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Social Media Shaping Young ‘Digital Natives’

Not only is the Internet helping first-time voters know about their leaders, it is also helping them understand how and where to start from

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Nearly 1.5 crore young “digital natives”, set to cast their first vote in the seven-phase election starting from April 11, are busy scouting through candidates’ social media profiles to check on their backgrounds and their contribution towards the society.

The digitally-savvy young voters aged 18-19, armed with cheap data plans on their smartphones, are participating in online debates on issues like women safety, unemployment, economic stress and national security, expressing their viewpoints on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as observing reactions from politicians on their handles and Pages.

“My vote decision will be based on how the candidates have behaved in the public eye till date.

“Their criminal and corruption records, educational backgrounds and occupational experiences are things that I am interested to know about,” said an excited Ankita Mishra, an 18-year old advertising student from Pune who will cast her vote for the first time.

“Educational background of the candidate is the key. If the minimum requirement to get a decent job in India is at least a post-graduate degree and additional work experience, then why should the job of being the leader be given out so easily?” she asked.

As elections inch closer, discussed about the contesting candidates have intensified on social media and other online public forums.

“I do keep myself updated with the popular opinion. I also regularly check the polls and campaigns,” Mishra added.

Just as social media companies have come up with transparency rules for political ads, they should have similar features for influencers so that people can distinguish between commercial space and personal space. Pixabay

Vishesh Jain, a 19-year-old who just returned to India after completing his higher education in the UK and now lives in Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, said the youth have to cast their ballot to elect best leaders.

“I have grown up listening to the catch-phrase ‘one vote can make the difference’. My decision will be based on Indian politicians’ presence on social media, especially Twitter,” said Jain.

“I am reading and expressing my opinion on social media handles, keeping tabs on trending election-related hashtags and polls and actively engaging in discussions and polls online,” he added.

Also Read- Social Media Giant Facebook Under Lens for ‘Covering up’ Data Scandal

Not only is the Internet helping first-time voters know about their leaders, it is also helping them understand how and where to start from.

Arjun Parashar, an 18-year old journalism student from Mumbai, said he is trying not to be affected by fake news spreading on social media.

“Even though social networking platforms give us an overview of the candidates, my voting choice is personal and I will wait till the end to decide who I should finally choose,” Parashar told IANS. (IANS)

Next Story

Facebook Down Again? Chill as The World Has Not Ended Yet

Joining the outages, Twitter’s dashboard TweetDeck went down on July 2 in Europe and the US before it was restored later

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facebook, christchurch attack, new zealand
FILE - The Facebook logo is seen on a shop window in Malaga, Spain, June 4, 2018. (VOA)

By Radhika Parashar

Imagine this: All of your favourite social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat and Twitter have stopped working for an unspecified time period. Are you anxious, nervous or still a relaxed soul?

This year has seen several incidences where everyday apps faced major outages running into several hours in India. To the respite of users, they had Twitter to fall back upon as it was the only app functioning most of the time.

“Outages make us realise how much do we actually depend on Internet and apps. People even have apps that remind them it is time to drink water. And if these apps stop working, one can imagine the plight. Social media outages make me uncomfortable and restless,” Deepansh Jain, a 21-year-old college student from Mumbai, told IANS.

Managing a global user-base of over 2.38 billion people, Facebook and its family of apps, including photo-messaging app Instagram and WhatsApp, have collectively suffered five major outages in the last four months. Out of all the Facebook’s apps, Instagram experiences downtime the most.

On March 14, Facebook apps recorded their longest ever 12-hour outage. While people speculated possibilities of cyber attacks, the social networking giant denied the speculation and blamed “server reconfiguration” for its app blackout.

Following Facebook, in the last four months, Google services like Gmail, Maps and Calendar also broke down three times for users worldwide.

On June 3, Google apps such as YouTube, Gmail and Nest along with Snapchat and other web services stopped working for users in the US and Europe for four hours. As the company promised to probe the issue, a service disruption caused a three-hour long Google Calendar outage globally.

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Facebook, Messenger and Instagram apps are displayed on an iPhone, March 13, 2019, in New York. VOA

“App outages are scary. Personally, I instantly start fearing worst-case scenarios like if my account has been hacked. I just go blank,” said Sheena Sharma, 25, from Bengaluru.

Not just social networking apps, other Internet-backed services like voice assistants are also vulnerable to outages. On May 16, Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa suffered outage in the US for undisclosed reasons.

Throughout the outage period, when users asked Alexa for assistance, it replied: “Sorry. I’m having trouble. Please try in a little while”.

Also Read- Researchers Develop an Algorithm to Predict Storms, Cyclones

Joining the outages, Twitter’s dashboard TweetDeck went down on July 2 in Europe and the US before it was restored later.

The outage report said there were “issues at TweetDeck”, with nearly 400 complaints just within 20 minutes. Down Detector said there were “problems at Twitter”.

“While all apps have faced outages, Twitter still holds the forte and brings people from across the world to vent out their frustration on its platform. As soon as any of the apps stop working, I immediately check Twitter if it is just me or an actual blackout has happened,” said Aayushi Aglawe, a 23-year-old media intern from Pune. (IANS)