Deconstructing Social Media in India
- The Narrative and the “Truth”
- Social Network Penetration out of Myths
- Contents and Political Impact
- Media Against Poverty?
- Concluding Remarks
Have you ever felt uncomfortable while hearing about “the role of social networks” in social and political change? Did you ever ask yourself how was it materially possible that the tweeting of a few words might provoke and organize “mass revolts”, and finally oust totalitarian regimes? We are gradually learning the answer: doubting and questioning it wasn’t that odd, and this is quite relevant as regards with next year’s political elections in the fast-growing “IT-India”.
On a global scale, the story began with the first Obama presidential triumph in 2008. That was a “web success”, it was widely reported. No doubt, the first Afro-American Head of State had been effective and politically innovative in his use of new media. However, no serious analyst could give any evidence that such media were the deciding factor in his narrow victory, which was rather secured by the burst of the financial crisis.
A widespread discourse on the crucial importance of “E-democracy” later chocked along with the “Spring Revolution” in Arab countries, through persisting reports on mass demonstrations enabled by social networks. That was the daily narrative, but no academic research ever confirmed it. Scholars from Dubai, New York, London, Vienna noted the very low rates of Web diffusion in the areas of main unrest, as well as governments' failure to stop demonstrations when they decided to block social networks – following precisely the global daily reports on their apparent role.
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