Social media is not the barometer of nation’s mood.

Social media is increasingly influencing policy makers, politicians and bureaucrats in visualizing and shaping some of the key decisions that have a very comprehensive impact on all citizens. Mass media too these days is factoring social media reactions heavily in their analysis and in building their viewpoint on many issues. If we go by social media indicators, Trump was losing heavily, BJP was going to win a majority in Bihar and Delhi elections, and demonetization was to have some minor inconveniences to most of the people.

Social media has limited capacity to assess the impact or reaction of mass when you consider that it only represents a fraction of overall population. Only 36.5% people in India have access to internet (just to keep in mind that in majority of internet access surveys define internet users as those who have accessed Internet once, the percentage of regular users is very small). And, 71% of the internet users are male, and majority resides in urban and peri-urban areas.

Furthermore, the distinctly urban, male-dominated, educated and privileged profile of social media does not only result in opinions and views that only reflect beliefs and interests of dominant segments but also discourages others who do not have similar opinions from sharing their opinions, a phenomenon known as spiral of silence.

Another very interesting aspect of social media platform is how an idea or opinion is judged. It is all about likes, retweet and shares. And, everyone’s likes, retweets and shares carry the same weight; approval or disapproval is just a mouse click away. This is relevant and logical when we are talking about topics such as who is more popular Shahrukh Khan or Akshay Kumar, or whether you like a Mac or PC.But it takes a very interesting turn when we are assessing evaluating technical topics based on social media reaction.

Some topics, such as whether we should be going for genetically modified crops, we should set up nuclear power-plants, or what should be our approach to managing environment and forest, require far more technical understanding and expertise for discussion and cannot be judged on the basis of likes, dislikes or retweets. But on social media opinion (read approval/disapproval in form of a click) of an environmental expert is same as that of any other person. 1000 retweets and shares of a viewpoint/opinion do not make that valid if the opinion/viewpoint is technically flawed or invalid.

Bihar Flood – How to help ..

There are three ways you can support the flood relief activity.
1) By sending your donation to below account numbers. The funds collected will be used to purchase necessary items (Our team working at ground zero keep sending us list of items which they need for flood relief work). Items thus purchases are send to Chandan who is leading the efforts from Patna.

Online –Transfer your donations to ICICI bank
Name: Ashok Kumar Sharma,
A/C Number: 005301022273,
Branch: Jayanagar/Bangalore
Please mention flood relief and your name in remarks section while transferring funds
Also mention your name in the comments (will help us track).
After transfer send an email with the transfer details to ashok.1857@gmail. com
We will send you a confirmation for the same.
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Sending donations through NGO (Prayaas).
Institutional Donor and as well as individual can donate via our Sister NGO PRAYAAS
http://www.prayaas. org/
PRAYAAS Contact No: 91-80-28441463
Please mention flood relief and your name in remarks section while transferring fund.
Mention your name in the comments (will help us track)Send an email with details to:Amitesh.Bharti@ in.bosch. com
make a CC to: ashok.1857@gmail. com
Account in on the name of: M/S Prayaas
Current Account No. : 10447347087
Bank Address : State Bank of India, Indiranagar, Bangalore
Bank Code : 3301
Routing Number (Swift No.) : SBI NIN BB 147A
MICR number : 560002021
Prayaas Official Address:
Mr. Amitesh Bharti,Prayaas( r),
C1-201, GreenWood Regency,Doddakannah alli village,Carmelaram
PO, Adj. Wipro,Sarjapur Road,Bangalore – 560035, India.
If you want to send a cheque/DD:Please send the crossed A/c Payee cheque in favour of,”SBI, A/c Prayaas, Current A/c No. 10447347087
Donar seeking Tax exemption under section 80G, please donate via PRAYAAS
The certificate & the receipt of your contribution will be dispatched by Prayaas. To get the certificate & the receipt of your contribution, Please email your name and address along with detail of your contribution to Amitesh at Amitesh.Bharti@ in.bosch. com
make a CC to: ashok.1857@gmail. com
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2) We keep updating our blog for the list of items which are required at ground zero. You can buy those items and send them directly to Chandan and his team.
You can find the contact details of our team in the blog. Feel free to ask them how you can send relief materials directly to Chandan and his team.
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3) Sending money directly to CHIEF MINISTER RELIEF FUND.

Bihar Chief Minister Relief Fund
Write a cheque to
A/C Name: “Chief Minister Relief Fund, Bihar”
A/C No: 10839124928
Bank: State Bank of India, Secretariat Branch, Patna.
Put your Phone number, name and address on the back of the cheque.Deposit the cheque to the nearest State Bank of India cheque drop box
Disaster relief State Control Room Number:: 91-612-2217305/ 2215027/6452572
************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ********* ********* ********* ********* *
NOTE: Kindly note that any left over money (In case we are not able to spend donated money) will be send to CM Relief fund. All donors will be updated accordingly when we decide to send money to CM Relief Fund.

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Please check the following blogs for more info..

http://biharflood.wordpress.com

http://biharfloodrelief2008.blogspot.com/

http://biharfloodrelief2008.blogspot.com/2008/09/for-those-who-want-to-donate-cloths.html

http://biharfloodrelief.blogspot.com/

Chennai 3.0

Chennai celebrates its 369th birthday. Though my professional commitments and other constraints  deprived me from participating in the celebrations, I did get a chance to attend ‘Chennai 3.0’ organized by Confederation of Indian Industries (CII). The theme of the conference was “Chennai – Evolution Today, Revolution Tomorrow”.  And, I have no doubts seeing the growth plans and the people behind the evolution, revolution is bound to happen.  CII did a great job to get industrialists, city planners, bureaucrats and politicians all on the same platform and talk different aspects of Chennai today and tomorrow.

While everybody presented their vision for Chennai and how ‘the Detroit of India’ should move forward to become the world class city, it was intriguing (and one of the speakers highlighted this) that none of the Chennai based industries/business houses came forward to sponsor the event. I was bemused seeing most of the speakers talking about inclusive growth and sustainable growth but they did not highlight any of concrete plans to give any indication how they are going to achieve that. Though we had detailed plans on how to solve problems of Car Parking, Shopping Space, satellite cities and how to make Chennai Airport a world class airport, but somehow problems of commoners living in Chennai took back seat like the commoners present in the TAJ Conference Hall. But probably this was not primarily intended to dwell upon that, it was more of a celebrations of achievements of this city and setting up the context for future growth and expansion.

My personal experience with Chennai has been really wonderful, earlier I was a bit hesitant to think Chennai as the preferred workplace, but after my fieldwork in Tamilnadu and now more than one year in Chennai I love the city.