Tag Archives: Social media

An Open Letter To Mr. Milind Deora

milind deora

Dear Mr. Deora,

Thanks for a great article in TOI of August 14, 2013. It was enlightening to hear the views of one of our elected representatives on a topic that’s close to the hearts of many a youngster in this country. However, some points you raised are worthy of a debate, the benefits of which you’ve extolled in your article, and hence a response was warranted. I will try to summarize your main points so as to keep the response closely tied to the article.

Point #1: Social media platforms do not allow for healthy debate, while our Parliament does.

This point of view is expected and unsurprising within the small minority amongst us who’re on the other side of the “Great Divide of Government of India”, but isn’t substantiated by facts. I call it the Divide because our governance system, from the Parliament at the top right down to the beat constable and peon in a sarkari office, is extremely hard to approach and get service from for a common citizen, which is the very reason for its existence. For the vast majority of the population of this country, it’s almost like a government for itself, by itself, and of itself.

Therefore, we do not hold the Parliament’s ability to hold healthy debates in any high esteem when we read reports that the number of hours that our Lok Sabha sits during its five-year term has been falling steadily, and reached the worst ever record in the 15th Lok Sabha (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-04-29/india/38902758_1_lok-sabha-budget-session-sittings). Not only that, this Lok Sabha is also on its way to achieving the dubious distinction of having passed the fewest bills in independent India’s history.

So where does the common citizen go to express their anguish about a non-functioning government? Social media. For the first time, there is a platform that allows every individual the opportunity to be heard by millions of other people, and we’re going out there in hordes to talk about the pain we all on this side of the Divide experience every single day. For the average person, Twitter and Facebook are less about popularity and approval ratings like you mentioned, and more about spreading the word about their experiences and finding common cause with others.

Point #2: Changes that result due to outbursts enabled by social media are not well thought-through

You reference the Arab Spring and Iranian Awakening and the Brazilian protest, but miss the protests on the streets of New Delhi during Anna Hazare’s campaign and after the 2012 brutal gangrape incident. But you make a valid point. Protests by people are usually looked upon as a threat by established governments, and the point being made is missed for the noise, and slowly the protest transforms into an us-vs-them battle. However, did our government react any differently during the protests staged in India? Did we ever get closer to getting a Lokpal bill enacted or a corruption-free government? Did we ever get closer to having the streets of this country safe for our sisters and daughters? Unfortunately no. And this lack of solution-building is not attributable to the use of social media, but to the absence of a sensitive, humble, and engaged leadership within our government.

Point #3: Social media encourages pretence, showmanship, and shallow posturing

Assume social media doesn’t exist in our country. Walk out on the streets like a common man and watch how politicians, top bureaucrats, and the rich and powerful of this country move. You will see beacons, blaring sirens, police and personal security pushing everyone else aside, or stopping them altogether. From the posh NDMC areas, try walking towards other parts of Delhi where the top government officials of our country do not live. You will notice that broad, tree-lined, spotlessly clean boulevards give way to congested, filthy, broken roads that have people, vehicles, animals all crammed into every inch of space possible. If this isn’t pretence, showmanship, and posturing, what is? It’s not about the tools we use, but who we are and how we think that creates the vices that you ascribe to social media.

You are a young and well-educated leader of this country, and we are looking to you to bring a change in our country. What we need is very simple – equal access to basic amenities like clean water, air, food, and adequate housing, and equal opportunity to fulfill one’s dreams, for every single citizen of this country. We hope you care enough for your country and its people to work towards this goal, and will not get lost in the distractions that power in our country carries with it in heavy doses.

Regards,

Sarvesh

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How A Restauranteur Would Have Responded To The Lemp Incident

lemp-pubzomato2

Ankush Kumar, our fellow writer and also the owner of Patna’s biggest theme restaurant In-Flight Kitchen, created on a theme of an airplane, in this first ever Q&A on Mission Sharing Knowledge talks of how he sees the Lemp incident, how much impact can the social media make and how would he have tackled the incident.

