Finding voice on social media

Sunday, 13 January 2013 - 8:00am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
When 26-year-old Karan Chawla, disturbed by the Delhi rape case, created a page on Facebook that invited friends for a candle light march near his house in Malad, little did he know that people would turn up in thousands.

When 26-year-old Karan Chawla, disturbed by the Delhi rape case, created a page on Facebook that invited friends for a candle light march near his house in Malad, little did he know that people would turn up in thousands. “I created the page along with some close friends and invited a few common FB friends. But then the word spread, and the page had many people commenting, joining and supporting the cause. If I had publicised the same via email or word of mouth, the impact wouldn’t have been the same,” he said.

Many youngsters are using social media to create movements, and to protest for their rights. A student, on conditions of anonymity, said, “A few months back, my college suspended a student on unfair grounds and one of my seniors created a page protesting the move by the college management. The page became viral, and had a lot of students commenting and reacting vociferously. It finally led to the management bringing the student back.”

Eighteen-year-old Shurbhi Sharma of city-based youth NGO, We the People, says, “Our NGO was started on Facebook, purely as a movement against the Keenan and Ruben killing. We had more than 60,000 people in the group. Then we decided to take it to the next level and registered the organisation as an NGO about six months ago.”

She added that every protest and campaign they organised was successful because of its presence in the social media. Twenty four-year-old MBA student Shailesh Vora said, “Social media is dynamic and cheap. It is where people who don’t even open up otherwise get to speak up. The response I get to my views on Twitter motivates me to blog, and have informal debates and discussions on issues in college.”


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