Thursday, April 7, 2011

Support for Hazare comes in form of tweets, 'likes'

By punemsexesena-NEW DELHI: In its attempts to galvanise support among youth, Anna Hazare .s anti-corruption movement is tapping one tool hitherto unavailable to famous non-violent protesters of the past - social media.

The movement has generated a lot of traffic and conversation on social networking platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. These websites are being used to spread information, galvanise support and help co-ordinate protests in various cities.

Lending the support of India Inc , Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Mahindra group, Anand Mahindra, tweeted: "This is a movement whose heart and voice cannot be ignored. If only industry captains can voice their support for Anna Hazare." The support will come as a big boost for the activists.

The movement, India Against Corruption, uses both Twitter and Facebook effectively, providing news and links related to the protests. The official Twitter account and the Facebook page aggregates pictures of protests happening across the country. The Facebook page is attracting comments in hundreds to each update and is also serving as an effective platform to co-ordinate protests in various cities.

An update on the Facebook page said 500 supporters from Gurgaon will join Hazare on Thursday attracted hundreds of comments from people who wanted to know if there were protests happening in their cities. Many youngsters, who joined protests or fasted in solidarity with Hazare, said in television interviews that they first learned about the issue from social media.

While the role of social media in galvanising people to political action has recently been well demonstrated in Egypt and elsewhere, it would also be easy to overestimate the potential of support expressed online. It takes little effort, after all, to click and 'like' a Facebook page or to make a comment or a tweet. But the mood online is definitely in support of Hazare, and against politicians.

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