digital indians

Do you show yourself at your best in your social feed? You're still revealing more than you think

Our vast digital footprint is being analysed closely by marketers studying consumer behaviour.

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Social media feeds are all about the meticulous art of curation – be it an expression of joy, a tribute to friends and family, philosophical realisations or simply entertaining GIFs.

To data analysts, each post provides a larger picture of human behaviour and the culture of the user’s environment.

“Future historians won’t have to rely on manuscripts, newspapers, legal docs, faded diary entries, crumbling archives – we’re writing the first draft of everything right now,” says data specialist Angad Chowdhry in his TedX speech above.

Of course, our vast digital footprint, which is uploaded every second, runs the risk of being reduced to pie charts and numbers by digital marketers studying consumer behaviour.

But will this reveal the truth about us? Chowdhry explains that social media posts are not as open as they may seem – users filter their images and videos in a way they want their friends to see it. It is an act of control. “It’s an act of aggressive framing,” he said.

But at the same time, says Chowdhry, who specialises in cultural semiotics and digital ethnography, it is possible to see past these carefully constructed images by looking for subtle slips.

The more aggressively one controls one’s digital uploads, the more one allows details to slip out. It’s not unlike the proverbial “slip of the tongue” on the part of the discreet.

To illustrate his point, Chowdhury discusses what he found after combing through 10,000 images uploaded from the city of Gurugram. One of the big clusters was of images of men working out and showing off their guns. But when they weren’t flexing their muscles, their hands were in their pockets.

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Watch Ruchir's journey: A story that captures the impact of accessible technology

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“Technology can be a great leveller”, affirms Ruchir Falodia, Social Media Manager, TATA CLiQ. Out of the many qualities that define Ruchir as a person, one that stands out is that he is an autodidact – a self-taught coder and lover of technology.

Ruchir’s story is one that humanises technology - it has always played the role of a supportive friend who would look beyond his visual impairment. A top ranker through school and college, Ruchir would scan course books and convert them to a format which could be read out to him (in the absence of e-books for school). He also developed a lot of his work ethos on the philosophy of Open Source software, having contributed to various open source projects. The access provided by Open Source, where users could take a source code, modify it and distribute their own versions of the program, attracted him because of the even footing it gave everyone.

That is why I like being in programming. Nobody cares if you are in a wheelchair. Whatever be your physical disability, you are equal with every other developer. If your code works, good. If it doesn’t, you’ll be told so.

— Ruchir.

Motivated by the objectivity that technology provided, Ruchir made it his career. Despite having earned degree in computer engineering and an MBA, friends and family feared his visual impairment would prove difficult to overcome in a work setting. But Ruchir, who doesn’t like quotas or the ‘special’ tag he is often labelled with, used technology to prove that differently abled persons can work on an equal footing.

As he delved deeper into the tech space, Ruchir realised that he sought to explore the human side of technology. A fan of Agatha Christie and other crime novels, he wanted to express himself through storytelling and steered his career towards branding and marketing – which he sees as another way to tell stories.

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It was important for Ruchir to get rid of the sympathetic lens through which others saw him. His story serves as a message of reassurance to other differently abled persons and abolishes some of the fears, doubts and prejudices present in families, friends, employers or colleagues.

To know more about Ruchir’s journey, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Uber and not by the Scroll editorial team.