200 people are missing after a flash flood in Uttarakhand… the government of India today is busy promoting an app to counter twitter, Koo, apparently it’s a made in India clone of the twitter platform. If we keep going down this road I think the day is not far when each house will have it’s own closed SM application, each housing society with single representation from each house will have it’s own application and so on and so forth… to be fair there already is such a platform it’s that dreaded serial forwarder uncles realm called WhatsApp groups… then again here we were talking of a wider audience. Stifle the voices of dissent and encourage echo chambers that serve to keep the emperor (of the apps realm) feel like he is fully clothed. We are not moving forward this way, we are just moving back into history where collaboration, exposure to a world view and learning from varied cultures was not possible. Today when technology makes communication available we are actively working to get people cooped up into silos so that they can be better controlled by the governments.
Some smart folk will say a number of things on the lines of “China has it’s own social media and communications platform” or “try doing this in the Middle East”… to which my single question, with due respect to everyone, is “do we want to turn into China OR Saudi Arabia?”. Is that the goal, to become regressive and repugnant, by our own definitions, to the point that we become like a culture that we have all along criticized as regressive, intolerant and violent?
The problem is that not only is the government on an immature and regressive path but even the supporters do not see anything wrong with the approach. They will give arguments like “but finally if we are developing such amazing platforms should it not be appreciated?”. No my dear friend no, it should be ridiculed at best. Copying the functionality, heck even look and feel, of an already established application is called plagiarism in any book you pick up. You may argue “but but but we can do it better” to which all I would say is why are you doing it? focus on unsolved problems. This is the sort of work that, to use a cliche, Pakistani developers are excellent at. What are we doing by this immature act of solving a solved problem just because the government of the day is illiterate, mean minded, narrow or crafty enough to bombard us with propaganda through all channels to explain to us that we need our own social media platform? Just turning the whole population into the very people who we ridiculed and disliked all these years that’s what we are doing.
Twitter is a platform that allows for an exchange of thoughts, however appalling the discourse. Now with Koo and Twitter and Mastadon what we are doing is providing each group of ideologically different people with separate rooms to shout in. Guess what, the right wing will move to Koo while the Left stays on at Twitter. A nice echo chamber for similar thoughts is what awaits. In a way that is good because it might result in reducing unnecessary noise however it is in the noise that a way out of deadlocks is found. Have we thought about the complete disconnect that would set in. We will zig while the others zag and never the twain shall bag the cat. Who suffers?
I am not on any social media platform and most certainly do not intend to join Koo (oh the horror). I hope self respecting individuals wouldn’t be joining either because what you have here is a classic example of plagiarism and do we as a nation want to call ourselves the nation of borrowed and bastardized ideas?
as an aside… #BanTwitter is trending on twitter. The rightwing ecosystem has gone batshit bananas about twitters attempt to allow freespeech regardless of orders from the government. The right thing to do would have been to go to court and get the matter adjudged legally. However our totally repugnant and repulsive rulers decide to go on twitter and say move to Koo and ban twitter. Gawd the crazy stupid times we live in… too much democracy and too much hyper nationalism. There was that story about cutting the same branch upon which one is perched high above the ground…. yeah same.