Social Media is a Must but can’t Replace Traditional Communication

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Young politicians from Maharashtra expressed their experiences and opinions about social media at the 2nd edition of Marathi Social Media Sammelan

Your social media use must be suitable to your personality but there is no alternative to direct communication with people in politics, expressed all the young politicians from Maharashtra who were part of the panel discussion titled ‘Social Media in Politics’. 

The panel was part of the 2nd Marathi Social Media Sammelan organised by Digital Media Premi Mandali in association with Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) and Miracle events.

The participants of the panel included Rohit Pawar, MLA, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Aditi Tatkare, state tourism minister, Devendra Bhuyar, Independent MLA from Amravati, Yogesh Kadam, MLA, Shiv Sena, Siddharth Shirole, MLA, Bharatiya Janata Party. The panel discussion was conducted by Prof. Ujjwala Barve, HOD, Mass Communication and Journalism department of SPPU.

“I generally strike a balance between work oriented and personal posts. While posting I ensure that none of them would hurt social sentiments,” said Tatkare.

She further emphasised that nowadays, creating a social media image is a must for politicians. “We have to post on time and also ensure that we don’t look fake on our social media accounts, we must reflect our original personality,” added Tatkare. 

She also raised an issue that only 20% of women in India use social media which is a great digital gender gap and that is why it is important to have direct communication as well.

Devendra Bhuyar added further to the discussion by calling social media an inevitable medium for politicians. He said, “The medium is definitely beneficial to communicate what kind of work you have done. If you don’t post for a while, people in your constituency start questioning you.” 

Bhuyar also added that trolling is also part of their everyday communication and ignoring the negative comments or hateful posts is the only solution. He also emphasized that a lot of women in his constituency use WhatsApp effectively to communicate local problems and reach out to him.

“My social media account is according to my personality and I ensure that I try and reach the maximum young population in India who have populated the social media,” said Pawar. He further added that If he is continuously trolled by the opposition, then he considers it as a progress of his work and nothing else. “We have to use every media and every way of communication to reach our voters. Social media is a perception based medium. You will only do well on it when you actually go on the ground and talk to people directly,” Rohit Pawar said.

Adding to the discussion, Siddharth Shirole also said that social media must have a balance of perception and reality. “For me, everyone should have their own code of conduct for their social media account. And for politicians it should be a combination of personal communication with people and posts about them,” he said. Shirole further added that he uses social media for the purpose of constructive political work and ignores the negativity on it.

Yogesh Kadam, in his response, called social media a new age revolution. “This medium has ensured that people can connect directly with their political representatives and can also know them as human beings,” he said. He further added that he has learned a lot from social media and one of the learnings is that there must be a dialogue between the politicians and people. “We still use the traditional mediums to communicate. It is all about the balance of old and new,” he said.