Meeting Nancy

To all those who question social media: please tweet,please upload

Written by The Indian Express | Published: April 20, 2012 3:07 am

To all those who question social media: please tweet,please upload

Days before she takes charge,the US embassy uploaded a video on YouTube,subtitled in 10 Indian languages,introducing the next ambassador,Nancy Powell,to India. Armed with a camera,in frames quite disarming,and shown walking around the National Mall in Washington DC ( to be replaced with walks in Delhi’s Lodhi Garden,according to the video),Powell outlines her plans to build on the “rock-solid foundation” of US-India relations. Sure,it’s all press release talk but smartly packaged: half-fireside chat,half-leisurely stroll,beginning with “Namaskar” and ending with “Phir milenge”. A copybook script for the new media,just 156 seconds of the ambassador but the entire 156 seconds on Nancy — entirely unmediated,no questions asked; picture postcard images of ducks and the Taj,no dense diplomatic discourse. Who needs a press conference or an interview?

Closer to home,that’s perhaps why the PMO has begun to tweet and on Thursday,there was a video release,congratulating DRDO scientists for the Agni launch. All this hammers the point in: social media provides a direct line to audiences and news creators can,and will,bypass traditional media outlets to get their message across.

This should be welcomed. For,the more tweets from the PMO or the leader of the opposition — Sushma Swaraj tweets to over 2 lakh followers — the more secure are the rights of those who use social media. The more “official” videos get uploaded on YouTube,be it by the US State Department or the PMO,the harder it will be for others in the government to lecture on the “irresponsibility and immaturity” of social media and the need to rein it in. So please tweet,please upload.

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