Priyanka Chaturvedi is a Spokesperson of All India Congress Committee, a Presidium of ruling Indian National Congress Party of India. She exhorts that it is absolutely necessary that youths are aware of happenings around them at local level and national level. She joined Congress in 2010 and became General Secretary of Indian Youth Congress from North-West Mumbai in 2012. Priyanka Chaturvedi spoke about how social media has become an important tool for a political parties’ communication strategy with our Group Editor Vaidehi Sachin.
What makes you spend time and interact with unidentified people in virtual world at the cost of spending time with familiar people in real world?
While I agree, I do spend sometime of my day interacting online, it would be incorrect to say I choose it over my interactions in the real world. I do spend a lot more time meeting and interacting with people in the offline world. Besides being totally involved in bringing up my two children aged 10 and 6, I am also a part of a trust which is involved in teaching street children. However, I do like to spend time on various social media forums.
What does it take to become a twitter celebrity? What makes you so popular in the online world?
I am honoured that I am counted as a twitter celebrity, as honestly speaking, I haven’t consciously worked towards it. I just found the forum a very interesting platform to share my thoughts as well as hear the views of many more interesting people out there who are difficult to meet offline due to geographical distances.
I am honoured that I am counted as a twitter celebrity, as honestly speaking, I haven’t consciously worked towards it.
How do you see the role of social media in changing political course of the country?
Social media has managed to make public personalities and political personalities more accessible to the people. It is easier to connect and has made the traditional one way mode of communication a two way affair and instantaneous too hence the medium is popular with the urban internet savvy generation. Indians settled abroad can be aware about the incidents happening in a realtime basis and feel connected by getting their voice heard. So it will continue to be an important part of any political party’s communication strategy. However, while it may not impact the outcome of results it will surely influence many. Social media is a double edged sword for anyone.
Even though over 2 per cent population of India is on twitter and over 7 per cent on Facebook, only a handful of people dominates political discourse on social media, most seems uninterested?
Not uninterested but more undecided, some of course believe that discussing politics on these platforms will change nothing in the larger scheme of things hence do not tweet on politics, while some have been bullied to change discourse if they do not agree to a certain ideology.
Can we afford to have an unrestricted social media without any government control, intervention and censorship?
I am not in favour of censorship but yes there could be some guidelines so as to ensure that these mediums do not become a source of problems for many, case in point the Muzaffarnagar riots were fanned by an MLA who shared a controversial/fake video on facebook.
How does it affect you emotionally ? Do you get attached to the people online, without even meeting them? Do they become real life friends/foes?
I am thankful to these forums as some amazing people exist on those. I have been influenced by them too. They continue to inspire me, help me, make me laugh, encourage me, but yet, my closest friends continue to be people I have known without help of these mediums.
Is right-wing control social media hurting ethos of the country?
Absolutely. It is high time that they took this seriously rather than coming up with this excuse of having framed a guideline and asking volunteers to adhere to the same. Their bullying, their anonymous trolling, their language, their tweets to people who do not agree to their point of view makes discussion on platforms like twitter near impossible.
Will online support for Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi convert into votes ?
These mediums can influence voters to an extent but will not help them make a decision. The work will decide not the army they maintain online.
What is politically more relevant –twitter or facebook ?
I have personally found twitter more responsive to my thoughts as compared to facebook hence twitter will be my first choice. According to political parties due to the sheer reach of facebook it should be more relevant and impactful.
Is social media killing reading habits? Do you get most of the news through social media?
I would say social media has infact had a positive impact on reading as people on these forums have started reading a lot more than ever before. While yes I do depend a lot on online sites for my news updates but I also ensure I read up all that I can on any particular story.
Will you feel uneasy if your cellphone is taken away from you for 48 hrs?
As my phone is my biggest source of getting updated information while helping me stay connected, I would feel extremely uncomfortable if the phone is taken away even for a few hours!
What is your own definition of Social Media?
For me social media is a one stop place for fun, news, opinions, books and music.
Is social media a ‘major threat? Is it boon or bane?
It is a boon but can be a bane if we do not have some guidelines in place, and mind you not censorship at all, but some broad guidelines are necessary.
Do you think Social media will ever dominate or overpower main stream media?‘
Not anytime soon. The reach of the medium in the country is limited.
What is your message to our readers, those who are on social network?
My message would be to stay positive, let this medium be a place for healthy exchange of ideas and thoughts, enriching our minds rather than creating walls it should help break down barriers. It can be a great medium and lets all strive to make it one.