Bringing the Reel Into The Real: How Indians Are Getting Sucked Into This New Feature

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Instagram Reels
Image by Solen Feyissa from Pixabay

A 15 second viral Instagram reel by Bollywood’s heartthrob Vicky Kaushal on the #dontrushchallenege got all the ‘enthu cutlets’ on their toes to try out the challenge themselves. Each #dontrushchallenge reel was unique in its own way with a variety of moves, use of props and different concepts. This challenge is currently taking Instagram reels by a storm. But this is not the only ongoing trend, there are many similar challenges like this which are bringing about a huge change in the way users are using Instagram, both for good and bad. Confused? Let’s try to understand. 

Gone are the days when social media was just about updating your friends’ circle about important events of your life. The way netizens consume and use social media platforms today has evolved unequivocally. Presently, using social media is not just about giving out important life updates, it’s more about going viral and becoming a social media star overnight, especially for the youth. 

Further, social media apps rolling out features like IG TV and Instagram Reels have converted consumers into prosumers. Today, every social media user is also a content creator.  This said all kinds of content are being created by anyone and everyone having access to the internet based on their individual creativity, cognizance, and understanding of the difference between right wrong and acceptable unacceptable. Instagram reels has all the more provided the youth with a platform to create short videos without the need for much effort and expertise. All you need is a creative, fun and entertaining idea to get started. 

Prior to the rollout of Instagram Reels, Tik Tok was a frenzy, but only among the lower- middle and lower section of the society. Once Reels was launched on Instagram, for a short while there was a class divide where people belonging to the middle and upper-middle section of the society began using Reels to create short videos. This divide however lasted for a short duration as the ban of Tik Tok in India saw a massive shift of all the Indian Tik Tokkers to Reels leading to the mix of all kinds of content on the platform. 

Instagram Reels is now a storehouse of heaps of videos, some worthy of being called ‘content’ while some being pure crap. Every other day, there is a new trend and a flock of users following it blindfoldedly, not even once questioning the sensibility or the point of that trend, because “it is all for fun”. But here is the thing, all trends cannot be taken up as accepted. When you laugh over something that is simply mean and disrespectful, you grant your endorsement to it, making others in your circle do the same. An example of this would be the trend where one has just splashes water or even worse spits water on someone’s face. The purse challenge is also one such example where one hits a purse and bags on someone’s face pretending it to be a mistake. There are many such “challenges” that are currently going around on the platforms which are not only not funny and stupid, but are highly disrespectful, uncivilized and offensive.  

Carrying out pranks is on the rise due to Instagram Reels. While some pranks are definitely funny, some are harmful and offensive and you and I both should be guilty of finding them funny and even worse sharing it with our friends or on our social media stories. 

Sure social media has become a platform to demonstrate talents and a breeding ground of opportunities, but it is important to keep in mind that while we do certain things for fun, we don’t encourage/promote something immoral or let it cause any harm to ourselves and others. 

Besides the prank challenges, there are also a number of immoral trends which users are engaging in, the most common of them being the “flashing my boyfriend/girlfriend to see their reaction” trend. This trend is followed by not just teens but also well-matured adults. Converting something sexual like this into a fun trend just speaks of where we are headed as a society. While flashing might be a fun and goofy activity for couples, there is certainly no need of bringing it online for audiences coming from different backgrounds. By following such trends we are forming a narrative that deems it okay to conduct and act however one wishes, online. Furthermore, posting such videos unnecessarily that doesn’t benefit anyone in any way is also incorrectly redefining our meaning of fun and entertainment. 

On the brighter side, there are reels that are not just entertaining but also educational in nature. Many influencers today are making use of reels to show their followers/audiences various beauty/fashion/makeup hacks. In addition to this, health coaches, nutritionists and doctors as well have taken to reels to create short health videos to help people get rid of minor ailments and health concerns. Similarly, travel bloggers have also found a quick way to connect with their audience and give out short pieces of updates about new places creatively. 

Instagram Reels is indeed a unique and one of the most loved features among users, but it is up to us to put it to better use. We all have become content creators today by the grace of these new features of social media apps, and thus we must remember the most trendy commandment that the professional content creators never forget, i.e, “content is king”. While the number of like, shares, comments, tags and also saves have an impact on the growth of your popularity online, it is also essential we mindfully create content with the best of interest and moral responsibilty in our mind. 

So the next time you hit like or post anything, make sure you are aware of the worthiness of the content you are putting out.  

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