Ashok Kumar Beniwal: Social media can be used for both constructive and destructive purposes

Actor Ashok Kumar Beniwal, who is known for roles in Dil Hai Tumhara and other notable projects like Apaharan, Hate Story 2 and Aasharam, says that social media is both a privilege and a curse. The actor says that the medium has blurred boundaries between villages and cities.

“Social media has provided a form of power or tool that now lies in the hands of every individual, much like other resources such as money. Its use can be for both constructive and destructive purposes, similar to any other form of power. However, governments have regulations in place, yet many incidents still occur, and we witness numerous minor mishaps during the creation of reels. Some people risk their lives, and others stoop to levels of cheap publicity, diminishing their own moral worth. Instances like the viral reels depicting uncomfortable scenes between a mother and son are genuinely distressing and evoke feelings of sadness,” he says.

He adds, “Social media has broadened our horizons. Previously, living in a village meant our social circle was confined there, with connections to distant relatives limited accordingly. However, social media has expanded this circle. Therefore, individuals must regulate their conduct according to societal norms and personal beliefs. We must fulfill our responsibilities and uphold these norms as integral members of society, ensuring that everyone adheres to basic discipline to avoid trouble and uncomfortable situations.”

Talking about how it has benefitted him, he says, “Social media has been incredibly beneficial for me. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have enabled me to effectively reach my message and advertisements to a specific audience, especially for the acting classes I started. It has enhanced my communication with students significantly. Social media allows us to target specific age groups, interest groups, and geographic locations, which helps us tailor our message to our audience. This flexibility is a significant advantage for everyone.”

He adds, “Those who wish to promote their work can reach their intended audience without the need to spend extensively on broad advertising campaigns. This accessibility is a major benefit that everyone should leverage, and I have personally benefited from it as well. Moreover, every time we share new work on social media, it serves as self-promotion that reaches new audiences, which has also led to me securing work opportunities on multiple occasions.”

Meanwhile he says that you cannot predict what will become viral, and need to keep putting out good content, rather than content that will become viral. “People do anything for publicity, and that thing becomes viral. So, we see those things, but I could also do it if I wanted to. However, I don’t want to; I can’t stoop to that level, nor do I wish to. That’s just how it is, but it’s alright—everyone has their own way of living life,” he says.

Talking about social media ruling the casting world too, he says, “During casting, the casting director finds it somewhat easier if someone has done significant work and has a proper profile. It definitely adds weight to an actor, but there must be something more significant happening. I don’t quite understand it, but it becomes easier to access and share with people, and it leaves an impression. If you have a Wikipedia account with good content, it certainly leaves an impression. I have observed this.”

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