Social Media for Social Transformation

Also available in: हिन्दी मराठी

Media has always been a significant pillar of society. Media doesn’t just report happenings, they build public opinion. This puts the media in a powerful position in a democracy and wherever there is power there is a chance of misuse of that power. In some countries, powerful media houses are said to have influenced election results by portraying people and events a certain way. In India too, some time back a connection between prominent people in the media and some politicians came to light.

The media space has changed a lot with the emergence of social media ( SM ). With SM, the public has eyes and ears everywhere. They are not limited to camera crews of a few TV channels. SM is a platform that showcases public opinion such that it cannot be easily doctored. It reflects the pulse of the society. Even conventional media channels also keep an eye on ongoing SM trends.

In recent past, we have seen so many top news stories originate from SM. Apart from highlighting issues that are socially relevant and crucial, SM has also exposed the disconnect between the government and the population. People are more aware of what our leaders are up to and exchange notes on how laws and policies affecting them are being made. Gone are the days when the government could pass laws behind closed doors without the public realizing it for months. Thanks to SM, discussion on political issues and implications is widespread and immediate.

Some politicians thrive on keeping communities apart and playing one’s interests over the other to secure their vote banks. As boundaries between people blur over SM, and they become more aware and better informed, this will no longer be easy to do. One needs to be more aware and alert while making speeches or statements. People see through any gimmick done with an ulterior motive and any sign of a narrow mindset comes in for severe criticism.

Like all powerful tools, SM should also be used with utmost care and responsibility failing which it can cause damage to the society. In the London riots of 2011, arsonists used SM widely to plan and execute their attacks. More recently, in India, SM was used to spread panic causing a massive exodus of people from North-eastern states living in Bangalore and Hyderabad to their native places.

However, with its potential to bring people together, SM also holds immense promise as a tool for social change. We have recently seen many successfully executed protests organized over SM that have made the right impact. Another application of SM could be to effectively utilize the vast diversity of human resource that India has which is still lying untapped. For instance, in Volunteer for a Better India, somebody announces a medical camp in a locality on a date and others join in. Likewise, somebody announces a tree plantation or a cleaning drive and people support the initiative with their time or resources.

We are clearly passing through a phase of transformation. India is a nation of youth who have a big role to play in that transformation. SM is a medium that connects them and gives them voice. This voice is growing louder. It is a welcome sign.

[Watch Gurudev answer key questions from activists, actors, filmmakers, cricketers, other celebrities and general public on “What can we do to create a violence-free, stress-free society?” Hangout on Gurudev’s Google+ page, January 26th, 8.30pm IST.]

More Comments

  1. Vikas Sood

    Respected Guruji,

    I have been inspired by the wise people who have been the light of wisdom in the world. I have set a blog to inspire and guide people through the wisdom of great people. I have included some of your wisdom quotes, as well.

    It is a humble beginning. Please excuse any mistakes.

    I seek your blessings and guidance.

    sincere regards,

    Vikas Sood

  2. Prashant samani

    I am interested in tree plantations waana pitch in and support my own mission for tree plantations .educate me guruji….

  3. Prashant samani

    I am really getting into the yrachings and sayings of shree shree ravishankarji I am really interested in tree plantations how do I help and my self support this mission.

  4. Jayashree Patnaik

    Social media is indeed one of the most popular and widely-used innovations of this century. It is becoming a powerful, user-friendly and cost-effective tool for voicing public opinions and views on different issues. With the increased and easy access to computers in India coupled with internet boom, social media is gaining even greater prominence. Proper use of social media can play a vital role in mass awareness and transformation campaigns. The challenge lies in leveraging the full potential of social media as a force for nation building.
    Jai GuruDev!

  5. Balamurugan Krishnan

    Very Fortunate to be Part of A Great Mission & Vision Of Our Beloved Guruji.
    Let God Bless All Of Us With A Steady & Unshakable Faith with Immense Spiritual Strength.
    In this New Begining- Looking Forward for A Great Opportunity of this Lifetime, to be One of the Catalyst For a Transformed Future Without violence & Stress.
    Wow ! Guruji….

  6. Daya Nambiar

    From reality television to the Internet to popular films to celebrity figures or artists, evidence of social transformation and instances of class-passing are prevalent in popular culture. Famous examples of class-passers include Britney Spears, Donald Trump, and Oprah Winfrey. Very rich individuals today, they challenge the ideas of ascribed status by birth, wealth and education.

    Examples of shows like “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire” to etiquette books show the new popular cultural expressions of class and the mere prevalence of these types of materials and overexposure of class-passers in the media can help explicate some of the underlying urges for social transformation. Social Networks and Blogs are also helpful in the social transformation.
    My humble ‘pranams’ at the lotus feet of Guruji.

  7. srisriontour

    Social media can definitely project out things and can make them go viral within seconds. Thanks Gurudev for giving us this platform of Blogging where we can all voice our opinions for a Violence free and stress free society. Jai Gurudev.

  8. Shrikrishnap

    Social media has become a tool for us to connect with you Gurudev. By doing kriya we are connected with you. But your daily quotes on twitter or videos we see maintain that connection at our workplaces also. All this is knowledge is at our fingertips & it really helps in transforming our emotions. Yes and I am very happy that in this era of technology you are taking us from IT to IT (Information technology to inner transformation) Jai Gurudev!

  9. shubhanjali rastogi

    social media changed broadly. and gradualy having some great power.and it is true wherever power exists there is huge chance of being misused. exactaly what happening in for a new outlook joining in volunteer for better india is a awsome plan

  10. sohini

    Superb! Projects like Volunteer for better India with the use of Social Media can bring about sea change in our society. SM is mostly used by young generation, which means the untapped youth from any part of India can contribute for the betterment of the society through VFBI. Grateful for showing us the ways in these dark hours. Pranam!


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