Freedom of Expression, Storytelling and Social Media : Harshveer Jain at Article-19

 

Harshveer Jain, a storyteller and a social media influencer, conducted a lecture on ‘Absurdity of Expression and self Censorship’ for the students of Manipal Institute of Communication on Day 2 of Article-19.

Following his session, MTTN had an opportunity to interview Mr Jain about his position as an influencer and the well-received lecture he delivered.

Q. How effective is social media as a platform to convey your stories?
A. I am not aware of any other platform that is so democratic and free where I do not have to invest in making my content public. In today’s time, it is especially effective as the creator can be organic and get reach, although artists shouldn’t only depend on social media as a sole channel for reach and should approach certain traditional platforms as well.

Q. How difficult or easy is it to find an audience that can effectively listen and respond to your content?
A. Social media serves as a special channel where instead of the creator reaching out to people to find their content, the audience finds you. Also, as a creator, you have examples of other successful storytellers with a similar format of work and the kind of content that is being shared and you try to make your content relatable. There should be at least some semblance of relatability for the creator to build an audience. Gradually increasing the reach, the creator can shift from audience-targeted content to more personal content as the audience is now interested in the artist.

Q. As an influencer and a storyteller, are there any topics that you consciously avoid due to possible backlash from the current information-sensitive society?
A. I haven’t touched upon any topics that I have to avoid yet, although I do not always try to be politically or socially correct. I generally do not delve into subject areas that I, myself, have no clear understanding of. As an influencer, I have the responsibility to not to propagate inaccurate information.

Q. What is your take on commercialisation of content over creativity and originality?
A. There is cannibalisation in the creative industry, where one successful formula or structure is churned out repeatedly until it can no longer be profited from. But understandably, profiting from the content for a creator could be his only source of income. Every creator wants to put his or her original product but also needs to survive in the industry. So, there is no choice, the same person can make both a commercial product as well as an original product to encourage his social life and his intellectual creativity. Hence, there is no side or blaming here.

 

Interviewed by Swarnima Mishra for MTTN

Pictures by Ritwika for MTTN

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