Social media is a big thing in Bangalore Turf Club and the members of the club have been making free use of the same to air their grievances, score a point over their rivals, pressurize the authorities to take a decision or to even malign each other. The BTC members have created several Whatsup groups to carry on this job of running down those belonging to the other groups.
Most of the messages convey one`s anger or frustration. All one must do is to send a message to somebody jobless and he will take over, ensuring that the message is sent all over India. Several names come to my mind, but everyone in BTC knows who I am talking about. While social media has brought power back to the people as the medium gave voice to the voiceless people, there are pitfalls also. The flip side of it is that it is stealing everyone`s valuable time without anyone acknowledging it. It has become a veritable battleground, where insults fly from the human shudder, damaging reputations, destroying self-esteem and a person`s sense of self-worth. People tend to take things on social media at face value. Earnestness is only an assumption as somebody put it aptly.
The Whatsup became overactive last year in BTC and was effectively used by the members who were out to score a point over their rivals. The BTC is the battleground where the modern-day Mahabharata is played out. The members are like the Kauravas who not only want to destroy themselves but also others in the process. When the Managing Committee of the Club decided to reappoint the retired secretary as the CEO last year, some of the members who were against it because of personal reasons, went to court. When the court upheld the appointment, they had no dignity to accept the verdict but instead tried to find various means including social media to run down the administrators and foisting imaginary conspiracy theories. The moral fibre of these members was so low that many of those indulging in this were with a questionable background. The present chairman of the club also showed that he was weak on this quotient when he lied on oath about a general body resolution to the court when no such resolution had been adopted.
In BTC, all that is required to scare the Managing Committee from taking any decision or to force them to favour their own supporters is to get active on the social media. Even before any action is taken, make wild charges so that the authorities are put on the backfoot. While many good things have happened because it has prevented the authorities from doing their usual share of questionable transactions, it has also resulted in policy paralysis. So much so that the authorities are afraid of being accused of conspiracy or taking a cut if any decision is taken. This has come about because of the moral turpitude among the Managing Committee members who themselves are not above board. This year, due to unfortunate circumstances, we have had the worst committee who have no clue how to handle things. While some have their own agenda, the rest know only about the agenda sent to them which they don`t even read! The majority think they just have to appear suited and not required to do anything else. This is the reason why one or two get away with all kinds of selfish and possibly even profitable actions. Nobody is bothered about the prestige and image of the sport or the club despite getting their identity from their position they hold in the club. Most of them are faceless outside of the race course.
Since most of the social media messages on Whatsup comes like a forward, it is difficult to trace the original source. As a result, it is difficult to identify the creators of these messages. So, it becomes easy to target anyone by sending unethical messages and trying to create a false impression about the origin of the message.
Before the advent of Whatsup, the Bangalore Turf Club members were famous for writing anonymous letters maligning each other during election time or when they felt they were wronged. Or simply to score a point. Now Whatsup has made things easy as the earlier laborious process of writing a letter, paste the address and then posting them has been bypassed because of Whatsup.
I have been a witness to one incident where a few members whom I don`t want to identify wrote an anonymous letter to the members of the club, attaching the complaint of an official who had been slapped by a member. Because the matter got wide publicity, the said member, despite all the influence he had, was suspended for six months under the Rules of Racing as in BTC the Managing Committee cannot act on any member under the Articles of the Association. Interestingly, the ones involved in the anonymous letter and the victim have since become great partners and are at the helm of fouling the atmosphere now. In politics, you don`t have permanent enemies or friends. There are only permanent self-interests. To put it more aptly, in politics ``We have no lasting friends; no lasting enemies, only lasting self-interests.``
The BTC members have given a new meaning to the social media by distorting the way it should be used. The medium has been used by the BTC members just to yell at each and not really conversing or involving themselves in a meaningful dialogue. The social media in BTC is not a means of connecting but a way of disconnecting from each other. When someone is anonymous, it opens the door to all kinds of anti-social and distasteful behaviour.