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Hashtags have emerged as the most powerful medium of putting your thought-process over to a wide range of audience for their comments, feedback, setting up a narrative and view points. I know many of us don’t know the platform of social hashtags. And, few of us are unaware of its power as a medium of alternate news. I will through this blog try to explain the same in the following write up.
It is no secret that Twitter was extensively used by Narendra Modi and his team in the Lok Sabha elections of 2014. He reached the masses and it allowed him to set forth his vision. The unprecedented results were infront of everyone, staring at our amazed eyes. Many argue that majority of Indians don’t even have internet access today. Little we realize that those who have this facility become the ambassadors of a particular narrative once its accepted. Its the same people then who spread this viewpoint classified as mouth publicity. This medium has most certainly taken over a substantial part of the MSM today.
Let me give you another example of its wide reach. I have effectively used it as a part of many protests successfully. The latest example is the case of an advertisement by Flipkart which was misleading. They were using a false advertising campaign promising discount money if you download their app. Upon installation, the code used to be sent to the mobiles however it never used to work. This was proclaimed to be a combined reward by Payu & Flipkart. The condition was that the customer had to buy from the payment gateway of Payu.
— Just Right (@justrighto) July 9, 2015
When this didnt work in my case, I simply contacted Payu who to my surprise, wrote to me informing that Flipkart was not one of their Partner merchants. Upon confronting Flipkart, they seemed to buy time and sometimes, responded to my emails saying that I wasnt applying the code properly. After being harassed for 3 days, I decided to take on to Twitter. I made a hashtag #FlipkartBeFair and posted the Flipkart advertisement with PayU’s reply. The tweet ended up getting more than 5000 impressions and close to 500 retweets. This made Flipkart to take notice and they changed their website content to remove the misleading advertisement. They also called to say sorry assuring me that it wont happen again. Ofcourse, I was offered some good deals as well to take down my tweets which I didnt do. See the power now. One common man had the power to push a multi-billion dollar industry down to its heels. Just one tweet!!! Imagine what all of us together can do.
Similarly, many organizations have used social hashtagging to setup a narrative. For example, Kashmiri Muslims (KMs) write that Pandits didnt leave their homes in 1990s due to Jihadi terrorism but due to their own will & post coercion from the then J&K governor, Jagmohan. These organizations plan their virtual event well in advance. They make posters, banners (if need be photoshopped) and then on the day decided in advance, like a sophisticated virtual Army start pushing their propaganda on to twitter with a hashtag. When the hashtag starts trending, their narrative is passed on to the world. This is how a global viewpoint is targeted these days.
The picture aptly describes how they plan to fulfill their motives. On the other side, Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) claim to be an educated technical class with a hold on the intellectualism. The question we should ask ourselves is have we been able to setup a narrative till now? Is that narrative as strongly put as these Jihadis? We cant fight bullet with bullets but can we not fight their nasty narratives with counter-narratives?
We are non-violent people but what makes us not use the power of our pen. When we protest on roads, many people are not able to turn up. There are various reasons presented each time. The reasons vary from ‘no time’ to ‘not in the city’ of protest. Afterall, we are all a scattered class right now. But, what makes us not learn basic social networking and contributing to virtual events. This is the minimum we can do from our side for the community. That too from the ease and comfort of our Home. Our claim to be an educated class will be as severely questioned otherwise as our identity is right now.
Are you ready now to be an influencer with social hashtags? Lets do our bit. If you are raring to redeem the value of the social networking, remember some basic facts highlighted by the info-graphic below about hashtaging before you start tweeting.
The pen is your power. The social media is your pen. Pick it up and join us on the night of 12th July 2015 11 PM onwards. Lets trend #KashmiriHinduBlackDay and let the world know about our pain and suffering. We owe it to our ancestors, parents & most importantly ourselves.