11 April 2018

April Poetry Month Day 11 Poem: Astroturfers

For today's poem, I chose Dictionary.com's word of the day astroturfing. I studied the word and realized that how relevant it is in the context of the Facebook data leak to win elections, Cambridge Analytica scandal and fake news presented as originated from the grassroots.

I've tried to express my feelings as an individual social media user, how innocently we create profiles on social media, like, comment and how it's proved to be the goldmine of personal data for politicians. Please note that the poem is based on the data scandal revelations.

The poem is not against or about any particular political party in India. The same pattern of data abuse has happened in many other countries and used by political parties of the respective countries. I would request you to read the poem in a broader context. 

The viral message you just forwarded
came to you as a viral forward
with a threat to your existence,
provoking you
to join the fight for your community, 
to forward the fire to more people
was.........
manufactured, did you know?

Text image for April Poetry Month Day 11 Poem: Astroturfers


It wasn't a spontaneous concern by your friend
to save your community
It wasn't a news reaching you as a truth
It was manufactured!

Yes, it was manufactured to trick you into
believing fake news by burying the truth under it
you might not know it,
your friend might not know it
You're just tricked

In a giant firm where you're profiled 
with your innate fears displayed 
You are categorized 
To provoke you invoking your fears
and strategies are formulated to lure you
To jump into the burning fire

Your likes, your dislikes
Your concerns, your aspirations,
Your thoughts which shaped your identity,
The potential you possess which might be profitable for them
Are profiled discretely

Then, the message was curated for you,
fit in your category zone

agreeable, not agreeable
provokable, not provokable
and the timeline of your activities 
reflecting your genuine self
put you in one profile zone

And the message was sent to you

You feel agitated reading the message,
Yes, that's what they had designed

You're outraged with that forwarded news
Yes, that's what they expected to happen

You believed their astroturfing
They knew you'll believe them

They, the astroturfers knew it
from your footprints on social media
revealing your vulnerabilities
collected and categorized
for the astroturfers

Today, your inner self 
you left on social media
unknowingly is wealth of data
in the new world of data war
you're the product and you're the consumer
of your own activities and feelings
and you beyond your name, beliefs, desires
are just data.

Your emotions are traded with your emotions
You're deceived by lures of 'free' use
You're manipulated to do activities
you're unaware of consequences

The mass movement you believed 
was an illusion 
the mass was formed by bots
and astroturfers

Where are they today?
In power! and where is the movement
you supported?
In trash!

The person you're made to believe as your leader
is exploiting your emotions and aspirations
for their own aspirations 
the astroturfers are fulfilling their own aspirations

Your patriotism is manipulated, 
Your faith is manipulated,
Your existence is manipulated,
for the victory of the manipulator
you and I believe as our leader

They are not leading us
they are misleading us to believe the non-existent
to shed your blood for clash they want to provoke

Don't trust astroturfers,
Don't believe me either if you wish,
Believe in humanity,
Believe in peace,
Believe in your life and your dreams.


PS: Being a social media marketing consultant, I use and advocate social media presence for marketing your product or service. However, considering the potential misuse of the personal information we share on social media, I don't recommend to share it.

In case you missed the poems blogged earlier this month:
  1. April Poetry Month Day 5 Poem: Prisons of Ideologies
  2. April Poetry Month Day 6 Poem: Unfeigned
  3. April Poetry Month Day 8 Poem: Tanka -- Summer Delights
  4. April Poetry Month Day 9 Poem: Friend On Highway
  5. April Poetry Month Day 10 Poem: Haiku -- A Walk

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