Social media is where you can learn and listen, says Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi maintains a blog and has 2,027,450 followers on social networking site, Twitter.

Social media has emerged as the defining factor of our age. News is broken and made here. We share our joys and sorrows with each other here and it is here that people come together for a common cause to work for our society and our nation. This is a medium that is here to stay and its influence will only grow as time passes. For me, the three defining facets of social media are expression, equality and empowerment.

First and foremost, it has become the preferred medium of expression for the common man and woman, who can speak up freely here. This expression is not restricted to a singular flow of views but a multi-way dialogue among people. It reminds me of the verse from the Rig Veda-Aano bahdra krtavo yantu vishwatah (Let noble thoughts come from all directions). Social media is as much a medium for learning as it is for listening. Equality is the second cornerstone of social media. Gone are the days when discourse could be set by a select few members of the elite sitting in their ivory towers or preaching from high pulpits. Social media is an egalitarian medium that has created a level playing field-it is now possible for a common man to talk to, question and challenge any public figure if they disagree with him or her. On social media, we are all netizens first and everything else later! Social media has also emerged as a great tool for empowerment. It is heartening to see individuals and organisations using social media innovatively to create a better society immersed in values of community service.

I have been active on social media for over four years and I must say that my experience has been phenomenal. I have made several friends, connected with youngsters and benefited from the ocean of ideas and thoughts of these bright people.

As we move towards a more globalised world, social media is bringing the world closer, uniting people in the face of intolerance and injustice. Whoever doubts the ability and capacity of this medium needs to look at what is happening around the world in the last few years. I feel pained to read about concerted attempts by vested interest groups to curtail social media freedoms simply because it successfully presents alternative opinions that other channels of media have ignored either by design or by default. There is no place for any sort of political control on social media in a society like ours. Do we want to return to the dark days of the Emergency? Yes, we may differ in our views but that cannot give those in power the authority to suppress alternative voices. The way ahead does not lie in political control but a sense of self-assessment. As patriotic and responsible citizens, we are our own best judges. Let us preserve the dignity of this wonderful medium, steer clear of slander and use it constructively to take our nation ahead.

Narendra Modi maintains a blog. He has 2,027,450 Twitter followers.

Reproduced From India Today. © 2013. LMIL. All rights reserved.

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