Changing the future

Online petitions and campaigns are doing more good than street protests.

By Author   |   Published: 31st Jan 2017   11:08 pm Updated: 31st Jan 2017   9:02 pm
protesting future

Ever since business tycoon Donald J Trump was announced President of the United States, a new argument has been gaining ground in India. The question intellectuals are asking each other is this — Is America better off or worse than India now? Recently, a politician in Uttar Pradesh made a blatantly communal remark while canvassing for votes, but nothing has been done about it. 

People in power now seem to get into tricky situations with their controversial statements. Political analysts, economists and authors are throwing around explanations — it could be that the public likes loud people irrespective of whether they are liars, or that the social media is being used to manipulate people excessively and effectively. 

“Today, policy makers are on Twitter, trying to analyse what change is about to come in next,” says Mubashir Hussain, student of political science in Osmania University. “The recent news that online surveys of human psychology may well have served as database for devising campaign strategies for Donald Trump, does not come as a major surprise. We all knew we are being thoroughly monitored and studied,” adds Hussain.

Social media, however, is being used by both sides. The conmen and the conned are both employing the same tool in the war of ideas. A new petition is doing the rounds on social media – ‘We’ll see you in court, Mr Trump’ is a campaign by American Civil Liberties Union foundation. It has already collected more than $1 million to empower organisations that have the legal wherewithal to sue the new President for his racist moves.

Social entrepreneur and Ashoka Fellow, Isidore Phillips thinks that the digital route for protesting against the perversion of power is certainly the next big thing. 

“Globalgiving.org and Change.org have really made a significant impact on the way we protest and help each other. Boundaries are transcended through social media, and we all have the security of anonymity, which makes more people join in. Social media campaigns are certainly the way to go in the future. As people who work on the streets, we are now realising how important one’s presence on social media is,” says Phillips, the founder-director of the NGO Divya Disha.