Lessons to be learnt from "The Kiruba Backlash"

Honestly speaking, I never knew what had happened until I saw SpyMaami's tweet that read

This Kiruba backlash is missing The Mad Momma. Where is she?
And then started my digging into Social Media Archives on what happened.
(Its a shame that I am getting to it after such a long time)

The tweet in question was this.

And this what triggered the "Kiruba-Massacre" on Twitter. What actually happened was that people sidelined the main issue of "a child driving a car on the highway" and resorted to personal attacks. One called Kiruba a "village idiot". One blogger from Singapore, hit below the belt with this comment.
#ThisDayThatAge Kiruba rises to fame putting up Trisha video. Trisha vows to never take bath again. He becomes Blogger#1. Trisha endorses Fa
Going by the volume of tweets on Twitter, it was clear, Kiruba was being hounded. A lot of people did not like him. A LOT is actually an understatement. The animosity that they (the people) had against him, manifested itself in tweets that can be classified from #nauseating to #outrightedlyDisgusting.

For a small duration of time on 20th April, #Kiruba was trending twitter. Kiruba did not waste his time trying to explain his action, but rather after the incident, he put up a blog post that said he was trying to get his kids learn by involvement. He called it Involvement Learning. The problem was that this did not go down well with others. They were outraged further. Check out the comments section of the page for some really rude/vengeful comments.

He later posted a tongue-in-cheek photo, that sure had many of his trolls red in the face. His tweet read -
Photo of my 9 year old daughter riding a bike all by herself.
And the picture he put up was -

Agreed. What Kiruba did is wrong. He issued an apology and tweeted about it. He took all the jokes and blogposts and tweets pretty casually. How many of the trolls can do that ? Don't tell me, he'd better take them casually, because he was on the wrong side. How many of us apologise when we are on the wrong side ?

I do not understand and I do not wish to know what these people had against Kiruba. It had to be something personal for sure, because when I see people like Navin Kabra write up a blog post like this, I am surprised. This incident went on to spawn some more crazy stuff like the one here. One more cartoon is re-produced below, that has Kiruba himself taking it pretty well and commenting on it first. Taken from BollyGlot.

And the joke seems to be quite funny to many a people, who are spawning more nauseating stuff. I feel sick. Not because I cannot stand it, its because people are acting so immature and sadistic. Well, Kiruba made a mistake. He owned up. As one of the tweeters(@logic) said in response to a tweet by @beastoftraal who said that Kiruba should issue an explanation.
@beastoftraal well d problem i see is he accepts mistakes very late.Untill strangled he says "My rabbit has only 3 legs" & am right #kiruba
My point here is that atleast he accepts his mistake. There are hundreds of other totally wacky and arrogant tweeters, who go scot free. I've personally seen some tweeters go 'beep-beep-beep' on twitter. That's perfectly fine right ?

It brought out a new tag. #notlegalbutsafe. But I have this one question to ask all these people out there, who were making fun of Kiruba with this tag...
#Have you never paid a bribe to any government officer anywhere, under any circumstances ?
#Have you never bought/read a pirated book ? Ever ? Not even online ?
#Have you booked/registered your plot for full value in any of the registrar offices in India ?
#Have you ever sold/exchanged/travelled on a ticket meant for someone else, expecting the TTR not to check your e-ticket ?
#Did you buy gold at GRT or Tanishq or Kalyan without the bill so that you would not have to pay the Tax ?
I have more questions to ask, but am restricting myself here. If the answer to any one of these questions is Yes, Then, Can I say that the #notlegalbutsafe tag is applicable to you too as well ?

I am not on any side here. I am not supporting Kiruba. Nor am I accusing him. He made the mistake of admitting to a mistake on a social forum, and look how they hound him.

And it is only natural, that a person's past also comes up on occassions like these. Kiruba was earlier involved in a Wikipedia incident which was blown out of proportions, offline and online as well. Kiruba has blogged about it here. And Wiki has issued its clarification here.

So why is Kiruba being targeted ?
#Can I say that people are just jealous that someone has made it big - has a widely followed blog, is an entrepreneur and has so many followers on Twitter and Facebook ?
#Have people become trolls on the Internet, that all they care is to find some bakra whom they can trash ?
[Most of the tweeters who were trashing Kiruba had such pathetic spellings that I felt, that, when confronted, these people would give excuses citing their mobile "un-comfi-ness" as a reason]
#Is being Rude and Nasty the "In-Thing" on the Internet ? Is it the instant fame ? But is there really glory in this ?

Coming to the Gyaan part of the incident. Here are the learnings.
#Do not mix Personal and Professional Life.
Am not sure, how much of Kiruba's professional life was affected by this incident but am sure it would have been significant.

I do understand that at some point of time, mixing Personal and Professional life becomes unavoidable. They come as part of the package. But things like, Going to The Mall, Travelling to Hyderabad for a personal trip, Going Abroad for a holiday can be avoided as much as possible, if unable to eliminate such an event. If you really want to inform, use the mailbox or auto-mailers. And you know pretty well, if its really really important, the news will reach you, no matter what.

#Avoid having too much of your Personal/Professional life online.
As a matter of fact, I do not have details of the organization where I work, online ANYWHERE. It really becomes a pain, when you cannot be yourself anywhere online. You cannot rant on it on your blog. You cannot put it up as a status on your FB or Twitter for fear of your employer reading it. Have a compartment, where someone sees only what they should be able to see. Set up lists/ Use such mechanisms to keep things in place.

#Take criticism graciously. When you can't, keep your mouth shut.
The trolls feed on what you provide them with. You don't feed the fire, it dies out pretty soon. And when you are in deep-shit, accept it graciously and move on. Shit Happens.

#Be nice to people. Either way you move - horizontal or vertical. You might need their help.
People turn into trolls mainly because we could not help them in some way or we were rude to them in past (for some trivial reason) or we refused a request from them. People remember things for a long time, when their egos are hurt. So remember not to ruffle too many feathers during your climb.

#Do not rant about your mistakes on Social Media
These days every Tom Dick and Hari calls himself a Social Media Evangelist/Observer/Enthusiast. Everybody has "found" out the way Social Media works. Your one tweet is going to stay longer with the presence of tools like TwitLonger and archiving tools like IceRocket. With the ubiquitousness of Internet on Smartphones, everybody is connected online. Just imagine this, Being on twitter is like sending out an email to 10,000 of your colleagues - except for the fact that it is restricted to 140 characters. Would you send out a mail highlighting how you bypassed the proxy :)... Or would you tell the world, how you found porn on a colleague's shared folder ? It's something akin to that.

#Be Alert/Responsible.
What you say in jest can be used against you later. And it will only be in an incriminating sense. We've seen cases in the past where people lost jobs because of status updates on Facebook and Twitter. Hence be totally aware of the direction in which your tweet is going to take you.

Remember, It only takes a tweet - To Trend. #Fame or #epicFail. That's your choice.

Today it is Kiruba. Tomorrow it could be you. Better get some lessons from Kiruba on how to handle backlash, they might come in handy.

Friday, April 22, 2011 by Hari
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