The path breaking TV show fromTimes NOW ‘Youth Debates with Arnab Goswami’ that had started off last year with a successful series in Mumbai and Bengaluru, is now all set to present its third edition in Delhi as per the news from Best Media Info. The youth debates moderated by Arnab, encourage the Indian youth to take a stand and provides a platform to voice their concerns on politics to terrorism. All youth and young professionals are invited to participate in the on-ground auditions. In addition, they can also participate by sending entries in the form of 30 second videos on the Facebook page. And based on their debating skills and knowledge on current affairs, the selected people will get a chance to be part of the prestigious panel of the Delhi debate.
Times NOW Youth Debates Facebook Page :
The Facebook part sounded cool - I wanted to see the videos that have been put up by the youth and also to understand how it works. So I visited the Facebook page. I was welcomed by the wall which had regular post updates of current affairs, so I thought – OK, no landing page. I was wondering as to how do I participate. Then I saw the tab ‘How to apply?’ and clicked it and voila, it happened to be the required page! It said to upload my video on Facebook.com/TimesNow or email it to youthdebates[at]timesgroup[.]com, on any of the given two topics:
- Social Media Censorship – Can the government’s concerns over inciting or offensive content be dismissed?
- FDI in Retail – Have narrow political interests hijacked the economic interests?
The page although designed well is not very helpful. For starters, it is static and helps you in staring at it for a long time. Moreover, there is no closing date mentioned. So I dived deep into the timeline and found an update to hurry up as the entries will be closed on the 21st of February. The question of where to upload was still a mystery. There were many comments echoing the same confusion but no reply from Times NOW page admin. In a later update, I found out that you need to upload it on the wall itself and tag yourself!
Then I checked out the videos tab which has an impressive collection of more than a 1000 videos but sadly, most of them need to be rotated 90 degrees clockwise. Nevertheless, it is heartening to see young people creating videos to express their concern and excitement to voice the public opinion. Some of the videos have been displayed on the wall and are ready for your ‘likes’ and comments. Going by the number of likes and comments, one can say that the updates on the wall are well in synch with the objective of being on Facebook!
What’s more. you can also be a part of the audience by filling up a form through the tab ‘Be On The Show!’
How it could have been better?
Although the Facebook page is primarily to increase awareness and participation in the show, it has not been designed and executed well. With a strong community base of more than 25000 fans with lively and engaging intense conversations, they could have done a lot better. As part of a 360 degree marketing campaign that includes print, digital and radio as well, a Facebook campaign always shows more promise in terms of targeting the youth and building awareness amongst them. As per data from Social Bakers, nearly 47% of Facebook users in India are in the age group of 18-24.
Firstly, I should have been welcomed by a landing page and secondly, the page should be complete in providing information. And wouldn’t it be great if it links me to the method of participation -like an app that uploads a video, also shows me videos of other participants and gives me tips to create better videos.
And whatever happened to social media being a two-way communication tool? The wall mostly has standard answers posted at the end of the comment threads and questions are not replied to in the comments. Probably, the agency handling this has not been informed well.
I’m sure Times NOW has the requisite budget to create a better Facebook experience.