I have always understood Social Media = Creating presence + listening & engaging + monitoring. But our Government Of India (GOI) seems to understand only two aspects of social media i.e. 1) Creating presence and 2) monitoring activities. Performing the first step successfully now it is focusing on the second step i.e. monitoring activities on social media as reported by Times of India (TOI). TOI shared that I&B ministry has not only increased its presence on social media but it is monitoring each and every online activity happening on social media.
The news daily further reports that the ministry has deputed a team of officials to track social media on critical issues. The team is tracking networks like Twitter, Facebook and blogs. Along with this it is also tracking the print publications with the help of Press Information Bureau and the Electronic Media Monitoring Center (EMMC). Citing examples, the daily highlighted that the ministry has taken serious interests on the online developments that has happened due to the India-Pakistan spat. The team not only has monitored the activities but also submitted detailed reports to I&B minister Manish Tewari.
How effective is the move?
I am not at all surprised by the move observing the stance of GOI for social media in 2012. In 2012 most of the year GOI was on back foot on social media. Whether it was during the IAC movement or during the N-E tensions, the government made all the wrong moves on social media and it backfired badly. Now the GOI is in a fix after seeing the growing powers of social media by common man and with the center elections knocking the doors the GOI had to opt for the said move.
Recently, we saw the same move being made by Trinamool Congress that was scouting for tools that could track and manage the party’s reputation on all mediums. However, it is not clear if the Government is using any specialized tool for monitoring social media activities. But I am not surprised by the move from a government that first thought of blocking social networks in the country.
As I have said it before that 2013 will see governments from all over the globe and brands brainstorm on how social media could be monitored and take steps accordingly. Indian government is following the footsteps of the Pakistan and Kenyan government.
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