Social media adoption by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has been an eye opener not only to netizens of the country but also to his arch rivals. Speaking to Asian News International (ANI) in an exclusive interview, Narendra Modi revealed the importance of social media in creating awareness among voters in the country.
The hat tip provided by Oneindia News site, shared that the CM considers social media has become the most “powerful channel” of communication today. Sharing his thoughts on what role social media is playing for his party and for an individual like him, he considers this era to be the Age of Knowledge and Information and it has become imperative to listen and learn as much as pronounce.
Further, he shared a recent example on how the medium has become an ideal source to not only have a two-way communication with the people, especially the youth but also creatively harness social media to crowdsource ideas.
I was recently in Pune to meet with the students of Fergusson College. I was pleasantly surprised over the seriousness with which Youth responded to my request through Social Media for ideas and suggestions for that speech.
The tech savvy politician considers YouTube and the mobile messaging app WhatsApp to be quite powerful like the known mediums Facebook and Twitter.
To me it is not just about Twitter and Facebook. For instance, I am amazed at how YouTube as a medium of video sharing has made e-Learning accessible to so many people. Or when I look at an application like WhatsApp and how simple it is to use, one begins to appreciate the power of this medium.
He also cited that the medium has the first reports whenever a disaster strikes or the world faces a natural calamity. Highlighting on the same, he added that social media played a positive role during the recent Uttarakhand disaster.
Along with the positives of social media, he also touched upon his critics’ claim of him using social media to carry out his propaganda. The CM considers social media to be a medium of equals and told that he merely adds his own voice to issues that need to be highlighted.
To this he shared about the recent controversy that was created by Youth Congress members in Mumbai who had pulled the shutters down of a restaurant for a humorous attack on the UPA Government for its recent taxation policies. The incident was reported by Mid Day initially and then it went viral online. The CM told that he added his voice to the incident with all those venting their frustration and despair on it, through Social Media.
Besides this, he spoke about the negative effect of the medium and shared that one needs to use their judgement on Social Media on what sources to trust just as one would do in real life in differentiating between genuine news and rumors.
Before finishing up the CM touched upon the most debated question – will social media have an impact on the upcoming elections, will these users turn up at the voting booth?
We have to ensure our Youth stays engaged in our Democratic process. We have to make our Democratic process accessible to them through a medium, which they use and comprehend the most. Social Media in my opinion is a tool that can help in this. I can tell you there are real voices, serious voices that want to be heard.
Elections and campaigns will come and go, however, our mission to make our Democracy, more deliberative, and consequently purposeful should remain uncompromised. It should be responsive to our Youth, who today constitute a significant part of the population.
Wonder if other politicians could have thought in the similar fashion and listened to the people’s voices on social media. The medium might not have a significant impact on elections but it is a medium that is witnessing loads of conversations every day. Are other political parties and the UPA government interested in these conversations?
Social media is best tested when one is in crisis and how Namo behaves at that point of time is something that we would have to wait and watch. But for now the probable BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi is the one political leader who holds the pulse of social media in India.