Anna Hazare and his team have been very smart and shrewd in their use of FB and Web, heres how.
One of the most evocative adverts that I have seen is a one by an Italian Telecom firm. The ad extrapolates the power of communication with the use of Mahatma Gandhi as a theme. So, at the start, you have Gandhi sitting in front of a video-conferencing system, sharing his thoughts and ideas with millions across the globe. My suggestion is that you check the ad (http://bit.ly/gandhiad) for yourself, to know the plot.
The reason why I am discussing the ad is that I have my strong doubts, that if not Anna Hazare, but someone from his team especially, has seen this advert and has been inspired by it. The reason, I say this is, because the Anna movement currently is going quite the way it had been imagined in the ad. In fact right from very start, Team Anna has been using social media much effectively to reach out to the masses and outflank his opponents.
By reaching out to the youth, Team Anna has ensured that the social media, especially FaceBook and Twitter are completely abuzz with their activities. In fact, the day on which Anna was arrested in Delhi, the whole of social network broke out in a righteous rage. Numerous groups and pages were created for Anna on FaceBook, #Anna was one of top-trends on Twitter globally..
While much of it might be extempore, one can not discount the foresight of Team Anna, who even shot a 10 minute video of Anna, talking about what happens if he is jailed and then uploading the same on YouTube. Almost immediately, there were thousands of people across the globe, who had not only heard what Anna said, but also were convinced about his earnestness.
Through the whole while, the various FB groups were drumming support for the Janlokpal Bill. For instance, the India Against Corruption page on FB, already boasts of connecting more than 4 lakh people across the length and breadth of this nation. There was also a number circulating, on which all one had to do was give a missed call to show support . Little wonder, when Team Anna wanted to show its strength through rallies, these groups came in handy and were able to ensure impressive turnouts. Anna Hazare truly knows the power of the medium, and is well attuned to exploit it.
But he is not the first one to draw attention, it was the current US President Barrack Obama, who really demonstrated the power of the Internet through his highly successful online campaign. In fact, many attribute his victory to the effective use of FaceBook, YouTube and Twitter.
Similarly, Anna Hazare's success also can be accredited to the effective use of Web tools to reach out to the masses. He is the creator and creation of the Web-based persona.
So what is the future, one might wonder? Well, one can be sure that as the anti-corruption war intensifies in the days to come, web and technologies will play a central role in disseminating the message.
Indeed, were Gandhi alive today, he would have been much impressed by the way his 74 year old follower has used the medium. Gandhian ways are much apt for the hyper-connected world, is something that even Gandhi would agree.