Rashi Aditi Ghosh/Zee Research Group
Expressing creativity has never been an easy task but when it comes to extolling your outbursts in fewer than 140 letters, the best are challenged. In 2011, India took up the challenge as it embraced social media like never before.
Right from the ‘twitter shwitter’ as some call it fondly, like and super like on Facebook became a national past time, with the love for the new media bordering on the ridiculous to obsessive.
The year 2011 celebrated the ‘new Gandhi’ with vengeance as the former woman super cop tweeted her way to stardom. But the initial tone was set by ‘sarkar’ (Census of India) which ironically sought to clamp down (though hopefully unsuccessfully) as the year drew to a close.
Social media is surprisingly redefining the way people communicate with each other in India.
Not just the masses but a mapping of the social networking profile of key government institutions and officials in India reveals that the social media is the in thing.
Following, liking or commenting on a post by famous figures is now just one click away.
Latest trend notifies that social networking is not just a fun element but in 2011, social media sites appeared in a brand new avatar and ignited various controversies.
Starting from Census to Anna campaign, all stayed hooked up with social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
Regarding the emerging presence and growing popularity of Census on Facebook and Twitter, an elated Census Commissioner Dr C Chandramouli had said, “This initiative has really helped to connect with the people. The responses of the people have been overwhelming. People have been very inquisitive and thoughtful throughout and have been actively participating and commenting on our regular updates.”
2011, which saw the issue of corruption make national headlines, saw social media as the main stay of expression.
Shashi Tharoor, recognized widely as India’s ambassador to the world of Twitter, supported earlier in the year, the use of social media in diplomacy. “Of course we must examine the advantages --- and possible pitfalls --- of using social media as a tool for diplomacy. The advantages are clear. India acquires a new, young, literate and global audience for our foreign policy initiatives and positions. By being accessible to Internet searchers, we earn goodwill. By providing accurate and timely information, we eliminate the risks of misrepresentation or distortion of our position,” he then told Zee Research Group (ZRG).
But like every fairy tale has a few awkward moments before a happy ending, so did 2011 witness an unwarranted action against the social media courtesy Kapil Sibal, who asked Internet companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft to create a framework to screen the content on their websites.
Not just the common populace even the top honchos came up with diverse views regarding the strong step taken by Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal.
In relation to Sibal’s strong step, renowned stock market broker Rakesh Jhunjhunwala tweeted, "If Kapil Sibal wants to jail us for speaking our mind on the Internet, go ahead! We`ll just go ahead and get bail like Kanimozhi.”
Shashi Tharoor tweeted in support of Sibal and said, "Have to say, I support Kapil Sibal on the examples he gave me: Deeply offensive material about religions and communities that could incite riots.”
Author Chetan Bhagat posted that Internet is something that cannot be censored. "I hate some of the stuff written on the Internet, but I`d hate it even more if they were not allowed to write it. You can`t censor the Internet. You shouldn`t censor the Internet. That`s it.”
Love it, hate it, but you cannot ignore the fact that 2011 belonged to the social media in India.