Sunday, February 6, 2011

Can Social Media Connect Our Soldiers' Families?

The readings for Social Media-II lecture were very interesting and informative. One of the problem solving applications of social media that I found particularly interesting was reported in Alexandra Samuel’s ‘Waiting for Government 2.0’ article regarding an application developed by the US Navy to enable the anxious mothers of new recruits to network with the mothers of more senior navy officers. It appears that this networking, based on social media applications, helped the mothers of new recruits to overcome some of their apprehensions and anxieties about the future of their children. Interestingly, this application appears to be totally independent of the navy’s information systems; yet it helps to solve one of the major obstacles to the navy’s recruitment of new manpower.
Is a similar application possible in India? The families of para- military forces battling insurgencies in disturbed areas could network on social media. Or, maybe, the families of soldiers deployed on borders could be networked together over social media. One problem I visualize is the absence of computers or social media enabled mobile phones in rural areas, particularly with the families of soldiers. The other problem I visualize is the language barrier. I am not very sure whether the social media can operate easily with Indian vernacular languages, like Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil or Kannada. Also, I wonder what sort of networking is possible if the networked families communicate in different languages. I would, therefore, be interested to know more about the adaptability of social media to different languages and the possibility of translation of content as is available on Google.

1 comment:

  1. Sitaram has raised a very good question. This is possible. Indian languages are possible on facebook which is the best medium for family connectivity. You have to go to profile and then settings. Hindi, Punjabi, Bangla and at least three south Indian languages with script can be selected, of course one at a time. In addition Nepali with Devanagari script is also there, a lot of Indian soldiers also come from Nepal.
    As far as technical infrastructure is concerned,we have to see if the internet coverage is available at the frontier areas. But that can be possible with small effort if it is not there already.
    Pritam Singh