoted as saying “ What are the differences between Mark Zuckerberg and me ? . I give private information on corporations to you for free , and I’m a villain . Zuckerberg gives your private information to corporations for money and he’s Man of the Year “. Assange got booked for alleged espionage and is a fugitive now , and Zuckerberg is worth US$ 99.6 Billion as on September 2020! The maximum penalty of US $ 5 Billion paid by his company earlier for violation of privacy laws was chicken feed for him. The acquisition of Whatsapp by Facebook in 2014 is stated to be primarily to prevent someone else eating Facebook’s lunch ! . The business and social advantage of this acquisition is much more than that and the combined entity is now a formidable social weapon manipulating gullible minds globally in the virtual space along with other lesser players in the field. Instagram comes a close second at least in influencing the impressionable young minds of the current generation! These uncontrollable Frankensteins may rule this planet one day if not checked in time!
While monetising “ LIkes “ was considered an above the board business practice by all the players in the field , the recent social media driven revolutions/ violent demonstrations in Egypt [Arab Spring] , Myanmar and more recently in the US created a new demon for the society at large and for governments . Political activism with fake news and biases moved to the virtual space but the ill effects hurt everyone in the physical societal dimension. Donald Trump was accused of a possible Russian connection in his electoral victory and ISIS , the global terrorist outfit , uses social media and darknet to reach out to its target bases across the world . The new well researched documentary “The Social Dilemma “ released on 9 September this year on NETFLIX vividly brings out the stark reality of “ Monetising Hate “ prevalent in the world today .
Mind Games in the classical sense refers to various coping strategies to combat stress , adverse feelings and social pressures . But can such tools and techniques in any way combat these new Mind Games played on relentlessly and repeatedly on Social Media to earn a handsome profit / influence a political outcome at the cost of precious lives and property ? . The Genie is out of the bottle and we have no answer at this juncture to contain this social virus .