When thousands were gathered to protest against Delhi gang rape using social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. to communicate their sentiments to the masses, our government was quiet on that front. The failure of the government’s social media strategy became quite visible.
To address this failure, the Prime Minister’s Office and the National Innovation Council, led by Sam Pitroda presented a plan asking the ministers and government spokesperson to be active on social media. However, MPs irrespective to their political beliefs stay unconnected to India’s young populations who are extremely active on social media.
Following statistics look really gloomy:
- 40 out of 542 MPs have Twitter accounts including 7 MPs who no longer have active accounts.
- India has more than 10 million Twitter accounts; despite 10% internet penetration rate the country ranks 7 in the world for most active users on the social media.
- However, majority of Indian politicians, irrespective to their political beliefs failed to be active on the social media pushing themselves away from the youths, the future voters of the country.
- Among 204 Congress Lok Sabha MPs, only 13 have active accounts.
- Only 4 out of 78 central ministers Ajay Maken, Manish Tewari, Shashi Tharoor and Milind Deora, are active on Twitter.
- A few ministries including the PMO have official accounts.
BJP has become the party which is considered more tech savvy than the Congress. 9 out of 115 MPs in the lower house have active accounts; they use their social media accounts to communicate with the voters. Yashwant Sinha’s account is not active any longer and Maneka Gandhi’s account is used to spread awareness about her NGO that works to save animals from cruelty. Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune are counted among top 100 cities with highest Twitter users; but that does not mean the politicians from these cities are active on social media.
Even when the United States is placed quite on top in the list of aging countries, all 100 US senators are on Twitter. On the other hand, in India, where 500 million people are below 25, politicians are not adopting the new media – easiest channel to reach out to the youths.
Narendra Modi (Gujarat), Omar Abdullah (Jammu and Kashmir), Tarun Gogoi (Assam), Akhilesh Yadav (Uttar Pradesh), Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan), Raman Singh (Chattisgarh), Nitish Kumar (Bihar), Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal) and Mukul Sangma (Meghalaya) all have active Twitter accounts. Some of them like Narendra Modi and Mamata Banerjee frequently use Facebook to communicate with the mass. That is a positive thing; probably things have started changing. Government of India, innovators and the youths of the country can accelerate the process further. If the new media usage spreads at a faster pace among the political, the Internet will observe higher acceptance in the country as politicians are usually the first to complain about social media websites.
Source: Hindustan Times
Image Courtesy | bbc.co.uk