Serial Screenshotter: A New Superhero is Born


Serial Screenshotter: A New Superhero is Born

Illustration: Palak Bansal / Arré

Since the beginning of time, every superhero we have ever created, has exceptional skills that are really useful in the real world. Superman can fly, Flash can travel really fast, Batman fights thugs, and Wolverine has bone claws. But what use would these guys be in the online world of tweets, filters, virtual reality, and snaps? The online world will need its own set of superheroes, and the hero, I think, who would save the world is the Serial Screenshotter.

The Serial Screenshotter is the hero whose superpower is that he takes a hell lot of screenshots. He is basically the unofficial FBI of the internet, and every screenshot he takes is filed away as evidence. Tweets, news articles, Facebook posts, Instagram comments — he has it all covered. The Serial Screenshotter has more screenshots in his phone gallery than pictures of his children and his better half. He doesn’t use the volume and camera button combinations, he uses his fingertips to capture screenshots. That’s when you know it’s serious business. “Ungli karna” is a very apt metaphor for what he usually does.

If you have ever committed the online sin of posting something with a typo, something factually incorrect, or made an edgy joke, you should be worried. If you are a celebrity, multiply that worry by a factor of 100. Because the bigger you are, the bigger is the reward for the Serial Screenshotter when he calls you out. And make no mistake, you will definitely be called out. All of us have something out there on the internet that we’re not proud of and it is the Screenshotter’s life mission to find it and present it at an opportunity most inconvenient to us. You can take a dip in the Ganga, but as far as the Serial Screenshotter is concerned, the paap never gets washed away.

Ask Jackky Bhagnani.

The superhero of the internet has made it super easy to publicly shame people.

In October of 2014, when Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Prize, Jackky Bhagnani posted a tweet in praise of her but accidentally spelled her name as “Masala”. The jokes began and there were 15 articles on the “issue” by the end of the week. If you think people got over it, you don’t know the internet well enough. Malala joined Twitter in July 2017 and the jokes began once again. The screenshots from Jackky’s “goof-up” were back on Twitter. Jackky Bhagnani welcomed his hero with a tweet and got the spelling right this time. Only when he owned up to his blunder by cheekily mentioning that he ran a spellcheck this time around, did the jokes stop.

And it’s not just Jackky. Even our beloved prime minister has been frequently subjected to the righteous wrath of the Serial Screenshotter. He spends most of his work day mining out tweets that Modi made when he was in the Opposition versus the tweets he makes on the same issue now that he is the PM. The more high profile the celebrity, the bigger the pay off. One tweet unearthed in time could get you thousands of new followers and secure your screenshotting career forever.

Just like life, the Screenshotter is not always fair. Just like moms who will bring up how you lost the house keys when you were 13 as a fair example for how careless you are at 28, the Screenshotter waits for the right moment and “destroys” celebrities with his timely posts. Destruction is his sole aim. It doesn’t matter if these screen grabs are posted out of context and people are represented unfairly. So what if you could be fired from your job for something that you said about a movie on a drunken night at 3 am on Twitter. The superhero of the internet has made it super easy to publicly shame people.

When the term “internet trolling” was first used, it was just seen as harmless fun. But today, the spectrum for “trolling” has widened from a few cheeky digs to outright online shaming, and this can have severe consequences. Coupled with the power of anonymity and an online mob, the online superhero may soon overtake his fictional big-screen counterparts in terms of power and influence.