Are you one among the new generation youths who spends most of his/her day on the Internet, but enjoys being a spectator and stalking into the lives of other people around you? Or are you the one who raises opinion on anything and everything happening across the globe and end up being a frustrated soul? Then this blog is for you as it gives you some perspectives on how we can effectively contribute to this virtual democratic world, i.e., the Internet.
The population of Netizens across the globe is on an exponential curve (refer the growth http://www.internetlivestats.com/internet-users/#trend) and soon Netizen population will constitute the biggest virtual country on earth. This is mainly aided by the growth in mobile technology, Internet of Things and the overall internet ecosystem and overall this results in the content explosion on the web. The content created in the world wide web is almost doubling every year. This data is harnessed by companies and business houses for understanding the characteristics of Netizens, to segment them, to understand them and to convert them to a potential new business lead – overall known as ‘data analytics’.
As seen in the adaptation curve of any innovation, these data analytics practices and use cases will be slowly adapted by the laggards as well; somewhere down the line our governments and political parties too. In few years I think governments will be getting feedback of their decisions almost near real time through sentiment analysis of the Web data. Probably a text mining will give them the top reasons for the particular sentimental trend too. This will be actionable data which will make the executives think and fix the damage sooner than later. You have seen different versions of this already being adapted by private companies, where they give priority to complaints raised online (read about the Indian railways’ similar response via tweets to their customers http://www.ndtv.com/offbeat/father-on-train-gets-help-for-injured-son-after-tweeting-railway-minister-1292868). Another version of the same are the online petitions, from sites like change.org and so on, which will soon be taken over by an analytical engine which will generate the petitions for you based on the content you create online.
Now coming to your role in the overall scheme of things – you will be one of the many content contributors to the data analytics driven decision making process. If you are that silent fellow enjoying the fight between your friends on ideologies & opinions, just stalking and satisfying your senses, or if you are the other extreme guy who keeps fighting to protect your favorite party, ideologies etc. – then its time for you to start contributing responsibly to the online space. I know we all have been brought up and trained to maintain the decent guy persona in the crowd. But remember that we have been enjoying the rights & facilities secured for us by some responsible, proactive ancestor. We owe them to be responsible in our own way; at least the electronic way – posts, blogs, tweets, opinionnaires, news articles etc. Wake up and raise your voice, mark your vote, the government is (or will start) listening (who knows, they might be doing it already).
Now coming to contributing responsibly, following are the important things to keep in mind:
- Treat the online world as a simulation of the real world – so the equivalent of real world etiquettes to be followed in the online space. This makes your response more apt
- No need to get into confrontations. Remember not to take positions. Be open and receptive for feedback
- Put forward your thoughts using the most parliamentary language – understand that subjective views might vary from people to people and you need to be accommodative
- Research your facts properly and make sure to get it right
- Try to cover only areas of your expertise, or else do double research to make your content credible
Overall we aim to be thought provokers for others. Let the merit come out democratically.
Now you might be thinking – why is it crucial for you to write, when many are writing it as part of their job and voluntarily? The reason is simple and alarming at the same time. Media, supposedly the fourth pillar of democracy, has become mostly biased in opinions. As an example, I can take you back to one of the biggest movement witnessed by India few years back – the anti-corruption movement by Anna Hazard. First time he did fasting strike at Jantar Mandir, Delhi and media coverage gave a big boost to the movement which took away the focus of the country from all the scams plaguing the central government at that time. Second time when he started his strike in Mumbai, things didn’t work the way it did previously. Media partially covered it and gave it a color that made the movement weak. Remember that both the movements where for same reason; the earlier one was hailed success by media, prompting people to join it and the later was shown weak & it faded away. So let the unbiased, Netizen voice rise above the opinionated lobbied voices. Of course they can’t lobby all of us, but only a minority.