Coffins of felled soldiers

The degeneration of media, and #maggiban

It really is true that who holds the power to disseminate information, holds the power to move human sentiment. Happens in every country, happens every day. In fact there was even a Bond movie made grossly on this subject.

The fact that the media in our country, at least most of it, is completely sold to causes nefarious is now a foregone conclusion. It chooses to show you what it wants to, what will catch more eyeballs, or what will raise TRPs and thus get more advertising. Hence you have the neurotic Goswami, or diabolic Dutt being stalwarts.

Take what is happening today for instance.

Nestle’s CEO Paul Bulcke has had to travel to India to save his brand, after lead was discovered in Maggi. The company is trying to do damage control. Media can’t get enough of it. Reluctantly, Nestle started doing a recall, but was prompt in lending support to actors who had endorsed the brand previously. Complete morons like Mahesh Murthy tweet “Nestle India market cap drops by Rs.5,500 cr. Dear VPs of Marketing, now do you see the value of hiring a good digital & social firm?” Must be f*#$@%g mad. In which world did brand protection become more important than consumer safety? In Muthy’s world perhaps.

Then, the who hullabaloo about yoga day. अरे बाबा , if your religion gets bothered by exercise, don’t do it. Why does the nation have to know your opinion and why do we have to watch endless, nauseating debates on the subject? But, switch on a tv news channel and this is what you get to watch.

What the TV channels won’t spend time on is the fact that 20 soldiers of the Dogra Regiment got killed in an insurgent ambush in Manipur. The newspapers use some space to talk about this. No imagery to talk about. Have you seen images of the burnt bodies of the soldiers? Likely not. But there are images of Paul Bulcke. Did you notice that even his initials are Pb? Heck, I digress.

The media however, protects its own and whoever pays to be protected. Certainly you remember the entire scam that Barkha Dutta was embroiled in and how TV media provided no coverage on the subject. Similarly, do you remember the circumstances that Ravi Venkatesan resigned from being the country head of Microsoft India? Remember the scam that the top leadership of Microsoft was (allegedly) involved in (along with counterparts in HCL)? Yeah? Now, try to find a news item on the web which talks about Venkatesan’s implicit /moral involvement in the scam. You won’t. Today, Venkatesan has resurrected himself as a social entrepreneur able to talk from a high pedestal. Right! That is what you can do if you can get media to work for you.

Complete morons like Mahesh Murthy tweet “Nestle India market cap drops by Rs.5,500 cr. Dear VPs of Marketing, now do you see the value of hiring a good digital & social firm?” Must be f*#$@%g mad. In which world did brand protection become more important than consumer safety?

A few days back, 104FM in Bangalore ran a program where they were asking for public opinion on the Maggi ban. The RJ made fun of the state governments’ concern, the recall, the bans and kept mentioning that Maggi will be back. Really? So may be Mahesh Murthy was wrong, and Nestle is already spending money sponsoring radio channels.

Bottom line, if you have a powerful spread out fifth column working in the country, why do you need enemies?

Do you feel as outraged about this as I do? Write.

Are you fed up of politics related posts on your Facebook newsfeed?

Picture2There is enough politics that I get to see. On the tube, in the newspaper and of course on Facebook. People posting / re-posting on Facebook are serious about it, and in most cases, mean well. However, like me, you might have had an overdose already.

FB Top bar showing Social Fixer plug-in settings icon

FB Top bar showing Social Fixer plug-in settings icon

You do not want to see these posts anymore, but do not want to block of the friend(s) who posts these political messages. The bad new first – Facebook does not have a mechanism to do this. The good news – is that there is a plug-in available for browsers to be able to do this blocking. This plug-in is called Social Fixer and you can download it from their web site. There, currently, are separate plug-ins for Firefox, Opera, Safari, Chrome and browsers running a Greasemonkey extension. People on IE, well…tough luck.

Picture1It will plug itself into your browser and show up as an icon on your Facebook page top right. It is easy to configure and fairly versatile.

It will run you through a wizard. But the part that you need is the “Filtering”.

It can do text or links based filtering and your filter text could be as simple as “/politics|congress|bjp|aap|/i”. The “i” in the end keeps your filter case in-sensitive, and then you choose what you want to do with that post (hide, minimize or apply a CSS). That is it. You can choose to create tabs to filter, move and segregate posts too.

It takes a while for the filters to start working and might seem as if the filtering is not working too well. Clear the cache, and you will see the difference.

Social fixer has a host of other features to un-clutter, enhance and simplify. But, the filtering is what I needed the most.