Pop star Madonna recently courted trouble when she posted defaced images of icons like Nelson Mandela on Instagram, to make them look like the cover of her upcoming album. the guide asked a few famous Indian faces about where and how to draw the line while using social media.
What was the noise about?
Recently, Madonna faced backlash when she put up altered images of iconic personalities like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Princess Diana and Bob Marley among others on her Instagram account.
Their faces were wrapped in black cords to resemble the artwork of her upcoming album, Rebel Heart. Such was the online furore that the Pop star had to tender an apology. Pic Courtesy instagram.com/madonna
Social media and its use by public personalities and the values attached to such media are personal. While I attach importance to sensitivities and am cautious of what I say, how I say it and what images I put up, I do not believe that everyone must do so. Many people treat social media as a platform that brings forth a very personal voice and some use it for marketing/promotion, making their voice a very public one.
I think there are a lot more important and pressing issues in the world than what Madonna or Rihanna post on Instagram, that people should be getting riled up about. Like women’s safety in India, for instance? Let’s focus our collective energies on addressing the real issues and let entertainers express themselves.
Social media has taken over people’s lives. To me, platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are very personal where I share my work, interests and passion. Before posting anything online, I always consider the censor that one needs to beware of while exposing one’s life to the public. Since celebrities, in a way are opinion leaders and can easily influence people, one must be quite clean with the content uploaded.
There’s a fine line between creativity and blasphemy. We live in an increasingly intolerant world where we take offense to anything and everything. Having said that, we take our Gods and heroes very seriously and one needs to be careful about how they get portrayed. Madonna’s latest hashtag is objec-tively brilliant. I’m sure she knew the risks when she used iconic figures like Mandela to promote her album. She is right and she is wrong. If there is freedom of speech, surely there must be freedom of social media (which is a murky territory). It boils down to carefully considering what you post, but not with the constant sword over your head.
The best way to judge a photograph posted on social media is by two things — intent and action. I don’t believe Madonna’s intent was to hurt people, but in action, I am sure it is disrespectful in many ways. When I post a photograph, I am careful of the way it will be received by others. Honestly, I don’t like to forward photographs of celebrities with strange captions; not that I have a problem with it, but rarely have I seen the humour in it. The minute it causes harm to those involved or those who truly believe in them, it’s uncalled for. It’s never about the photog-raph as much as it’s about the intent or the tone of the person posting it.
Of course, there is a line that needs to be drawn while using social media. In fact, celebrities should be a lot more responsible when using it. Freedom of expression is the flavour of this week. But that comes along with a code of conduct; with responsibility. Madonna quoting Mandela’s and King’s work/views isn’t bad. What’s in bad taste is that she customised their pictures to suite her needs (injecting in people’s mind that she and they are at the same level). While posting pictures, I believe in no plagiarism (I quote the author/source). I’m responsible for what I post and ensure that it is not in a bad taste.