“The Digital Lawyer” shows how TikTok can be used for good (with video)
September 19, 2020 01:00 PM NPT
By: Aditi Baral
KATHMANDU, Sept 19: Until five months ago, she was a novice in TikTok. Now, with her inimitable approach on the platform, 24-year-old Mamta, better introduced as the ' digital lawyer’, has become a phenomenon on the platform.
Her TikTok videos aren’t about lip-syncing to a particular voiceover, or dancing to a trendy song. But they are mostly videos of her explaining the law of the land.
“It’s the overwhelming support and positive response I get from people that keeps me going,” said Mamta, who graduated in Bachelor of Art and Bachelor of Legislative Law (BA LLB) from Kathmandu School of Law, and is now pursuing international relations and diplomacy at Tribhuvan University.
But, this was not how she started on the platform. She was just another user in TikTok who would make videos in her free time. “My TikTok account was initially private. I used to make dance videos and I never thought I would end up making videos explaining people about the subject related to my studies and career,” she said.
One day, however, she came across a video of a doctor sharing medical advice. “That was something that made me realize that I could utilize this platform to share knowledge about things I know,” said Mamta, who is also working as an advocate.
She then started posting videos of herself explaining topics on law, never expecting them to go viral. In less than five months, Mamta’s TikTok account @lawwithmamtahas over 43.3k followers, over 501K likes, and the numbers are going up. Her videos range from issues of sexual and domestic violence to corporal punishment.
“I receive hundreds of questions in my email and Instagram direct messages (DMs). There is a huge interest in the law,” she said.
Most of the questions she receives are related to family law. In fact, according to Mamta, the videos that have received the most views and likes are also related to family law. “People sometimes ask questions like the legal age for marriage, and it shows how people are not familiar with even the basic and general law,” added Mamta.
But that motivates her to keep making videos, educating people in creative ways. Mamta quotes the basic principle of the law 'Ignorance of law is now an excuse' as an inspiring factor for making these videos. It is for this reason that she wants to make an effort in raising awareness in people. "Everyone should have at least a basic understanding of the laws of the land,” she said.
As her father is also a lawyer she always had a deep interest in the subject. Mamata studied science in high school, but she found her passion and interest in law and social science. “I think it is important to follow your passion and what genuinely makes you happy,” she said.
Mamta says the creative process has a positive impact in her life as well. Explaining legal issues through videos has helped her sharpen knowledge and understanding of the law. “I take time to revise the law before I record videos. This has been a good revision exercise for me,” Mamta shared with Republica.
However, her early fame also has a price. Although she is grateful that she doesn’t receive many negative comments, she has seen some people passing pessimistic remarks. “Given the patriarchal construction of the society, there are few who still believe a strong and independent woman to be a threat to the society,” she said.
Mamta’s studies and work keep her occupied, but she still manages to make one or two videos everyday. “It takes some time to revise the subject matter, but it doesn’t take much time to record a video. I think awareness about the law in society is a must,” she said, adding, “What I do keeps people aware and informed about things that may be new to them. It makes me happy to realize that I am inducing a positive change.”
Mamta also has a YouTube channelthat she says will be used to post videos about legal issues. “It is a work in progress but this channel will have contents about national and international law and other categories,” said Mamta who believes that this is the time to make the best use of digital platforms. “Digital understanding is the need of our time,” she added.
She is working to establish an online research academia, a research platform for things related to law.
Mamta says TikTok is gradually being seen as a ‘toxic’ app. But she is a good example of using the platform for social good. “I appreciate every content creator because they put so much effort in what they create. I think it is not the content creators who make the platform toxic. But it is people who post crude comments with the intention to slam others,” said Mamta.