SONGSOPTOK : The internet revolution has deeply impacted our modern society that can be compared to the discovery of electricity. Today we can’t think of the internet without the social media. When and how did you first discover the social media?

MAHARAJ MUKHERJEE:  I may not agree that internet can be compared to electricity or we cannot think about the internet without the social media, but coming to the point of your question, my answer would be that I first started blogging in the usenet may be about 20 years back. I was member of several groups both professional and cultural.

SONGSOPTOK : As far as interpersonal relationships are concerned, the power of the social media today is undeniable, allowing us to communicate in real time across the globe. What is your opinion about this? What are its advantages & disadvantages?

MAHARAJ MUKHERJEE:  I agree, I don’t have time to either call or email and stay in touch with my friends individually. Facebook is a very efficient way of keeping in touch with the world as well as the friends.

SONGSOPTOK : We have noticed that social media has become a powerful vector for personal expression and creativity, because we no longer need the approval or approbation to publish. Our creativity has found a new channel for addressing a global audience. What is your opinion about this?

MAHARAJ MUKHERJEE:  Agree. But it has more to do with the internet in general that just with the social media.

SONGSOPTOK : In this context, it is also true that any and everybody today can claim to be a writer, a poet, or an artist on any number of social media. We no longer have a standard for appreciating true talent – a role that was played by editors or different types of experts. What is you point of view? Do you think that the power of social media have served to create more charlatans than proper artists?

MAHARAJ MUKHERJEE:  Even if it is available to everyone, not everyone aspires to be an artist or a poet. Even among my friend circle, very few, perhaps only a handful would create something and share with the rest.

SONGSOPTOK : Would you say that the social media has contributed to bringing societies and cultures across the globe closer? If not, what can be done to make it a more powerful tool?

MAHARAJ MUKHERJEE:  Don’t agree. We still mix with our own kind. There are people who are not in the social media by choice. They completely fall out from the mind of people who use social media.

SONGSOPTOK : Would you say that in general the users of social media are actually aware of its potential, both in the positive and negative sense? In other words, do you think that the average user is aware of the possible reach of social media and the consequences it may have? What is your own experience?

MAHARAJ MUKHERJEE:  I disagree. There are a lot of misconceptions about the social media. Some are too awry about it and some take it that they can share anything or everything on the social media. In general, everyone follows some of his or her standards. But the standards vary widely.

SONGSOPTOK : Social media is often considered to be a true reflection of human society. What is your opinion? How would you evaluate the image you see today in the context of the society you live in? How true or false is the reflection?

MAHARAJ MUKHERJEE:  Absolutely disagree. The persona of any individual in the social media are often very different from his/her own self, so talking about the society is like the description of elephant by three blind men.

SONGSOPTOK : The advent and the trivialization of social media is today’s society seem to be have erased the difference between virtual and real. Would you agree? What is you own experience?

 MAHARAJ MUKHERJEE: Again completely disagree. See my comment above.

SONGSOPTOK : In your opinion, has social media contributed to breaking down of traditional rules of social relationships? In what way? How would you analyze the impact of social media in this context?

MAHARAJ MUKHERJEE:  Don’t agree. We still mix with our own kind even on the social medial.

SONGSOPTOK : Do you believe that social media can play a constructive role for world peace and unity? Or on the contrary play a totally negative role by fueling existing conflicts between nations and communities?

MAHARAJ MUKHERJEE:  Yes for both the questions. It is a tool, which can be and being used in any way people want.

SONGSOPTOK : How effective can be the role of social media as a tool of protest and action against all sorts of social ills and injustices?

MAHARAJ MUKHERJEE:  It has already proven to be a very powerful tool of protests.

SONGSOPTOK : Lastly, we would like to know the impact of social media, if any, in your own life. What kind of journey has it been? What are your own expectations about the evolution of social media?

MAHARAJ MUKHERJEE:  It has as I had mentioned increased my efficiency in keeping in touch with my friends and family, giving me more time for other things. So I would say that it has a positive impact.

MAHARAJ MUKHERJEE: is a research scientist and "master inventor" with IBM Corporation and lives in New York.


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