Social media: how much is too much?

Published: 01st September 2012 11:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th October 2012 11:56 AM   |  A+A-


Social media and its impact has become a widely debated topic, especially over the past few months. From an attempt by a few people to trigger a mass exodus via rumours spreading online which succeeded, to the government’s attempts to curb the spread of such rumours by active action against users of social media and the banning of parody accounts that followed; there is now a raging debate, both online and offline, about just how big a role social media must be allowed to play in our lives.

Today, City Express looks at the story of a girl who killed  herself exactly one year back. A victim of a relationship gone awry, Malini Murmu, 21, a student at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore, took her life by hanging herself in her room. While Murmu had just gone through a breakup, the immediate reason for her suicide was the fact that her ex-boyfriend, Abhishek Dhan, had posted a status message announcing the breakup on Facebook - ‘Feeling super cool today. Dumped my new ex-girlfriend. Happy independence day’.

Her friends and well wishers are still active on various online communities criticising the act of her boyfriend. Criminal action had been taken against the accused post a review of his Facebook page by the investigative agencies. However, although he was charged with abetment of suicide, no stringent action could be taken against him based merely on the status message.

While the investigations on the matter are still on, the issue has raised a hot debate on Facebook where over the past 12 months, Malini Murmu and her story have become somewhat of an urban legend.

Murmu, today has six fan pages dedicated to her and while some are sympathetic, most contain posts by users venting their anger at her for having taken the step.

In fact, the power of social media is such that, whether Murmu’s ex-boyfriend likes it or not, he has been tried on one of the fan pages by the creator who brazenly decided to put his picture online and make his name and photo accessible to the entire world. In an attempt to garner public opinion against him, the user even invited comments on possible punishments for the boyfriend which naturally invited a whole barrage of unfortunate tortures for the man.

However the page also contains moderate posts by users who pointed out that while the original post by Dhan was unfortunate at the most, Malini must have had better sense.

The page is active even one year after Malini’s death with regular posts coming in even today. Whichever way you choose to see it, the issue at hand is that social media itself and its use is debatable.


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