Vol. XLIII No. 14 April 07, 2019
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2-Day National Workshop on Social Media Held in Delhi

Mahesh Kumar

A two-day national workshop on the effective use of social media by CPI(M) workers and volunteers for propagating our political ideas and movements was organised by the Party on September 5-6 in New Delhi. The primary purpose of the workshop was to make the participants equipped with different tools and techniques so that with its effective use, they can easily disseminate information about the Party’s campaigns and movements on the ground. The workshop was inaugurated by Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat and the concluding session was addressed by CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury.

Karat, in her opening remarks, explained the wide reach of social media in today’s highly technologically equipped society. She also explained how the availability of relatively cheaper smart phones has made these technologies more accessible to the working class youth, particularly those in rural areas. At present, there are 130 million smart phone users in the country and the number is expected to go up to 500 million, and hence the need to use it as one among the various mediums of communication has grown. Social media provides us with the opportunity to propagate our ideas and politics at a time when Left ideologies, work and politics is being blacked out in the corporate-controlled, mainstream media. She said that it is not a substitute for our direct mass contact programme but an important additional platform to reach out to newer sections.

Karat referred to the official Facebook and Twitter page of the Party, besides the main website, and threw light on various campaigns run by the Party on social media and their success which includes live coverage of a rally addressed by Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar against dilution of MGNREGA, “EkSaalBuraHaal” campaign on the first anniversary of the Modi government, and the campaigns on Sri Ram Colony and on RSS terror in Kerala. She informed the participants about the effectiveness of social media in drawing attention of the mainstream media towards the struggles led by the Party. She also appreciated efforts of the Party’s central social media team in successfully running these campaigns.

The two-day workshop began with presentations from different state teams on their presence in social media and campaigns run by them. The West Bengal team said that its Facebook ‘reach’ which crossed three lakh mark on the day of all-India general strike on September 2 and the posts on brutal assault by police had forced even the mainstream media channels to give coverage to it. Similarly, the Kerala team presented its report and video that it had made comprising various martyrs who were brutally murdered by RSS goons. Telangana and Jammu and Kashmir teams informed how they had effectively used the social media and campaigns on it to make people aware about the failure of their respective state governments in fulfillment of promises that they had made during electioneering. Around 20 states presented their reports of past works and future tasks.

Various sessions in the workshop were taken by different resource persons including Kiran Chandra and Praveen from the Free Software Movement as well those from the Party’s central social media team. They acted as very effective trainers, making the workshop a great success. Sessions on effective use of Twitter, Facebook, and image editing, poster and video making were taken followed by ‘hands-on’ session which gave the participants the opportunity for practical implementation of techniques and tools learned. Summing up the lessons of the workshop, CPI(M) Central Secretariat member V Srinivasa Rao laid emphasis on how, with the help of social media, we can inform not only people of a certain area but across nations about our struggles and movements on the ground. He explained how social media, if effectively used, can be a medium to develop contacts with larger sections of the society, which otherwise remained untouched.

In the concluding session, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury laid stress on how in coming days, the social media is going to play an important role in dissemination of information, and hence the Party workers should be prepared for it. It will not only connect masses of a single city or state but people across the globe can be contacted through it and hence can be made aware about the ideology and political message of the Party. He explained that the mainstream media is governed by the big corporate houses and so they will never give space to the mass movements waged by the Party. Hence it would be responsibility of the Party workers to take the movements, struggles and voice of the Party which is fighting for the right of working class, to the general masses. He said that social media can act as a “force multiplier” and be used to reach out to those who are otherwise not easily accessible.

Prabir Purkaystha, the coordinator of the workshop, thanked everyone present for successful completion of the programme. (END)