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A Diabolical Social Media Prism

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Delhi North chapter.

Cricket enthusiasts are currently captivated by the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), one of the most beloved cricket leagues in India. This T-20 cricket tournament features players from all corners of the world. The allure of IPL is palpable, evident in the craze displayed by youths and elders alike. As soon as the IPL season kicks in, the entire nation bursts into joy. And why not? Cricket is India’s one of the most loved sports.

As we talk about sports, there are always discussions and deliberations about the form of the players. Any player should not be pressured to perform the way the audience wants. It ought to be left to the discretion of the player to decide their gameplay. Over the years, I have realized that even as individuals, our decisions and choices determine our performance. It is only to an extent that someone can motivate us; building up pressure for exhibiting a ‘desired’ performance might lead to flummoxed and doubtful results.

Recently, one such incident caught my attention. Hardik Pandya, the incumbent captain of the Mumbai Indians (MI), was booed by the audience. The potential reason behind the awful behavior is that he changed his captaincy from Gujarat Titans to MI. He is replacing Rohit Sharma who has led the team to win five times. It’s not the player who decides to join a team but franchises who keep on chopping and changing their teams and captains. This is a well-known fact. Despite this, Pandya faced hostile crowds at every stadium he played. I found the uproar quite unnecessary. For the home crowd to boo its captain is a rare incident, and social media certainly adds to the pointless hatred against the player.

A similar event took place when India lost the cricket World Cup in 2023. Indian coach Ravi Shastri faced humiliation, with chants of “Ravi Shastri Haye Haye” (Haye Haye is an expression of dismay). In Pandya’s case, he’s seen as an undeserving captain surpassing Rohit Sharma, who’s far more experienced. However, one shouldn’t forget the fact that having led the former team to victory and once to the finals in another year, his capabilities shouldn’t be doubted. Ironically, a certain section of fans would continue to disagree and hate. This kind of behavior has a deep impact on the gameplay of an athlete. Imagine standing on the field and hearing the crowd shouting trash about you! How strenuous is this to even think of and Pandya has been experiencing it consistently! Not only on the ground but on the web too. The effects of this uproar are felt his family has to face the same humiliation, this shows the standard of the masses who being anonymous not leave a chance to spread hatred. Setting up unrealistic expectations becomes the reason for such kind of hatred.

What is even less comprehensible is the legion of fans who continue to hate their chosen idol. Instead of praising them, social media has become a platform to vent this negativity. Virtual meme wars, hate comments, and the division of people into groups have turned them into enemies. Sometimes, I find it amusing how people with fake identities dare to comment on others, even when they have made little or no contribution to society as individuals. There are reasons why people troll. Dr. Mark Griffiths, Professor of Behavioural Addiction at Nottingham Trent University said, “Most people troll others for either revenge, for attention seeking, for boredom, and for personal amusement.” According to Liv, “They want to lash out at people who are being successful, who are happy, who are enjoying their life because they can’t,”. “I think people troll because they’re insecure in themselves, they want to get a kick out of being negative towards someone else,” said Fatima.

We all know that hate knows no boundaries, and with upcoming social media trends, it’s becoming even worse. Fandom worship is bifurcated into two groups: hero hate and hero worship. Both operate simultaneously and carry emotional value. If a hero plays well, we are filled with pride, and if they don’t, we are ready to criticize, as if we wielded the bat ourselves. With all the haters continuing their favorite hobby, some people do fathom the player’s real thoughts. Such people would always aim to spread positivity and try to create an inclusive environment. If I take a glance at my life, I have had instances where I lost my confidence. However, there were always people who made me stand again. Someone who admires you wouldn’t make you feel unworthy no matter what situation you’re in. Even strangers for that matter sometimes play a role that even a family member wouldn’t. In my opinion, to deal with hatred is to overlook it and focus on yourself. As they say, haters gonna hate, you do what you gotta do! I certainly abide by it. Surround yourself with people who support you and will be there for you.

Hate becomes a source of gratification and emotional satisfaction for some, especially in the case of cricket, where it comes without fear of backlash, unlike in politics where criticism can invite retaliation from supporters of rival figures. This ongoing tussle between virtual groups perpetuates itself. Hate comments tend to garner more engagement than positive ones, paving the way for other outlandish comments to join in, thus continuing the cycle of negativity. The person at the center of this storm, in this case, Hardik Pandya, is often deeply affected by the hate directed towards him.

On a personal note, I feel that social media has become a toxic space with little to no room left for humanity. Each individual has their own pace of sorting out things and coming back stronger. While it may serve as a great pastime for some, it’s arguably the easiest way to be unproductive. Nonetheless, I have always advocated for kindness and peace. Respecting people’s boundaries and privacy is essential. But in a world that largely operates on the web, we can’t expect the same level of civility as before because now people have started to find joy in trolling and roasting.

Aarzoo Rohilla, is a writer at HerCampus Delhi North. Being a political science enthusiast, she prefers to dwell in arenas which certainly pose an impact on the society from the lens of politics. Beyond this, she pens down about real life experiences and worthy happenings from the surrounding. Aarzoo is currently majoring in Political Science from Indraprastha College For Women, University of Delhi with minor in psychology. She possesses deep rooted inclination towards these subjects. She has been part of NGO’s wherein she has worked closely for the social cause. Being a part of an internship at Fortis Hospital for mental health, she has worked for pushing away mental health stigma. In her leisure time, she is usually engaged in penning her diary. She firmly believes that “you’re one of a kind”. As one goes by her name which translates to desire, she’s striving to fulfill them. Aarzoo enjoys spending time with her dog and can never say no to dance.