Team Anna mounted social networking blitzkrieg
The young, some fresh college graduates, were the ones who created a countrywide buzz about social activist Anna Hazare's campaign for a strong Lokpal. Chetan Chauhan and Nivedita Khandekar report.delhi Updated: Aug 28, 2011 23:56 IST
The young, some fresh college graduates, were the ones who created a countrywide buzz about social activist Anna Hazare's campaign for a strong Lokpal.
Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and Kiran Bedi may have created news but reaching out to people through the internet, mass-media or personal contacts, was the responsibility of over a dozen team leaders, most of them below the age of 30.
A dedicated team of information technology experts from Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF), which acted as a secretariat for India Against Corruption (IAC), were running IAC's main website along with 14 city-centric websites round the clock. They were also required to monitor television channels and post relevant videos on the internet for creating a buzz across the globe. Another team ensured that latest information about Hazare, soon after he was arrested, was posted on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
There were as many as 3.64 lakh 'likes' on Facebook and over two lakh followers on Twitter. "It was a tough job as our competition was with television channels," said a Team Anna member. Another Facebook page 'I Hate Anna Hazare' could rope in just 4,137 members.
Hazare's video recorded in Tihar jail has nearly 1.6 lakh views on video-streaming website YouTube.
Some of the people behind the success were trained mass communication professional Aswathi Muralidharan and Swati Maliwal, a DU graduate, who were part of the public outreach programme. Noida-based Gaurav Bakshi, who joined the movement after he became victim of corruption, was also in the team.
Bhaiyya Maharaj aka Udai Singh Deshmukh, 43, is a spiritual guru to politicians of all parties in Maharashtra, and was the key negotiator in letting Hazare's end his fast. His followers include former Maharashtra CM Vilasrao Deshmukh.