Santosh Pandit Hate Groups and Memes: Online Ethnography of Social Media

In the interaction with members of hate groups, what became evident was that memes served multiple purposes, depending more on the viewer’s prior knowledge of the person/event spoofed.At the same time, no one identified the term “meme” or “meming” (a relatively new term for many of my respondents) in our conversations. On the other hand, they described the act of meming as an extension of their everyday Facebook activity where it featured as what they called padam (picture) with “dialogues”… The intensity of circulation of these memes was such that even the fan’s groups widely shared memes brought out by the hate groups…

On Public Secrets, Forensics, and the Sting Fearing Virus

Corruption as many have pointed out, is a classic template for the ‘public secret’: that which insists on being commonly coded but cannot be enframed within official public narratives. The video sting short-circuits this logic – by hyper-playing the secretive act/gesture in loop ad nauseum across media platforms. The mundane act of corruption, otherwise part of one’s everyday, gets immediately recharged into an active moment of desecration. Institutions that aren’t routinely sacred suddenly get charged and re-sacralized when faced with the crisis of defacement. It is this ‘drama of revelation” that activates outrage (and subsequently the media event)…

Toward a history of consumption and circulation of media content – part one

…I want to highlight (right at the beginning) the importance of services and repair shops and the figure of ‘technician’ in such shops as a connecting thread to weave together different experiential accounts into a coherent story. From the days of radio and sound systems, technicians played a key role in facilitating media consumption. From public transmission of information to setting up of required apparatus to reach out to a large gathering during political speeches, staging of plays and other cultural events, technician and his support team were instrumental in producing any media experience in those days…

The Function of the Interface

There are however, two interesting differences between the Interface and other mediums like cinema and comic. Interface is neither produced, nor consumed linearly. It may use techniques from storytelling but it behaves very similar to Architecture. It has a structure and structure is more often hierarchical. A user navigates this structure based on their motivation towards visiting the site… This brings me to the Second point, which is the power equation between the media and its consumer.

Revolution YouTube

Azaan Javaid, now a journalist, was a student in 2008. With a handicam at home, Azaan began recording videos of protests along with his cousin, who had recently come from the US. It was his cousin’s idea that these videos be uploaded on YouTube. The duo started one of the earliest YouTube channels from Kashmir regarding the protests. And, as these videos spread, the confidence of the protesters grew. At the same time, a few ‘communities’ had sprung up in the Google-owned Orkut. Facebook was still not very popular…

Rural Social Media – A Meta-Digital Divide

Of all the progenies of contemporary technological development, Digital Divide fascinates me the most. Its iatrogeny — problem inducing ways of problem solving — and capacity to reinvent is matched only by a few other problems of our age. Many scholars have tried to reconceptualise digital divide as a socio-technical problem, by pointing out the continuum of gradations between the information haves and have-nots, still there are several nuances left to be grasped…

‘Lahore is a lot like Delhi': Digital Discourse on Histories and Places across the Border

I am interested in seeking answers for the following questions: Why does it matter for these younger generations to document and, in so doing, relate to memories of Partition? What is the impact of this desire to understand Partition on modern Indian/Pakistani/’South Asian’ identity? What is the impact of the digital space and new media technologies on our relationship with history? How do we imagine the ‘lost’ spaces and times of our ancestors?

Decoding the Big Indian Sting

I revisit the inaugural moment of Tehelka’s Operation Westend. Journalists Mathew Samuels and Anirudh Bahal, posing as arms dealers from a fictitious London-based company called West End International hawked a non-existent Defense product called ‘hand-held thermal cameras’ to the Indian government by bribing several ministers and top-level bureaucrats… This post also contains excerpts of interviews conducted with … [technicians] to outline common technical practices the ‘industry’ follows in carefully constructing and packaging sting operations.

Alternative Media: An Agent and of Change in Kashmir

In conflicts like one in Kashmir, news and information gets buried due to the pressure from conflicting parties, collusion of the news sources with the various agencies or simply because of the lack of will to explore. With the social media, the chances of the burial of the information reduce…

On that small mobile phone shop in your street corner

I began fieldwork in selected market areas … of Bangalore to observe the mobile phone usage of vegetable vendors, street peddlers etc. I regularly visit these streets … and build rapport with potential informants. I document my observations and follow the leads that I gather when speaking to these users about the types of phones they use, the peripherals and accessories they buy along with the phone, the costs they pay for accessing the Internet, their modes of consumption of media content etc.