A rundown on the role of social media in lending the not-so-deserving a star status within no time, making them an overnight sensation…

  • 07 Apr - 13 Apr, 2018
  • Ambreen Asim
  • Spotlight

There used to be a time when becoming an actor was like climbing a mountain, when aspiring actors would join the long queues outside the one and only PTV station dreaming to achieve a star status. The selection process was famous for being the toughest, as it used to give sleepless nights to the contenders, and that was the very reason, perhaps, that Pakistan television gave birth to the finest actors like Noman Ejaz, Tauqeer Nasir, Babra Sharif, Sadaf Pervez, Roohi Bano, Saleem Nasir, Shakeel, Qavi Khan… the list is endless with the names who went on to become legends in their own ways.

Fast forward to the digital era when we stepped into the age of internet that brought with it a lot of advancements along with a lot of nuisances… amongst them, one is the way social media is used to mislead the gullible masses.

The world of internet is glamorous and gruesome at the same time. Glamorous, because it has become so easy for all the new sensations to interact with whoever they want without any third party involved (read real media). Gruesome, because it gives every Tom, Dick, and Harry a gazillion opportunities to appear everywhere on social media, sharing mindless and meaningless posts, thus, making the other side suffer in silence.

I have always called internet ‘a haystack’, and if that wasn’t enough, here comes social media. For months I have been exploring vocab (again, on the internet) to coin a proper term for the wizard, but to no avail. Such is the difficulty! But yes, ‘wizard’ also does good to the purpose, nai?

I am, in no way, undermining the role of social media that keeps me glued to it (if I ever get some free time), as I am also an ardent follower of various celebrities, but I make sure that I follow the real ones. It does not mean that there exist any ghost stars but I do believe that there are some who are given the status of a star for all the wrong reasons. Yes, ‘for wrong reasons’, and I believe in the notion so much so that I have started feeling the need of a (social) media police so that people can easily differentiate between the real stars and the ones wrongly celebrated by the online world.

If there is someone reading this and does not agree, I have got myself covered. Film star Reema seems to be nodding to my viewpoint. Here is what she had to say in one of the recent interviews she gave to an English daily:

“Now, just through social media, you can become very popular. In our times, we didn’t have these facilities. We had to struggle to simply see our picture published in the papers. You were only invited to a channel once you had achieved something. There’re so many opportunities and so much competition now that the quality (of work) has deteriorated somewhere.”

She went on to say, “I know there are different kinds of highs and lows for every era but I have no reservations in saying that I see many popular faces (today) but I don’t see a single superstar. A superstar goes beyond social media.”

Hey Reema, I want to reciprocate here. You are right in every way that a superstar goes beyond social media and that may be the very reason we don't have real superstars anymore. What we have today is the outcome of never-ending list of posts with whatever-comes-to-mind hashtags where writing correct English is the last wordly thing to care about.

My dearest diva did not stop here, as she went on to say, “They’re very talented, loving and confident but they didn’t start their careers as teenagers (like I did). They started out after completing their education, have had personal ups and downs and are mature. They didn’t have to struggle for a chance.”

Point noted Reema ji. When you don't struggle for anything, you start taking things for granted. In their case, the stage is set… and the audience is right there, who does not care about any show of talent… but does care about what is on show.

There is no denying the fact that social media can only give you the freedom to introduce yourself to the masses and it is everyone’s right to use it for their sake, be it for their entrance or survival in the entertainment industry. What is disturbing is the fact that the masses are being bombarded with faces that are beautiful but expressionless, bodies without souls and talent without any meaning. Yes, what would you call the talent of flashing a luxurious life in a nifty way… showing off, right? I don't have any better word to describe the euphoria that comes from posting unnecessary details and then calling yourselves “stars”.

I believe that these people (I am not calling them stars) need to be a little sensitive and act responsibly. If we take into account their massive fan following, even if it is in the form of a few thousand self-acquired accounts and followers, that is enough to make their (again, self-acquired) fame get to their heads, make them entitled to a bindaas attitude and lend them the status of the fittest to keep afloat in the industry.

No matter how much I write against the use of social media to propagate yourself as a star, one thing that I can't change is the way people think. In a society, as deprived as ours, people want and need to experience glamour in every way possible. And some wannabes are quenching their thirst in every way, getting a star status in return.

So, all is (not) well that ends well!

The Wring List of The Wrongs

Here is the list of all the wrong reasons why people follow fake stars completely unaware of their status in the entertainment industry:

• When the travel itinerary to a goddamn island is shared leaving people in awe of their luxurious life.

• When sporting designer stuff is only to make girls (and boys) swoon over.

• When a pair of Ray Ban sunnies, or a Swarovski watch, a Prada bag, or Jimmy Choo heels, make people go gaga over them.

• When flashing snaps of indulgences at high-end restaurants is an utmost priority. Food? Really? Isn't it petty?

• When spoofing in a gym suit becomes a necessity to be ‘hot’ on the devilish media’s radar.

• When sharing musical moments in the coziness of your chauffeur-driven car becomes an obsession rather than a dose of enjoyment.

• Did I mention one hit drama to their credit?