1. Are online reviews equally powerful as others? Should they be given so much importance? How much attention would you give to viral promotion vis-a-vis traditional ones which these days have a perception of being “bought”?

AK: In an age where the ‘taar’ is going out of fashion because of the internet, today when we have rural India selling cows and buffaloes on OLX, it would be foolish to ignore the power of the web. The guests who visits restaurants in urban India today and are ready to pay for their service are the ones who are constantly updating their lives through their smartphones. These online user reviews are definitely a huge plus for any business. It is an added indicator to improve on our shortcomings. Having said that it is not the only parameter to judge one’s performance. In todays age we cannot keep a single parameter in isolation. Its the total package that counts.

2. Do you bother about online reviews on portals and do you answer back negative ones and try resolve consumers who go bonkers?

AK:  I don’t know about the established set ups, sometimes they do ignore complaints. But since I am just seven months old in the business of hospitality, and food has been a passion that drives me, I pay heed to each response and try to improve on that. There are regional hazards one faces for example since my restaurant is in Patna my stewards are not comfortable with english language, but I have trained them to understand that being polite and courteous needs no language. It is universal. Reviews online are updated only when the guest is appalled, we ensure it doesnt reach to that level. Hence all our online reviews so far have been positive.

3. If something similar to Lemp happens to your restaurant, how would you deal with the situation?

AK: I have never been to Lemp. Though I know a few people who have suffered similar heartburns with their service and attitude. See very few people today run a restaurant to generate profits, most of them do it to manage their capital. People like me always dreamt of having restaurants. If you have a team that shares the same passion such issues will never arise. If such an incident happens at InFlight Kitchen in my absence first I will go through the cctv footage to ensure that the guests complaints are genuine. And after that will compensate my guests the way they want it. And finally heads will roll.

4. What learning lesson you think can be learnt from this incident?

AK: If you as a boss are brash by nature go open a petrol pump, not a restaurant. Every hotel management institute teaches you to treat your guests well. If you cannot inculcate that aspect in your team you might as well not run the restaurant. Handling irate customers is your job so is to respect their sensibilities.

5. Have you as a consumer faced something like this when you went to eat out?

AK: I have faced similar situations many a times, but unlike the people who took the pains to write a documented proof of their harrasment I chose to ignore it. Also the dissatisfaction i faced did not go this far.

Aadhar Card and Twitterati’s Dupatta Jokes

Aadhaar Card

 

Aadhar cards have become the bud of all jokes on social media. Here is a collection of top 10 of them. 

Jatin Patel (@RepeatOffendor): jab se ye Aadhar aaya hai khud ko bahut Niraadhar mahsus karta hu…… muze abhi tak mera aadhar nahi mila 😦

Krupakar Manukonda (@krupakar_m): Please wear the same dupatta when you go to collect subsidies :p #Aadhar

Prabhu Chawla (@PrabhuChawla): Aadhar meant for Aam Admi. But govt allots land worth 500 cr in Lutyn’s Delhi for its head office. Mera Bharat Mahan” #Aadhar

Khamba (@gkhamba): If dogs can have Twitter accounts and Facebook pages I don’t see why an Aadhar card is a problem

Maximum Decimus (@Goddamittt): Hmmm Dupatta!! Somewhere Superman is relieved that he will get an Aadhar Card easily.

Keh Ke Peheno (@coolfunnytshirt): Shreesanth wants to know if towel is ok to get the Aadhar card picture clicked.

Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats): Aadhar is a very ambitious softwear project.

adhar_350_053013034620 (1)

Pallavi Ghosh (@pallavighcnnibn): So Poonam Pandey,Rakhi sawant can never get an Aadhar card

Faking News (@fakingnews): Why can’t they photoshop a dupatta on photos they click for Aadhar Card?

ROFL Indian (@Roflindian): Sunny Deol can blind Pakistanis just by reflecting sunlight into their eyes with his Aadhar Card.

aadhar card celebrations