Social media has emerged as a new force behind public opinions and social values in India and across the world. It is due to the openness of platform to voice opinions and discussions.
Political leaders can reach out to their audiences at any minute of any day without any interference
Quick response mechanisms that social media offers helps shape public values the minute an event takes place e.g., the Chai pe Charcha campaign used by the BJP in 2014 elections is an example to that effect
Platform of propaganda – leaders can preach and propagate their ideologies to remotest corner of india now
Low marginal cost – generation and consumption of a new idea has near zero marginal cost on social media, because of expansive reach of the system
Micro blogging sites such as twitter have become ideal platform today to reach out to people. Almost every political leaders highlight their views and policies on such far reaching platforms
At the same time, social values also can be changed and influenced positively as well negatively via these channels. Swachh Bahrat Mission, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao etc are programs which owe their popularity to social media. These have also helped induce behavioural change among populations for the aforementioned causes.
But there have also been negative aspects of such platforms in influencing social values. The instances of cow vigilantism, communal disharmony via fake news propagation, killing of Google employees as Child Lifters are examples in point.
Social media has led to heated debates around conflicting ideologies and has hindered the tolerant culture of Indian society. E.g., the instance of Sushma Swaraj being abused on social media for helping out an inter-faith couple to secure their passport is a case in point.
To conclude, citizens need to be more aware, selective while consuming information because with rise of social media, there is also a need for awareness generation about verification of content on such platforms. We must not leave our basic human values for the values propagated by unsocial elements there.