Updated: Mar 31, 2019
The most cherished ideals of the 20th century- Democracy with the new 21st Century Battle Ground.
The world’s largest democracy- India is all set to vote.
2019 will mark a shift in the way elections will be fought and won. The battle ground is no longer the parched farms with farmers carrying sickles or the dangerous and menacing borders where soldiers wield weapons. Nor will the battle ground be the bumpy roads filled with toxic air and smog, nor the urban sprawls with spires of concrete and no glitzy shopping malls with enticing wares nor the volatile stock markets where millions are made or lost and neither the TV news rooms with the cacophony of paid experts vying for 2 minutes of air time.
The theater of war will shift to social media.
Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp Snapchat , YouTube etc. will be the new battle ground. Stealth the latest weapon. Fake News and propaganda ready to ambush the naïve, the ill-informed and the unprepared.
Not only that, there is a strong likelihood of other countries trying to sway voters to suit their own nationalist agenda. It’s so easy to camouflage and slip in and mingle.
It’s time to remember the Russian influence in America’s elections. It’s also time to remember the huge amounts of money and donations from unknown sources that went into the leave campaign of Brexit.
It’s also pertinent to note the amazingly lucrative market that India is for social media advertising .
So elections in 2019 will be a game changer in understanding how democracies have evolved or have been morphed by the current narrative.
Social Media has been one of the most powerful levers for change. It now defines how people engage with the world. This narrative is shaped by the shares, the likes and forwards which forms the new social currency.
The more the likes, the more the attention, and the more the money somebody makes.
And so to garner more attention - What do you do? Resort to - sensationalism, horror, conspiracy, strong emotions, abuse and slander.
And these six- sensationalism, horror, conspiracy, strong emotions, abuse and slander will what we will see most of the times. That’s where the money is.
Is there anything we can do?
I guess it’s again a choice which people make.
For us at Cult Altered we will bring to the fore, what seems fake and ridiculous? We will try, in our small way to bring to our reader’s issues that matters, facts and not opinions.
We will take the responsibility to first look at our own bias and filters before we write on our elections.
And it is our promise that in our writings we will leave that little space for you to form your own opinions and hear yourself speak, not drown your voice.
This my friends will be our small attempt in our civic responsibility in defending and championing our most cherished ideals of democracy, freedom of expression and liberty using the very same platform which is creating a paradigm shift and a paradox at the same time.
Will we succeed?
We will, if only our success metrics are different and our content real, fresh and engaging.
Here’s celebrating our democracy with the whiff of idealism, dash of cynicism, pinch of realism and the smattering of Nationalism ………… just like our beloved bhel and paani puri.
Here’s to the Idea of India.