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Social Media - The Fourth Pillar


Social Media: Reconstructing
the Fourth Pillar

Social media permits multiple identities - tribal, feudal, regional, linguistic, national, religious, ... It allows the material impulses/instincts to be satisfied by proxy, in the virtual world. The very nature of the network allows hierarchical and horizontal connections with others

Recent technological innovations put the tools of production of media content in the hands of common man. It allows anybody with access to the Net to reach across to millions. It gives voice to erstwhile voiceless. Access to these tools empowers the powerless.  

For the traditional large corporate media houses, however, it has been very disempowering. Grandmothers start chitchatting with their grandchildren on the other part of the world, disregarding their favourite serial - because that is the best time to interact with people on the other part of the world. Young householders living in rented flats are attending to their virtual farms and decorating their virtual houses, fulfilling their instincts and dreams. Young children making up animation stories using applications in iPad... Attracting eyeballs to any mass entertainment has never been more difficult.  

From the traditional mass media point of view, the new media is seen as merely another platform for delivery. But the new media is much more than that. It is a platform for interactions, conversations, searching, creating and sharing. Sharing is a two way process but media delivery is a one way street. The traditional business models for media are not yet really ready for this transformation. 

Challenges to traditional media 

Social Media-A Double-edged Sword


Social Media- A Double-edged Sword 

We need to guard against the negative impact of the social media, which ought to be used in the correct manner for creative or productive purposes so that it is progressive to mankind and society at large, rather than regressive

The term social media is being used quite often by everyone and has become a popular topic of conversation, debates and controversies. Contrary to popular belief and perceptions of the general public, social media is not just restricted to sites like Facebook and Twitter. Social media, in fact, encompasses all the web services that facilitate creation, sharing and exchange of user-generated content. These include but are not restricted to Internet forums, groups, blogs, microblogs, networking sites, social bookmarking sites, wikis, podcasts, content communities for articles, video/photo sharing sites, Q & A sites, review sites and so on and so forth, the list is endless. The number of people accessing and using the social media is increasing exponentially day by day. But how many of us truly understand what social media is and the effect it has on people as individuals and the society at large. 

Integrating Sustainability in Planning


Integrating Sustainability into Indian Planning 

People’s movements, civil society organizations, academic thinktanks, and progressive political leaders will have to lead the way, both by resisting today’s destructive processes and by building on existing alternatives

India’s attempts at integrating environmental sustainability into economic  planning have so far been piecemeal and hesitant. They have done little to stem the rapid slide into ecological devastation and consequent livelihood, cultural, and economic disruption. At the root of this lies the stubborn adherence to a model of economic growth that is fundamentally unsustainable and inequitable, even more so in its ‘globalised’ form in the last two decades.  

The 12th Plan process could have been an opportunity to change course, specially given its explicit commitment to sustainability, inclusiveness and equity. Indeed there are some glimpses of a different approach, e.g. making economic activities more responsible in their use of resources and in the wastes they produce, promoting urban water harvesting and public transport, providing organic inputs to agriculture use, encouraging recycling, making tourism more environmentally responsible and community-based, moving towards low-carbon strategies, and protecting the ‘commons’ (lands and waters that are used by the public), giving communities more secure rights to use and manage these. Yet the Plan falls far short of significant reorientation, mostly staying within the confines of assuming that more growth will help achieve these goals. It does not use any available framework of ‘sustainable development’, including the targets that India agreed to at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesberg). It does not contain indicators to gauge whether India is moving towards sustainability, e.g. improvement in per capita availability of natural forests, reduction in the levels of various kinds of pollution, improved access to nutritious food and clean water, or enhanced availability of public transport. Environmental considerations do not yet permeate each economic sector.  


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