City's youngsters float new-age ideas

Last Updated 15 August 2015, 19:51 IST

From ‘clicktivism’ to online petitioning, youngsters in the IT hub are coining new phrases and paradigms to make our elected representatives more accountable as the countdown for the BBMP polls begin.

Rashi Jauhri, 25, a campaign strategist working for a petition-based website, says that social media innovations can help bring in more accountability to the political process.

 And how?  It’s through what we call ‘clicktivism or online activism’  
“So many people are working with politicians and authorities to create change at the local, national and global level. For example, if a heap of uncleared garbage lies in your locality, you can create an online petition  - others would sign it, share it, you get to engage with your decision maker and you create an impact. It is very easy to create a petition and if it's an issue that resonates with the masses, they can go viral, something that's had to achieve offline. Social media and petition platforms are indispensable in activism now. The best part is that they empower everyone to create the change they want to see,” she says.

She adds that there have been so many success stories through online campaigning. “Issues have reached the concerned authorities and they are more likely to address the problem- because politicians do not want to get embarrassed on an online forum. It creates a dialogue. There was a case when an online retail platform stopped selling publications promoting sex selection after 11,000 people signed a petition.”

Digital media helps because a lot of people use it, even decision makers use it, she asserts.

Campaigning is different from conventional protesting. It is about strategic thinking, to create a larger impact. Explains Jauhri, “This has the potential to create a dialogue. People across the world are starting campaigns, mobilising supporters and working with decision makers to drive solutions through online campaigning. That's true empowerment."

Parinitha Shine, 25,  Assistant Professor, St Josephs College, agrees. She says that social media can mobilise student associations and get the message of the youth across. However, this political engagement should not be confined to the internet alone. It should translate into real life consensus too, she adds. “I think many youngsters are disenchanted with politics, at least most of them, if not all. This is the trend that I have noticed,” she says.

Pam Cauvery, 23, a Montessori  teacher, also feels that the youth of today are fed up with politics. She says that civic engagement can be a solution. “A person from each locality, who does not hold a political office, should represent a ward. He / she should hold regular meetings with the BBMP corporator and put up updates of the meeting in a public platform.”

She says that we should make a beginning somewhere. “How many of us have the chance to go and speak to corporators of each ward? But, if there was a forum through which we can talk to corporators in a dignified manner, it will be great.”

(Published 15 August 2015, 19:51 IST)

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