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News |  13 Mar 2014 21:38 |  By RnMTeam

FICCI Frames 2014 discusses need for politicians to use social media

MUMBAI: Attending the panel 'Internet and Democracy: Interloper or Catalyst?' during the 15th edition of FICCI Frames, could have been a guide for politicians (especially the PM candidates) and their teams to understand the power of social media.

The panel of this session consisted of President Obama's campaign PR expert Roger Fisk; Google India public policy and govt relations head Chetan Krishnaswamy; managing editor and NDTV director of strategy Suparna Singh; founder Ronak Samantray; and Harvard University Berkman Center for Internet & Society Mike Best.

Fisk pointed out the highlights of President Obama's very successful campaign. But it was the talk by Google's Krishnaswamy that was insightful when he said that politicians without websites and social media presence are not seen as forward candidates by the urban community or the growing internet users that are based outside the cities. He said that India is growing in terms of internet consumption. It grew 600 per cent in terms of internet consumption with more than 2.5 billion Internet users.

He stressed that in the coming years India will be surpassing the United States. Growth is not limited to the English speaking Indian audience but is also seen amongst vernacular people. He also said that 100 per cent of internet consumption will take place through mobile phones.

Krishnaswamy said his idea of poverty is more about the lack of information that exist in India. Talking about a survey, he suggested that average urban voters are online and they conduct research online to weigh their political choices. The urban population considers a politician with a website to have forward thinking.

Singh also expressed her view on social media with special emphasis to Twitter, by saying that Social media can bring change in times to come. But today, the online conversation is more about making noise online or venting out distress felt towards politicians and parties.

She highlighted the fact that PM candidates in India are reluctant of social media and choose to stay away from having a two way conversation. The information provided online by candidates is 'at the people' and is not a dialogue. The world is looking at India and the 2014 elections, and she hopes that these candidates use social media as a platform for change.

BBC Global News Senior Anchorperson Jon Sopel anchored the discussion with his expertise, while Best provided his understanding of the African countries,