Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Live Tracking of Social Media: The Case of G20 Antalya Summit

During G20 2015 Summit hosted by Turkey in Antalya on 15-16 November 2015 a live social media track of the Summit had been run through website. As social media turned the news feed into a real-time phenomenon, keeping track of it and making a live showcase would have been too. Antalya case may be seen as a pilot. 

Here is the Social Media Factsheets of #G20 World Leaders under 33 selected indicators.

The website is still running for those who want to follow and compare social media performances of G20 leaders.

Spiral of Silence… What?

A predominant connotation arising when we talk about social media is free speech. A Pew Research Center study evolving out of pre-internet era human behavior insight called spiral of silence shows that it is not always the case.

Spiral of silence suggests that people have a tendency “not to speak up about policy issues in public—or among their family, friends, and work colleagues—when they believe their own point of view is not widely shared”.

Conducted right after Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations of widespread government surveillance by the Government of United States of America, the study claims “previous spiral of silence findings as to people’s willingness to speak up in various settings also apply to social media users.”

For those who are interested in the findings here is the full report:

PBWorks: Making it as easy as…

Okay! Here comes a confession. When our professor asked us to develop a wiki for our class presentation about wikis we were a little bit shocked. Our inner voice was like “What! Are we supposed to develop a wiki and we have only one week for that?!!”. However, it did not took too much time to get rid of our fear. When we looked at PBWorks, that our professor suggested, we saw the possibility of developing a wiki within minutes and like a hot knife through butter.

Actually their original name was PeanutButterWiki arising from the idea that they wanted making a wiki is as easy as making a peanut butter sandwich. They surely did it. They deserved the name and no longer need it!

They have a number of products customized for different customer profiles like agencies, new businesses, educational purposes, etc. and it seems so far it has already been used and tested by customers differing in nature.

If anyone is interested or in need of a collaborative content management tool, I suggest PBWorks. It is available through webpage. They are serving on a freemium base, meaning you can use a number of their services for free and if you would like to enjoy further functionalities or existing functionalities with more capacity you have to pay for it.

PBWorks software is available only in English for now. This suggestion goes for them: Do not deprive the rest of the World from enjoying an easy collaborative content creation.

We are all knowledge workers. Why not work with fun and enjoyment!..

Social Media Discipline

We all wish to maximize our careers, our profession, and aspire to be like those who we find most successful. The social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and even LinkedIn has been used by many smartphone users to portray or present themselves as ideal one though the reality may be different. In social media perception is everything. The perception of ideal-self is quite different from the real-self. Real-self is the attribute, characteristics and personality of a person whereas ideal-self is the perception a person want to be. Perception has no limit. However it is highly influenced from culture, society, environment and the inspiration. Someone may say that perception is an imaginary thing. Agreed, but this greed sometimes makes a person most successful. Sometimes, it causes depression also. This depends on the way of thinking as to how positive he is. A lot of persons full of negativity cannot think positively and that may cause self-destruction. However, the only mantra making perception real is the positive attitude and greed to take efforts for getting something.

While presenting ourselves on the social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and even LinkedIn, sometimes we do not present real attributes or personality. I know a few persons who have never gone to poor village communities or never fed any poor or never helped any needy person, but by way of doctors photographs posted on the Facebook have got thousands of likes and comments. I have also found recently a post of one politician with doctored photographs of helping Chennai people during flood though it was not a reality. What they really achieve? We create ideal or artificial personality/attribute on the social media for attracting likes, comments, posts fans etc. It may be beneficial for dream world like Hollywood and Bollywood, but in real life it is not beneficial. This gives false sense of boosting self and an inflated sense of who they really are.

In view of above, the following social media discipline should be maintained:

1. You should not compare yourself with others. God has created everybody with unique feature which is not comparable with others. You should understand your quality and capability and this only should be portrayed on the social media platform.

2. You should give all true and authentic information on the social media. If you feel that the information should not be given, you just skip it, but do not give false information.

3. You should be consistent and transparent. Do not just like or retweet  to appease someone. If you do not agree to any post, you express your disagreement with reason in your comment against the post.

4. Do not blindly believe on all posts on social media. Examine its authenticity and source of information.

5. Be positive in your life. Social media tool is capable of connecting you to influential people, who may be helpful in future.

6. Connect to your friends through social media and use the social media to share your thoughts or to obtain thoughts of your friends.

7. Utilize social media for positive discussion but not to spread false rumors about society.

Turkey Highlights Social Media in Recent Information Society Strategy

Turkey has adopted its Information Society Strategy and Action Plan for the period of 2015-2018 by the first quarter of this year. It covers eight priority areas pertaining to information society policies including e-government. Not surprisingly, mobile service delivery and usage of social media in public services has been addressed and an action to this effect is declared to the public.

