Meghana.R – SOCIAL MEDIA IN RURAL INDIA: BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE

Meghana.R – 1537238

Ghedin, Guido. “Social Media in Rural India:Bridging the digital divide.” Digitalintheround.N.P, 06 Sept.2013.web.09 June 2016

  1. Can social media drive change in India? “165 million potential social media users unlikely to drive social change in country of 1.2 billion. That tipping point yet to be reached.”

In a BBC initiated Hangouts discussion (2013) the above question was answered to with, the latter tweet which seemingly consolidated the whole issue. It is indeed interesting and thought-provoking as the digital divide in India is so that those who need to have it don’t and are left in the dark to follow the opinions of those who do.

Not only does this reflect negatively on progress that can be made, if total access is gained in both rural and urban sectors but it also shows the untapped capabilities that go stale with no chance to express themselves or be heard.

2.what happens on the other side of the digital divide? How is social media penetrating the areas where people don’t have PCs and smartphones – yet just telephones, TVs and a strong need for information?

The central part of discussion is this part, where we need to wonder, what would have become of our tech savvy generation if we never had our specially customised social media platforms? would we have been ignorant bystanders, listening and believing the words of those who had access to media sites sans questioning?

It’s rather disgruntling to know that there are more ruralites who will never know the ‘facebook experience’ that those of the urban sector do as they can barely make ends meet, while a majority of urbanites make it their daily routine to document their day for the world to see.

3.  Although ‘Local Circles’ by Sachin Taparia targets people living in urban areas, it has something to do with the peculiarity of the Indian social media scene: local communities and relevant information are the king.

It does not come across as a surprise that most users on such community platforms use it as a point of contact for context and area sensitive news like that of a neighbouhood watch. Our society often conditions us to think in a certain way, thus those who use these community platforms through their smartphoes, inevitably dont feel a need to be a part of other social networking sites.

4. The main takeaway from the BBC Hangout is that the real impact of social media can’t be measured only by trending topics on Twitter or viral million views on Youtube.

It is expected that no social impact can be gauged by trending topics on social media, since frugal matters seem to be the ones that top the charts more than the more important ones that matter to the general public. It needs to be an impactful set of words that urge or cause a turn of events in order for the ones left in the grey area to come forward, hence causing a change in thought, if nothing else.

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