Oken Jeet Sandham
When the news of Chief Minister TR Zeliang becoming a net-savvy by 21 August came in, I was instantly happy for the simple reason that he would only strengthen his connection with the masses through Social Media sites. The information coming in said he would formally launch his various Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube on 21 August in presence of State dignitaries and media persons. The good news coming along with the launching of his Social Media sites was his biographical documentary movie would also be released during the program.
The fact is every person in the street has Facebook Account. In other countries and even in major Indian cities, whether cobbler or rickshaw puller or barber or vegetable vendor, they mostly have social media accounts, particularly Facebook. Almost every restaurant – whether small or big – has free Internet facilities through Wi-Fi. Everyone coming to the restaurants is normally seen enjoying free Internet facilities through Wi-Fi while enjoying various cuisines. The whole world is virtually at their fingertips.
Facebook alone has now nearly 2 billion monthly active users. Active users are those who have logged in to Facebook during the last 30 days. There are dozens of Social Media networking sites in the world today. About 80% of youth including students use Facebook. All the political bosses including Presidents, Prime Ministers, even Kings and Queens have owned their own “Social Media networking sites” particularly the Facebook.
The former President of the USA Barak Obama extensively used Facebook during his last Presidential election campaigns and he acknowledged that the voters across the United States had been greatly influenced by the Facebook. His successor, Donald Trump also extensively used Facebook during his last Presidential election campaigns, though he was sometimes critical of the media. He (Trump) has 23,935,682 followers in his Facebook Account and a whopping 36.3 million followers in his Twitter Account. His Vice President, Mike Pence also has 1.241,926 followers in his Facebook Account.
In India, in the last 16th Lok Sabha elections, we all saw how Narendra Modi had used Facebook for his election campaigns. In fact, he had reportedly hired media professionals from the US to work on his Social Media sites at the time of his last Lok Sabha election campaigns. He has an amazing 42,294,279 followers in his Facebook Account, while his Twitter Account has 32.9 million followers.
Here is another amazing Text Messaging app, WhatsApp. The WhatsApp certainly does not fall under Social Media, as it is not a network like Facebook. Your WhatsApp contacts are yours alone and nobody else can connect with your contacts through you. The WhatsApp Messenger is an instant messaging app for smartphones and it enables users of select feature phones to use the Internet to communicate. In addition to text messaging, WhatsApp can be used to send images, videos and audio media messages. Locations can also be shared through the use of integrated mapping features. WhatsApp has also rolled out the most awaited feature of voice calling throughout the globe recently. In February 2017, WhatsApp was the most globally popular messaging app with more than 1.2 billion active users. In February 2017, WhatsApp crossed 200 million monthly active users in India.
WhatsApp is one the most convenient and fastest messengers today. WhatsApp service is so easy that unlike Email that one does not need to have the basic knowledge of computer. In fact, people stop using their email services sending their pictures to somebody by attaching the images. The WhatsApp has already cut the so-called amazing Email services into sizes. The people call Email services as outdated today.
Now almost all the people particularly youth and students have sophisticated mobile phones with the pre-installed Social Media apps and the WhatsApp Messenger app, besides other messaging apps. And with the advent of such fast modern digital technologies in our lives, the people including professionals, youth, students, etc. have been conveniently using the services. The modern technologies are such that you can upload instant images, video and audio media messages in Social Media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc. from your mobile phones.
Today we must admit that there have been drastic changes in the traditional media activities in the world with the advent of the “Social Media.” The definition of media has been reinvented with the coming of “Social Media” and every individual’s lifestyle has been significantly influenced in a shortest possible time. The traditional media has to accept this “Social Media” revolution. We cannot reject this. There is no way except adapting to this “Social Media revolution.” In fact, every newspaper, journal or magazine has its own Social Media sites over and above their own Online Publications.
Millions of people around the world have been throwing millions of fresh thoughts and ideas daily in the Social Media sites. We should not feel hesitant in sharing our thoughts and ideas, and they are meant for it with the sole objective of improving our lives, relationships, governances and preserving Mother Planet.
For decades, we had been wondering how to connect and share many things with like-minded people in our small jurisdictions. One thing I honestly believe and it may be the same in everyone’s belief that most of us had been victims of corruptions, defective systems and misrules. It was extremely difficult to fight against several man-made menaces. Now, forget about connecting like-minded people in our small jurisdictions, we are now able to connect the world in our fingertips. In fact, nothing is left undiscussed and undebated under the Sun today.
Now, my simple questions are: “What should be our roles in this fast changing world, and what should we do with the amazing – Social Media Networks?” Can we use these amazing “Social Media Networks” for improving our lives, Governances and saving our Mother Planet?” Are we not going to use them for our better future? Are we not going to use them for bringing changes? Are they not for us? Is the 21st Century not for us? My big Answer is “Yes” – the 21st Century is for us. And Zeliang is part of this and he cannot but accept the reality of the Social Media revolution take has been sweeping across the globe. Either you go along with it and become part of the change continuously taking place or left out in the wilderness and remain with the rustic political mindsets.
While AICC Vice President Rahul Gandhi was addressing a mammoth election rally at Kohima Local Ground on March 27, 2014, news of his address was being uploaded to Facebook and Twitter simultaneously. How advance the Social Media of today is? In fact, immediate political debates generated when he raised the controversial points with regard to Naga political issue where he said, “I will not give any promise as your Chief Minister who said he would bring a solution to the Naga issue within three months if he was voted to power.”
Before NPF formally lodged its complaint, the actual debates were over within few hours as soon as it was uploaded to the Facebook and Twitter. It went viral.