'Cong wants to develop its own cadre of social media experts'

Digvijay says digital platforms will impact even elections in the long run, communication strategy under consideration

bhavdeepkang

Bhavdeep Kang | January 30, 2013


Digvijay Singh
File photo PTI

The grand old party has finally woken up to the potential of the social media. Its senior leaders including Kapil Sibal and Digvijay Singh discussed the possibilities of the new media at the party’s chitan shivir in Jaipur this month.

Read more: Congress plans Rs 100 crore social media war chest

If the party is going to take up the social media campaigning in a big way, it will be Digvijay Singh, who heads the Congress election coordination committee's sub-group on communications and publicity, who will fine-tune the strategy. In an exclusive interview with Governance Now, Digvijay Singh, says the party plans to train its cadre in doing politics in the digital world. Excerpts of the interview:

Social media: is it a friend or an enemy for you?
The social media is a platform which is being used by the techno-savvy youth of this country. And with the smart phones coming in, it has become a very powerful medium. Therefore, we have to consider it as a friend, why should it be an enemy? The point is we have to enable and educate our cadre to relate to platforms in the social media.

Has the BJP proved more skillful in handling digital media?
No, the BJP is not there. They have paid professionals working for them, 24x7. We would like it to be political. We would like it to be handled politically, by political activists rather than non-political professionals.

So you would prefer to train your own people to handle social media campaigns?
Yes, we would. An in-house cadre that relates to the social media and also expands down to the lowest level.

Will you have professionals for training and setting up your sites and pages?
Yes. But that is yet to be decided. This is part of the communications strategy that is to be worked on.

Do you think there should be curbs on social media platforms?
No, no, no! We do not believe in curbs at any level. Of course, there has to be regulation to see that it is not abused. (The kind of) language which is prohibited in the print and electronic media should be prohibited in the social media. But it should be more self-regulatory than anything else. What happened with those girls who posted (comments) on Bal Thackeray in Maharashtra is not acceptable.

Do you think the social media can now influence political outcomes?
It may in the long run. Even elections. You see, the electronic media is picking up a lot of issues from social media platforms. Because 24x7 is always hungry for news, which tweets on Twitter and the comments on the tweets provides them.

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