Posted on December 29, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |


In recent times, political parties and politicians in India and elsewhere have taken to social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter and others to put their point of view and also to take potshots at their rivals. This in India is something of an irony since most politicians if  possible, would prohibit the common man from using the social networks altogether!.

The social networks  which originally were created as tools of communication and to share documents and photographs are today used extensively for promotion and marketing. That is where politicians have found the internet a very friendly proposition in addition to the traditional media.

The social networks are not just confined to the computers. All mobile platforms support a host of social networks through dedicated applications (social apps in short) like WeChat, Line, WhatsApp etc. giving everyone a platform to be heard and/or seen. The ouster of Hosni Mubarak from power in Egypt was allegedly facilitated by the use of the social apps so much so that the West dubbed it the ‘Social Revolution’.

General elections are due in a few months time in our country and political parties are leaving no stone unturned to tap into the social networking space to attract support. Things like blogs are useful but the social apps on mobile devices like phones and tablets have a greater reach . It is difficult and cumbersome to read a lengthy blog post on a phone display but a short message has a greater possibility of being noticed. Further in a country where data availability is not guaranteed, the social mobile apps with their small memory and data footprint are more useful. 

In a country where nearly fifty percent of the population is in the category of youth comprising of young people between the ages of 15 to 30 years and mobile penetration is very high in this age group, the social mobile apps are extremely relevant. The young and the youth are wooed by all the parties . During his successful campaign Obama used to tweet attracting a lot of interest. The Aam Aadmi Party back home has demonstrated the power to reach out to the young  and the first time voters.

For a start, the political parties can use these mobile social apps to encourage the young to vote. In most cases, the educated youth are indifferent to the most basic democratic right-the right to vote. They should be inspired to vote and only then a solution can be found to the various problems that plague India. The mobile social apps could be used to explain the process of elections and the voting process.

For the rich, elections are a waste of time and are perceived as something for the poor. The rich are ashamed to stand in a queue while waiting for their turn at the voting compartment. The mobile social apps can be used to address this problem. Taking part in the elections is for everyone-rich and the poor. 

Parties can put up the profiles of their candidates, the details of their wealth etc. in order to bring a greater degree of transparency to the election process and to address the cynicism that is so well evident among the youth in the country towards honesty in the political sphere.

If possible, the Election Commission of India can harness the power of the mobile social apps to encourage people to enrol. The voters could be educated in various ways about the need to participate in the election process and also the need for a free and fair election process.

If certain media reports are to be believed, the Aam Aadmi Party relied heavily on mobile phones to reach out to the voters and also to elicit their opinion on the question of forming a government with the help of outside support from a national party. That is a good start and it should be squandered in the larger interest of the largest democracy in the world.

These mobile social apps have the potential to create a true participatory democracy work to its fullest potential. In such a scenario it becomes possible to usher in a revolution with no loss of life with some clicks or touches.

This is my post for a contest organised by Indiblogger and WeChat.







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