Akash Nihalani checks out how our stars are using social media to make the world a better place
Thanks to the rise of social media, it is easier than ever before for Bollywood stars to connect with their fans. Everyone with a smartphone is using some form of social media. Interestingly, it’s slowly taking the place of traditional media as a reliable and a convenient way to get real news. Our stars have recognised it as a marketing tool to increase their popularity. While social media has emerged as the numero uno platform to promote their films and events, some stars are recognising it as a tool to spread goodness. They have used it to promote social causes, to talk about pertinent issues cropping up in the society, and have even boosted positivity in these dark times. We certainly need to tap the power of social media for altruistic reasons. We celebrate the charitable spirit of the denizens of tinsel town by making a list of Good Samaritans who have used social media for the greater good.PRIYANKA CHOPRAPromoting small businessesThe COVID-19 pandemic is something that has caused devastation across the world. While the financial slowdown is common across every country, small business owners, in particular, have been severely affected. They simply don’t have the financial wherewithal to battle through tough times like these. Keeping their condition in mind, global superstar Priyanka Chopra decided to do her bit in order to help them. The actress announced that she’d be using her social media page to promote women founded small businesses each week from India as well as the United States, that are battling the wrath of the pandemic. The actress made the announcement by sharing a video on her account along with a statement that read, “We all know that people around the world have been incredibly affected by this pandemic, and that includes small business owners. My heart really breaks to see these businesses shutting down or letting go of loyal, hardworking employees. So, I really want to highlight some female-founded businesses that we can all support, and hopefully help them get back on their feet” So far, Priyanka has given shoutouts to a variety of businesses ranging from fashion labels to rural handicrafts companies.
Kartik AaryanSerenading real-life heroesDuring the pandemic, one actor who was constantly focussing on the positive side of things was Kartik Aaryan. His social media account was filled with several hilarious memes and even a coronavirus rap which brought a smile to people’s faces. Apart from this, he came up with a new series for his Youtube channel – Koki Poochega. In the series, Kartik got chatting with the real-life heroes of COVID-19 of our country including doctors, policemen, social workers and people who’d fought and survived the fatal virus. Through this the actor not only showed that he was genuinely interested in learning more about the country’s battle against COVID-19 but also increased awareness among the common folk about coronavirus thanks to his massive popularity. The actor also managed to add a dash of humour, which he’s known for, to set the conversation rolling.Deepika PadukoneFighting depressionDeepika Padukone is one of the actresses who has had the courage to openly talk about her fight with depression. The condition of being depressed is often looked upon as someone who’s just ‘constantly sad’ but the issue is much larger than that. Our lack of empathy towards those going through mental issues forces them to go further into a cocoon and possibly never ever open up about their condition. Deepika, who has fought this battle herself, through her social media page has tried to encourage people to speak up about their feelings. On her Instagram page, Deepika Padukone created a separate section named ‘Guides’ which basically is a compilation made from a series of posts from her own account. Through this, Deepika encourages those suffering from poor mental health to take up activities like meditation and exercise, connect with loved ones and embrace their own uniqueness.
Deepika also started the hashtag “#NotAshamed” to prevent people, who are suffering from depression, from feeling low about themselves.
Dia MirzaCaring for the environmentDia Mirza has been the face of several pivotal environmental campaigns across India and is one who has always voiced her opinion regarding the need to take a stand for the environment. Her work saw her being appointed as the UN Environment’s Goodwill Ambassador for India. During the lockdown, Dia started her very own web series titled Down To Earth With Dee. In her first episode, she chatted with her Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein co-star R. Madhavan. In the following episodes, Dia not only spoke to her Bollywood contemporaries who shared her love for the environment but also played hosts to environmentalists such as Pradeep Sangwan (Founder of Healing Himalayas foundation) and Vivek Menon (Founder and CEO of Wildlife Trust of India).
Spreading empathy towards animalsAlia Bhatt is one of the most loved actresses in the country. This love is not only for the brilliance she delivers on screen but also for her kind-hearted nature. The actress shares deep compassion for animals and even started her own social media page ‘Co-exist’ which highlights the efforts being made towards the welfare of animals and the environment. Every pet owner must be familiar with the horror that a festival like Diwali brings upon their little friends at home. The noise pollution, especially in metropolitan cities, is off the charts and this severely affects the sensitive hearing of pets. Keeping the situation in mind, Alia Bhatt shared a video in which she kickstarted the #PoochOverPataka campaign. If the hashtag didn’t make it evident enough, the campaign was an attempt to get people to choose pooch i.e their pet animals at home (dogs, cats) over firecrackers. Through the video, Alia encouraged others to share a selfie with their pooch (pet animal) to display their support for the cause. Alia’s popularity on social media paired with the kind thought behind the campaign made it an instant hit. The hashtag saw a flurry of pictures and videos where people pledged to pick their pooch over pataka.Sonakshi SinhaRaising awareness about cyberbullyingSocial media was our source for news, entertainment and during the lockdown, it became pretty much the only way to stay connected with the world. However, this also led to the spread of negativity on online. In fact, Sonakshi Sinha was so fed up with trolls that she ended up quitting Twitter. She then decided to do much more than just delete her account. The actress launched a campaign named ‘Ab Bas’ with an aim to putting an end to cyberbullying. The actress teamed up with Pratap Dighavkar- Special IGP Maharashtra Police and started the campaign which was backed by the organisation Mission Josh. The campaign focused on how trolls target others, especially women, without the fear of any consequences. During the campaign, Sonakshi Sinha took part in several online discussions with women who’re greatly reputed in their respective fields. The campaign set an example for trolls online when they managed to arrest 27-year-old Shashikant Jadhav from Aurangabad. Sonakshi confirmed the same with a statement that read, “I am immensely grateful to cybercrime branch Mumbai for taking prompt action and being so supportive. I took this step to report the culprits so that even others gather the courage to do the same. Ab Bas, we will not watch and allow online abuse to happen to us or others. I am extremely glad to be part of a campaign like this to help as many people as I can, who have been subjected to online harassment.”