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UPA ministers to be on social media

Social media is the new buzz word for the UPA government

delhi Updated: Jan 25, 2013 21:45 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Social media is the new buzz word for the UPA government.

UPA ministers, who may not understand the modern media tools, would soon use them to reach millions on the cyber world and try to sell the government “game-changer” image in the crucial election year.

The National Innovation Council (NIC) headed by Sam Pitroda had formulised a plan on directions of the Prime Minister’s Office, which felt a need to improve government’s presence in the social media as part of new communication strategy.

In a brain-storming last week, a suggestion of Shekhar Kapur, director of Oscar winning Hollywood movie Elizabeth and NIC member, to make ministers put forth the government view on social media websites was adopted without much debate.

He proposed that the ministers should “telling a story” rather than making “boring speech” on you-tube which can connect them with young and vibrant social media audience. And after much discussion the NIC decided that the ministers would be on a two-minute video on you-tube and would also interact on popular social media interactive --- twitter.

Information and Broadcasting Manish Tiwari described it as a “fantastic idea” and said his ministry was working on improving government engagement on social media. “We would obviously take cognizance of the proposal and would try to take it forward,” he told HT.’
Tiwari’s colleague and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal this week had admitted that the government was facing problems to deal with the “new” and “evolving” medium and said it should be used to empower the people.

As of now, very less official videos are loaded on you-tube and only a few government offices such as Prime Minister’s Office are on twitter. There is no strategy to counter anti-government propaganda on the social media, whose influence was felt by administrators at recent protests against gang-rape in Delhi.
Even though Internet penetration in India is about 11.4 percent the importance of social media can be gauged from the fact that its reach is expanding rapidly with telecom companies offering internet services at low prices.