Mahatma Gandhi steered India to Independence from the 150 year old British Rule. He fought his campaign on a shoe string budget and with an amicable personality. But if you imagine a revolution of that scale in today’s age, could we ignore the impact that social media may have on it? Would Gandhi’s impact have been greater and quicker had he access to the internet or social media? This article aims to compare how the Indian freedom struggle may have turned out, if there was an online element to it.
Social Media like Twitter and Facebook would have been ideal for passing messages and publicly campaigning about such causes. Although Gandhi and his followers had a vast network for passing messages across the country, he would have been more than happy to get the support of social media, especially due to the low cost of messaging compared to the reach of the medium. His profile on Twitter and Facebook would have been amongst the most popular ones and his messages would have surely dented the colonial rulers’ credibility.
Not only would Gandhi have been able to send lightning fast updates to his countrymen, but he would also have been able to reach out to other countries and their citizens, with photographs of the live happenings. His Dandi Salt March would have attracted millions of protesters and would have immediately brought about a drastic change in the way of governance.
We would have all connected directly with Gandhi, reading every update he would have posted and every selfie he would have clicked, offering our two cents of advise on each of them. However, he himself would have written the records of history. His words would have touched every fan and follower directly. How wonderful it would have been to receive an update from Gandhi’s twitter page or send him a direct message through social networks.
Twitter and Facebook are rarely used in a formal way or as a primary form of communication, however, they would have made extremely helpful weapons in the hands of Gandhi. He knew that the only way to fight the British was to get as much support and assistance from the common people. What better way to do it than social media. Social media is a sort of leveler. When you are on social media, you are vulnerable to anything and anyone. Its like speaking on a public platform, where the public has an elephant’s memory.
A distinguishing factor in Gandhi’s methods and today’s social media is the noise factor. The older system of sending messages and communicating with the public was more focused and precise. Today’s systems are noisy and come with a baggage of unwanted information, in which the central message is lost. However, this minor limitation could be overlooked considering the wide reach and quick delivery of free speech.
It is extremely creditable that without modern forms of communication and with bare minimum resources, Gandhi peacefully ejected the Britishers from India. Twitter and Facebook have been instrumental in the downfall of various regimes in today’s world, showing how impactful they could be in shaping world history. Revolutions in Egypt, Libya, Syria, and many parts of the Middle East have been severely influenced by the way they were promoted and pushed on social networks.