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?

MOUSUMI ROY:  I shall probably consider myself as a late starter in the social media. It was about 5 years ago, when I was busy with “Poetry” and “Freelance Writing to various newspapers and magazines”. Starting then I made “Facebook” as my mode of communication in social media. I am, however, restrictive in the use of this media and I confine myself to a limited circle of ‘friends’ of my choice and preference.

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?

MOUSUMI ROY:    Absolutely correct! The power of social media cannot be ignored or denied in today’s world. One can reach out globally to communicate, exchange views, share thoughts or ideas, provide news of certain place or area and simultaneously come to know about the news of other places through social media. These are positive sides of the social media.
On the other hand, the danger of spreading any news exponentially and at lightning speed is significant, particularly when the news pertain to sensitive issues or subjects which may be considered as detrimental to society at large. So, intuition and intention of individuals play significant role in social media.

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?

MOUSUMI ROY:    I personally believe “Freedom of Expression” has reached a new height through social media. However, self-restraint should be practiced, here again this heavily depends on individuals in terms of his/her desire, intent, thought process, ideas, views. Of course creativity is  ensconced in one’s personal expression. So it is imperative for a person to think in advance about the repercussions while addressing a topic or subject or issue.

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?

MOUSUMI ROY:    Certainly social media opened the flood gates to express oneself, be it as a writer, critic, poet, and artist or in any other form. It is for this reason, more and more people are getting opportunity to express. However, any such effort needs to be sustained in the long run in order to showcase his or her talents. Owing to the availability of such a large platform, vast number of people can be found engaged in various activities; only true talents will eventually survive. It may be apparent that the role of experts like editors is getting a bit less important as another optional platform is available, but certainly not diminishing. To draw analogies, memorizing “Tables” at the primary school level is becoming a lesser priority for today’s children as handy alternatives are available. Similarly, “Atlas” is slowly being replaced with “Google Maps.” However, one cannot deny the usefulness of such tools in everyday life.  By similar logic, the role of Editor cannot diminish completely. 

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?

MOUSUMI ROY:    Social media may have improved interaction across the globe overcoming geographical boundaries, but how far it has helped to unite us in society or bridge our cultural barriers, that still remains a question mark.

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?

MOUSUMI ROY:    Well, it may be said that most people are aware of positive and negative sides of a potential impact. It is for that reason many debates are happening in various forums.  People with negative intentions often try to take advantage of social media to fulfill their coveted desires as in any other platform.

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?

MOUSUMI ROY: As far as opinion generation is concerned, the social media may show some reflections and mood of the society. These may not always  provide true reflections when their involvement become necessary in the implementation process. In general, many opinions are expressed by individuals sitting in their comfort zones. On the other hand, a few mass movements received momentum through extensive usage of social media. So evaluation has to be specific to the issue rather than on a generic scale.

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?

MOUSUMI ROY:     Reality still lies on its own. One has to feel and experience to understand it well. I do not think that that difference has been erased. Hyper-real masquerading as the real... or we have chosen to see it as... indeed the real has its own share of trivia... trivia engendered classics... inspired thoughts... but is it the whole? The real’s immensity makes its trivia often exhilarating, for you might see it as a flip of other varieties of life... Here the trivia loses in itself... does not offer contours throwing up ideas of the 'real'... but yes, relativity will offer a different picture to many. But there's a flipside to everything...in midst of trivia... some stand out... poetically... making this trivia really trivial... poetry marches on.. ideas in tow... Facebook emerges as everything-ish.... beyond the trivia... the reality of the poet's voice oozes out... images of trivia fade into immensity of poetry's dynamics...

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?

MOUSUMI ROY:    “Pen is mightier than sword”, the impact of poetry is far-reaching in the minds of people. Many of them are linked to reality. People tend to read, learn, express about society and surroundings. Many of the traditional rules are being broken knowingly or unknowingly. Social evolution process may be prime reason by itself. Sometimes social media may be playing catalytic role in it.

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?

MOUSUMI ROY:    Creation takes much longer time than dissolution. Like any other media, social media can play hugely in peace and unity. As old saying goes “Bad things are learnt faster”. One must, therefore, always be alert and careful in expressing views. Hence, the role of individuals in the social media is very important and significant.

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?

MOUSUMI ROY:    Since the popularity of social media is growing globally, it can play major roles against all kinds of ill-practices and injustices. However, any such attempt must be done in a well-communicated, planned manner to avoid unwanted loss and chaos.

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?

MOUSUMI ROY:    Being in a comparatively limited circle of own preferences and choices, the impact has been found significant and enlightened. Constructive criticism sometimes blows up within that limited circle too. Where the reach is much wider, some kind of moderation will be necessary more and more as measure of screening and control. Proponents of absolute “Freedom of Expression” may oppose it but they must think of far-reaching consequences of those ill attempts if social media is used to spread conflicts and hatred.



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