According to Strategy, in order to utilize mobile technologies and social media opportunities effectively a social media guide for public agencies will be prepared, prioritized services will be moved to mobile platform with a schedule and mobile services and social media usage will steadily be developed taking users’ requests into consideration.

In reality a considerable number of public agencies are already using social media in order to reach citizens with their own efforts and without any further guidance and support from central organizations unlike the example of USA.

Although wording of the Strategy is encouraging most people both in Turkey and outside remember Turkish government’s attitude towards social media platforms rather as hostile due to a number of shutdown including YouTube and Twitter. This raises a question, actually a difficult one that if Turkish government really wants to exploit the benefits of social media tools or not in order to communicate with its people and to improve public services.

Considering the Strategy document has been put into implementation with the decision of one of the top decision taking mechanisms in Turkey, namely High Planning Council headed by Prime Minister himself it seems they really do want.

Let’s wait and see! Or not wait but work and see!

Importance of smile in life

It is essential to know what is important in life, material pleasure or happiness. Life was simple, fun loving, stress free and full of pleasure when modern world of material worthiness was absent from our life. The advent of newer technology, modern devices like computer, internet, and smart phones were supposed to make the life simple which it did but we used it in such a way making our life complicated and stressed. We forget something called judicious use of devices and optimise it as per need. As a result smile eluded from our face bringing misery to our health and thinking.
Smile and laughter are among the many things researcher have found to be stress busters. It cleans the soul and makes you healthy and your soul pious. Do you ever see any poster in paediatrics department of any medical colleges or hospitals of a child crying or thinking? Definitely not, you will always find posters of child smiling and laughing. That is even All Mighty wants you to smile and laugh although he brings you to this world crying. That is the essence of life. You wake up in the morning and share happiness, smile and laughter with your family members and see how the day progresses. It passes off wonderfully and most satisfying. It provides you the great sense of belongings to this world. It is said laughter opens the path to connect you from God. Your soul belongs to all mighty and He wants you to be always smiling. Smile and laughter has chain reaction and a smile on your face can bring smile on other persons face too. That’s the power it has. Can all of us follow these simple wishes of all mighty and keep smiling always to bring happiness to us and all other persons close to us. I am sure all of us want to lead a healthy and memorable life full of smile and laughter so spread the message of smile wherever you can.
            Happy Smiling.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Social Media and the Government Programs in India

The Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi has hailed social media as a force for democracy and good governance, which is echoed in all the central government policies for the past one and a half years. The government has been using the power of social media as a tool of empowerment and transparency.
To take its flagship schemes like Swachh Bharat, Jan Dhan Yojna, Give it Up and Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao to the last mile, the government has started an extensive outreach program through inter-personal communication and social media.
Beyond the bureaucratic red tape, the Prime Minister chose to kick-off the drive for Swachh Bharat (Clean India) with a social media campaign in which he issued challenges to a veritable list of who’s who, urging them to join the campaign. Many of the PM’s followers on Twitter had eagerly taken the task with post after post declaring support for the campaign with hashtags like #MyCleanIndia and #MyIdeaofSwachhBharat.
For the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (Save the Daughter, Educate the Daughter) campaign, the PM launched a new social media stunt. During his monthly radio address, he asked moms and dads throughout the nation to tweet photos of themselves and their daughters. This #SelfieWithDaughter campaign was a smash hit. Selfies of parents with their daughters have flooded Twitter from all around the world. (New York Times, June 29, 2015 –
The government also leveraged social media to popularize the campaign of “Make in India” that encourages businesses to manufacture in India; Jan Dhan Yojana campaign, a financial inclusion program and “Give it Up” campaign that encourages volunteer giving up of subsidy on LPG campaign. All these social media campaigns have been very popular.
With many new initiatives taken by the Modi government, extensive use of social media for promotion of citizen centric schemes and program is a welcome initiative.
(Source: various articles on internet)

