Pseudo Random Bullshit in Indian ‘viral’ websites

Why they are worse than they seem to be.

Posted by Manjil Saikia on June 18, 2016

Like many others of our social media generation, I too have been faced countless times with an enticing post title and was fooled into clicking the link and reading some pseudo random bullshit. I enjoyed the humble beginnings of ScoopWhoop and StoryPick for quite some time now. They provided content which was fun and took me away from my troubles every once in a while. But lately, I have noticed a disturbing trend. They are trying to become something that they are not! For starters, many of the posts tend to be over the top with their wordings and makes you feel like you are the stupid one for reading those. But what I feel most disturbing is that they are trying to become journalistic in their approach. And most of the time when they do that, they either fail to capture the ‘real’ news or end up screwing very bad.

I have been meaning to write about some of their posts for very long, but as I am procrastination personified, I have never really got down to it until now. Below I will take five examples from Storypick, from the homepage as of now and then try to see if they make sense or not. The choice of the posts will be random and I will try to impartial and give credit where due. I leave Scoopwhoop for another day. Too much bullshit is not good for me.

1. Here’s Why We Don’t Want Raghuram Rajan To Leave RBI This September!

The very first thing that I notice is look at how authoritative they sound, as if they will definitively answer why Dr. Rajan should not leave the RBI. If you go through the post, they give five reasons which they feel is sufficient. But notice how, they do not provide any source of the facts that they present. Point number two is not at all worded in a way which common people will understand. Although they mention sources of the news, it is their duty considering they are an online platform and targeted at the youth to provide evidence of the facts that they claim.

2. A No-Spoiler Review Of A Brutally Honest Movie – Udta Punjab

This one is supposed to be a review of a movie without any spoilers, and I admit they do not give out any spoiler. I am at a loss to say how bad the review is. I will just copy a line from the review which I let you decide what it means because I have no idea what that line is supposed to mean: The movie is so real, it is surreal!

3. This Computer Science Prof Dresses Up As Spiderman To Make Learning Fun. HOW COOL!

Yes, it is cool. I agree. But he is not a professor, he is a teaching assistant. Don’t make it sound as if CS professors have nothing better to do and dress up as comic book heroes to make learning fun. If you do not think learning is fun, then I am saddened by your taste in what is ‘fun’.

4. Shashi Tharoor’s Answer Will Silence The Countries Who Think India’s Diversity Is Its Weakness

The post description looks like what a high school student will write in his essay ‘Why India is Great?’. If one looks at the video in the post, one will realize that Dr. Tharoor does not reply to a question which the post describes. In fact, I believe he does not even answer the question that the questioner asks of him. What a waste of my time.

5. Ayushmann And Parineeti Sang ‘Ajeeb Dastaan Hai’ Proving They Don’t Need Playback Singers!

My God! They have proved beyond an ounce of doubt that they do not need playback singers. They sang a few seconds of a popular song and you believe that they are better than the professional singers who lend their voice to Bollywood stars? Good job! Well done on such a logical conclusion.