Today the Finance Minister will interact with people through Google+ Hangout at 8pm. He intends to answer questions regarding the Union Budget, and this is the first time that a cabinet minister will be interacting with people through social media. This made me happy that social media is being put to good use.
It is clear that Congress is now gearing up in a big way for the 2014 elections and the welfare budget, as it has been named, has been the continuance to that. What is heartening to note is that the Finance Minister will himself explain to the people what is for them in the budget. This is to ensure that the welfare measures and all the steps, which have been taken, gets into the minds of the people. Though the business community is still recuperating from the budget effect the panellists which include Jahangir Aziz, senior Asia economist and India chief economist at JP Morgan; Anand Mahindra, CMD Mahindra & Mahindra; Amit Singhal, senior vice-president, Google Inc. and Manish Chokhani, CEO, Axis Capital, can analyse the budget effect more clearly today.
I also wonder how Google+ scores over Facebook when it comes to politics in India. Narendra Modi used Google+ Hangout to get in touch with the people during his election campaign, and now we have the Finance Minister intending to answer questions of the people. Who said Google+ is a graveyard? Here in politics it is gradually getting into the scene. Is it because it has more of a serious tone to it and our ministers think that to be more suitable than Facebook where they assume people are more in a fun mood?
Even if they wanted to how can you possible have something like Hangout on Facebook? So at this moment Google+ scores and Facebook doesn’t. In fact,poor Facebook users have to face the brunt of restrictions and reprimand in the form of arrests for something they ‘like’. Facebook seems to be a hot object for the government to touch now.
Coming back to today’s scheduled Hangout, will it able to do the branding for the UPA government? Can one off exercise help? Can we have similar Hangouts in crucial situations say with the Home Minister? All these questions seems so out of context in the present scenario, isn’t it? But then isn’t social media a flow and not a stepping stone to success? You don’t use it only when there is an election in the pipeline but you use it on regular basis. Will the government think of ROI ( return of investment) or ROE ( return of engagement) here? In my opinion it is ROI and for that you need to regularly be in touch then only you can think of that. What is your take on this?