Friday, January 03, 2014

Inspiring India's youth to vote using social media as a tool

How would you inspire and mobilize India's youth to vote in the Indian General Elections 2014 using social mobile apps?

How would I?

Before running into my lecture on how we can tap the youth force to vote in the country’s general elections, I propose that we analyse the youth psychology and psychographics attached to this segment. If you want to get the youth in your fold, you need to work them, just like big and small brands in the market beginning with underwear to nail polishes to denims and sneakers do.

Selling India to its youth is not so much of a difficult proposition but getting them to vote is a slightly more painful job. The primary reason being they don’t feel any compelling reason to go vote. Indian kids are brought up around red tapesim, told to keep quiet, not have opinions, to listen to elders - including having others decide on careers for them. Voting is a responsibility – like flushing the toilet after you use it. It is a right – like demanding pocket money.

While young minds are adaptable, trainable and inspirable, what is important to know is that they are also overloaded with information. They see, listen to, speak and process information at the same speed. With social media usage at an all-time high, to say we are in the right space at the right time would be more than appropriate.

Young minds are self-inspired. So to kick start the campaign is getting people to voice their opinion in a public forum – like twitter and facebook. They need to be made to come forth with what they feel from within, they need to be made to identify the issues surrounding them politically, economically, in education, science, environmentally and take a stand. Different forums will be formed, discussions, arguments and resolutions will follow. That will give them the courage to speak their mind, form opinions, get opinions, and get together. Step 1, over.

Step 2: As with any cause, what is most important to make them torch bearers of the change they want to see; to be prepared to fight for their cause. Social media needs to cleverly bring together these youngsters in to physical groups/gatherings wherein they will meet others who have been only sharing their online lives. Talks by those who matter in the real world, sharing of ideas and stressing on the fact that only voting will make any difference to all their talks and efforts this far should be driven in. Every participant needs to plug in and create and group even while the conference is in progress with his absentee friends and others on his friends list and create buzz about the conference and the resolutions – in short each participant will become an online ambassador for our cause - inspiring and mobilizing India's youth to vote in the Indian General Elections 2014. Social media being social media, thoughts ideas and discussions will be shared, commented on, retweeted and a bigger buzz created. Leaders will emerge. They will lead further campaigns with smaller forces. Eventually, winding down to the d-day #VoteForIndia will lead by inspiring all to flock to polling booths and getting the ink down on their nail.

Target achieved.

And this is how I will do it.

This blog post is written for an indiblogger contest in association with #Voteforindia and @WeChatIndia