Dubai: Four words and hashtag. That’s all it took for a Twitter user to prove that social media can be a tool to bring people together and spread love.
Indian author Shivam, who tweets under the handle @shivamnow, shared a picture from his wedding day and wrote: “We met on Twitter. #twitterlovestory”
The short and sweet tweet received a lot of love online, with thousands of ‘likes’ and retweets on Twitter.
Speaking about the reaction he received to the tweet, Shivam, who does not use his last name because of his disassociation with caste and religion, told Gulf News that it proved that people wanted to believe in the power of good.
He said: “So many people retweeting it made me realise how much they connect with the idea of a relationship that can grow over a social media platform. I am sure almost all of us have been through a phase like this where we have made a good online friend but couldn’t manage to take it to the next step. I was quite lucky to take this step, thanks to my partner and the efforts she made to help us grow.”
His wife, Bhawna, who also does not use a last name for similar reasons, has been a partner in his growth ever since he self-published his first book.
“It started with a tweet about my first ever published Kindle book on religion and science,” he said.
After she liked the tweet, things took off. However, their journey together was anything but easy.
“It has been a roller coaster ride with a lot of learning, efforts and commitment. From being in two different parts of India to finally getting jobs in a single city, we both made consistent efforts to spend more time together and understand each other better. And this journey saw me publish two self help books which recieved an amazing response from people across India and abroad, being a speaker and counslellor for many to improve their life. Bhawna too saw a great jump in her career followed by pursuing her dream of becoming a food photographer and blogger.
“Other than that, we too have had our share of problems and difficulties but we always stuck to one major philosophy - stick to the relationship no matter what happens, consistent effort is the key.”
The numbers on hate
However, incidents like Shivam’s tweet are few and far between. Over the years, various studies have noted the rise in hate speech on social media platforms. Media marketing company Cision documented a 600 per cent increase in the amount of intolerant and hate speech in social media postings by Canadians between November 2015 and November 2016. UK’s Cardiff University is even planning to start a HateLab research programme to look at ‘trigger’ events like terrorism and Brexit and how they may motivate hate crimes.
Look the other way
Shivam, however, feels that those looking for personal growth and happiness are better off ignoring the negativity.
“Like everything else in this world, Twitter too has its pros and cons. It gives us an amazing chance to meet so many people across the world, share countless ideologies and learn about new things every day. Yes, there has been an increasing trend of spewing hatred on all social media platforms but it’s most often propaganda driven induced by someone in power. The best we can do is ignore such things or make logical decisions and judgement rather than just believing what we are fed,” he said.
Shivam did believe, though, that a small amount of hatred was spewed because people had not learnt how to respectfully disagree.
“Even in the case of my tweet, most of the people who liked and shared the tweet had good words to say. Some, however, made some ugly remarks that clearly indicated that they were coming from a different line of thought than mine. And that’s perfectly fine. I strongly believe that difference is what makes us unique and special in our own ways, and I am always up to hear different views and thoughts. That’s what helps me grow.”