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Whatsapp

Faster Than Truth

WhatsApp did what Facebook couldn’t—it reached most of our tier-III towns and villages alongwith internet and smartphone

Faster Than Truth
Photograph by Amit Haralkar
Faster Than Truth
outlookindia.com
2016-11-03T20:31:04+05:30

It could’ve been an innocuously ‘funny’ forward by my aunt on a family WhatsApp group—one of the many forwards from here, there and everywhere, bound only by a common family ‘ethos’. Lately, that ethos has slipped into war-mongering, anti-reservation and casually communal ‘nationalism’. No wonder my otherwise ‘peace-loving’ aunty thought a virulently communal ‘joke’ could be funny for the rest of us. What had been latent was now in full bloom—that’s what a flood of emotions in the form of jokes, memes and videos can do to you.

The era of mass digital communication is an era of constant engagement. The billion-plus WhatsApp users around the world engage with around 50 billion messages, 1.6 billion pictures and 250 million videos every day. We have never communicated with each other at such a pace, or in so many ways, ever before. WhatsApp took all our existing ideas—phone calls, SMS, MMS, chat rooms, Bluetooth—and tied them together. And being the country with the largest number of WhatsApp users, we know all this too well. Also, how it has changed our lives. As I write this on my smartphone, standing at a busy intersection in New Delhi, I’ve already counted three bikers typing away on theirs as they man­oeuvre their bikes with the other hand. They’ve got to be WhatsApping, isn’t it?

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