No Air Force in the world has ever won a war on its own. Air attacks are helpful to destroy enemy capabilities, key installations, Air-strips and so on. The battle has to be finally won on the ground. It has to be won by foot soldiers and combatants. Even the London Blitzkrieg by Madolf Heatlump in 1940 didn’t manage to subdue Britain or conquer it. Media is quite similar; it’s an ‘aerial’ attack. If Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Youtube are to be considered battles then they are all “aerial” battles and not battles on the ground. I don’t think anybody disputes that. Therefore, I had to wonder why Shashi Tharoor had to suddenly make a statement that “Twitter is not substitute for action”. Just so that we are clear on what he said while lashing out at Sushma Swaraj and others over Uttarakhand, let me quote him as reported:
"I think I was probably the first politician on this country to being on Twitter, and that time I was criticized for being there. But the truth is that Twitter is never been a substitute for action. It is not a substitute for parliament. It is not a substitute for normal level of political engagement… Right now the nation wants that the people who are trapped in Uttarakhand should be rescued…" Fair enough! Naturally, considering the Minister’s utterances are important to the security, integrity and unity of this country there had to be a debate. Yeah… like in the past NDTV held another worthless debate on this. Only they can manage to do this and who else to do it but Barkha Dutt. Just like Nidhi at NDTV is fond of the “larger” picture, Barkha is fond of “evolving” everything. Take a look at this pic from her show on July 4:
So from whether Congress can crash Modi’s web-party to whether Indian politics can “E-volve” you get your answers on her show. What was the provocation for this debate? It’s that ST has now been appointed “Tweeter-In-Chief” (TIC) of the Congress party to combat Modi the Menace. As we have learned from the past ‘fact-checking’ is neither a virtue nor valued at NDTV. So Barkha is a bit surprised that ST has been appointed TIC considering he had to resign in 2009 over his “Cattle Class” tweet. Is that true? Absolutely not! ST had to resign in in 2010 over his connection with the Kochi IPL scam and not in 2009 for his tweet. Her reporter then states that the Congress will resort to “carpet bombing” as far as the information offensive on Social Media is concerned. Carpet bombing? Oh yes, they have already started that. Here’s proof:
So there’s the carpet bombing of a single tweet (although devoid of facts) and these are just samples. All miserable handles tweeting tutored stuff like robots. Is this how ST is going to combat the Modi Menace? Then good-luck to him and the rest can sit back and watch the comedy. If you have come this far, I recommend that you first read “How To Buy Friends & Influence Elections” (if you haven’t already) which touches upon the earlier plan of Congress’ 100-Crore Twitter plan which seems to have bombed. So why did the TIC suddenly realise Twitter is not a substitute for action? That’s the question NDTV didn’t ask.
“Right now the nation wants that the people who are trapped in Uttarakhand should be rescued” the TIC said. Who can disagree with that? For that we will have to go back a year to an article TIC wrote in HT Brunch called “If you can Yahoo, why not Twitter”. The link only has images not the text. I suppose TIC meant Yahoo as in Shammi Kapoor Yahoo and not the search engine. Here’s a bit of what he wrote then:
As I discovered during my first time in government I could use Twitter to put out information the MSM was not interested in. While I was in the Ministry of External Affairs I used Twitter for ‘India’s Public Diplomacy’. Ahem! Public Diplomacy! And he writes further:
Twitter has also proved enormously useful in recent years in recent humanitarian disasters in Haiti and Japan helping alert authorities, deliver on-the-spot information and find missing people. And we know the role it played in keeping Iranian protests alive after the disputed presidential election and in helping organising the Cairo protesters who led Egypt’s Jasmine revolution.
I have always known ST to be a hypocrite and he does it again. Twitter was useful in disasters in Haiti and Japan and even in protests in Iran and Egypt but when it came to Uttarakhand he makes a grand statement that it’s not a substitute for action. Well, nobody even claimed it was, so why the statement? The answer is simple. Blasted by people and the Opposition on Twitter for shoddy work, or even lack of it, in Uttarakhand ST had no answer but to claim “Twitter not a substitute”. Lame! Fact: The news of the disaster in Uttarakhand travelled faster on Twitter than it did on MSM. The absolute incompetence of both the state and the central govt in the disaster had to be explained by lousy statement of ST. And finding people through Twitter isn’t action? Oh yes… it is for Haiti and Japan but not for Uttarakhand.
Since I explained media and Twitter are “aerial” pursuits, can ST explain what the specific need was for an “aerial” tour by Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh? What explains the mindless aerial tour of Rahul Gandhi? Nothing! RahulG’s travel on the ground was actually worse than the aerial tour. There’s probably another thing that bothers ST. In May 2012 NY Times IndiaInk had proclaimed “Shashi Tharoor is India’s Social Media King” but he has now been beaten on Twitter follower count by Narendra Modi and his hypocrisy is being noticed much more than before. Considering Modi has surged ahead on follower count at least on one measure ST is hardly the guy who can combat him.
There’s another joke that the NDTV reporter innocently cracked on Barkha’s show. He stated that since RahulG’s promotion (as Vice-President?) there is a new found aggression by the Congress online. Really? First, what practical difference does RahulG’s title make in the Congress hierarchy anyway? Secondly, RahulG himself is scared to interact on the SM. Forget SM, RahulG is scared to interact with the youth at any forum except in closed-door “ceremonies”. A leader leaving the job to side-kicks is hardly going to win any Twitter battle let alone wars. There’s another article from HT Brunch in July 2011 in which a survey put Shashi Tharoor at 187 in celebrity influencers and noted he had already fallen out of the top 100. I wonder where he would be in a new survey. And if the grand “carpet bombing” wasn’t enough, here’s a Congress youth/NSUI leader tweeting that the Sikh killings of 1984 was the need of the hour (July 6):
I am sure ST knows what morons he has to manage. The threat is not Modi, it’s his own bunch. There’s more, I’m not sure Shashi Tharoor himself did anything on the ground in Uttarakhand. But I have news for him. Twitter moved many people to act. TOI reports “How tweeple joined hands to help Uttarakhand disaster victims”. Now, if ST cares to check the handles in the report he will probably find most or none of them are Congress supporters. Go check! In the meantime the only bimbos fighting imaginary Twitter wars are ones in the media. NDTV is just one of them.
Note: Madolf Heatlump is sarky nick given to Hitler by John Lennon.