Use of technology in reducing corruption

Corruption in public service always has been a sore in delivery system of services to citizen more so in developing countries. India is no exception and there has always been thought that the services are not reaching to the desired citizens for whom it has been designed and gets siphoned in between. The use of modern internet banking with online transfer system coupled with Aadhar (a unique identification number based on biometric parameters launched by Government of India) has done wonders in disbursing the benefit to the last citizen of the country.
Aadhar was started by Government of India in year 2010 to provide unique identification number to all citizen based on finger print of all ten fingers and retina imprint. The total population is likely to be covered by 2016 with few states almost completing the target. Citizens have been empowered to link this unique no. to their bank accounts very similar to social security no. in USA. Once the bank account has been mapped with the Aadhar number, the benefits can be transferred directly to one’s account. Government of India is transferring LPG subsidy (cooking gas subsidy) worth billions of rupees every month to the beneficiary account directly reaching to the person concerned. It has resulted in huge savings to the treasury and benefitted the concerned. Few states like Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh has started using the Aadhar number for transferring lot of other benefits like pensions, mid day meal, public distribution subsidy directly into the beneficiary account. The use of this simple and one aspect of Aadhar number has been a great success to be replicated in other areas. It is time to use more innovative technology and follow the two leading states across the country to achieve corruption free country.

Effect of global warming on climate change: Responses from signing countries

Global warming and its effect on climate change has been a long lasting debate without any much wanted measures to be taken to minimise it. There are reports of temperature of the globe rising by 1.5 0 c and supposed to rise by 2 0 c in next 30 years by the scientists working in this area. The main reason for this rise in temperature is said to be due to green house gases emission in the atmosphere which is released by CFCs in refrigerator, methane, traditional cooking method or so. It may result in losses of major glacier drying the river system across the globe. The occurrence of unprecedented rain, frequent drought, increase in hurricanes are said to be the outcome of global warming and climate change.
All the countries came together at one platform to cut down the green house gases and reduce the emissions so that the effect of global warming is reduced. But the commitment has not been translated into action by many countries. The recent Confederation of Parties (COP) in Paris on climate change and global warming has been 22nd in row without much commitment from any countries. Developing and underdeveloped countries are arguing having less per capita emission and developed countries going for less total green house emission and sticking to it. Developing and underdeveloped countries need latest technologies available with developed countries to reduce the green house emission while developed countries needs to take a leader role in showing statesmanship in tackling this global forum. There has been self controlled declaration by few countries of cutting green house gases but global understanding and agreement again was absent in this COP 22. It is time to see the catastrophic incident of incessant rain, snow storm and frequent drought across the globe and come to an agreement where the larger purpose of cooling the mother earth is undertaken in a holistic way. Otherwise the existence of very human will be in danger.

Paris attack and media

Paris attack recently has been one of the cruellest attacks by fundamentalist group. As it is clear from the news now that the attack has been planned by one of the fundamentalist group, ISIS, it has an objective to spread hatred and terror. No religion in the world spreads hatred and enmity rather all religion believes in peace and harmony. The attack carried by group has been misled by fundamentalist to disturb the peace of the world.
The role of French media both print and electronic in this matter of crisis has been exemplary. The whole attack was covered in an extraordinary manner which has not been seen in recent times across the globe. There was no reporting of any bloodshed or counter attack by police and defence or any kind of killing in the print media or electronic media. This restraint was self imposed and is worth praising. The bloodshed and counter attack only brings hatred among people and talking point for the people forgetting the actual tragedy and condemning it. This restraint by media and the government of France has brought the whole world together and shown how these things can be controlled in an effective way. Humankind and human losses, the care and blessing it needs are much more important than these unnecessary bloodshed reporting and hatred. It also helps in nullifying the objective these terrorist might be having of spreading terror and hatred. May all media and government in other countries learn a lesson from France and follow it.

Chennai floods in India brought the people together

Chennai is the one of the ancient city of India situated at the coast of Bay of Bengal. It has beautiful white sand beaches and is the capital of southern state of India, Tamilnadu. The city received unprecedented rain in the last few days bringing it to stand still. All communication network including Rail, Air, Road, Mobile went out of order. All areas were flooded with water almost touching the first floors of building. People were worried about their relations being safe as no news were coming out of Chennai. Residents were having a tough time saving the lifes and reaching a safe place besides food, water and other essential things.
Residents of Chennai in this matter of crisis showed a great restrain and humanity in managing the crisis by helping each other. People from all religion came on one platform and helped the people. No matter if the needy are Muslim, Christian, Hindu all of them came forward and helped in this crisis situation. Not long back there was a lot of talk of intolerance in media, social media in India about different communities but all of that was of no importance in this matter of grave crisis the city was facing. There has been no reporting of rioting, looting or any kind of anti social activities in these days. There has only been reporting of people’s participation, helping hand across communities, providing food and shelter by those who can provide with whole hearted welcoming the strangers as if they know them since long. The resident of Chennai has shown what true India means. India is a country where all religion lives in peace, people are tolerant about each other religion and belief and always consider them as one family. Hats off to the city of Chennai for showing the country its true culture which was being doubted by some ill motivated citizens not long back.