Reaching consensus via social media?

With almost 43 per cent of students turning up for DU elections this year, election campaigns seem to have yielded optimum results. While a lot is credited or discredited to active on-ground campaigning and freebies to the students, one aspect that cannot be ruled out is the intrusion of technology in student life.

Bhumi Pandit is a first year BA English Honours student in PGDAV college. Coming from a monarchial state of Bahrain, she finds it tough to understand the concept of elections at student level. And the presence of Charlie Chaplinisque actors and clowns inside her campus to promote a candidate seems even more absurd. So, what inspired her to vote in this year’s election?

“I had almost made up my mind against casting a vote this year. Usually, a candidate’s supporters or relatives used to bring him to our class and speak on his behalf.” Being bogged down with the multiplicity of options, towering claims and no background information on the candidates, she thought of giving these elections a miss, until ‘Election Madness’ surfaced on her radar.

“One of our classmates connected with our seniors, networked all of us in a single Whatsapp group called election madness, almost 15 days ahead of the elections.  Instead of just getting voting appeals from all ends, we started doing a background check on the candidates with the help of our seniors which helped us in reaching a consensus”, says Bhumi Pandit.

Being a second year B.Sc honours student from Hans Raj College, Saumya Badoni understands the rigmarole of student elections, “While I was sure about my decision to support AISA for DUSU elections, it took a lot of deliberations in our group ‘Chemistry freaks’ to decide for the college posts. We network in this group to discuss our assignments and also use it to form group decisions when needed.”

Saumya finds the deluge of pamphlets thrown by political parties at Vishwavidyalaya Metro Station quite appalling. That was one factor that inclined her towards AISA, which she believes doesn’t take part in wasting paper.

Though Bhumi and Saumya try and reach a logical decision through their groups, isn’t online decision-making a representation of herd-like and passive behaviour? “No way,” says Saumya, adding, “I agree that we usually end up having unilateral opinions in our group. But to achieve that, we debate about every candidate on multiple counts. And eventually, it’s your own decision to take on the voting day”.

With young lives centred around the world of social media, it seems, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep the incessant social messages at bay while taking an important decision.

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