Networking the community: Twitter or Facebook?

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Networking the community: Twitter or Facebook?

**Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney, 11th May, 2012

Social networking is very hip these days. Facebook [FB], Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs, YouTube, Tagg, Digg and many more are increasingly popular in the world. According to [an industry source], Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have 750 million, 250 million and 110 million estimated unique monthly visitors respectively presently. They are obviously very

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popular in Australia too.

Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott, Former PM Kevin Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull, and Premier Barry O’Farrell are all into it. Indian PM, Man Mohan Singh, Shashi Tharoor, Ministry of External Affairs [Govt of India] are heavily into Twitter. Celebrities like Deepak Chopra, Oprah Winfrey and even Dalai Lama are in it. It would not be wrong to say that almost anyone who is anybody in the world has Twitter and Facebook presence.

I am a keen and regular user of social media for some time for my community interactions. When Kyle Sandilands of 2DayFM made nasty comments against India and River Ganges, a Twitter “follower” sent me a link of the sound bites of his comments on my Twitter account. When Dept of Immigration & Citizenship [DIAC] had put an erroneous map of India [excluding Jammu & Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh] in its website, someone sent me a link via Twitter. We ran a multi-pronged campaign, which included Twitter and Blog, on these matters, which were picked by other media, leading to successful result. Similarly, it was on my Twitter account that I received a response from Ministry of External Affairs [MEA], Govt of India, about who is our new Consul General of India in Sydney a few weeks ago, after I asked MEA about it via their Twitter account! The list of examples does not end here.

Many events and functions all over the world, including events from Indian Australian community, have a presence in the social media, and are indeed heavily promoted via social media.

With more than 150000 people of Indian heritage in NSW alone and more than 350000 Indian Australians all over the country, there would be obvious benefits in having a better and effective networking among us.  Radio programmes, most of which operate on a weekly basis, have some reach but they do not reach everyone because of time and language factors. Monika Geet Mala [Voice of India, Sydney, 8 hours], and SBS Radio programmes on Saturday and Sunday mornings generally do a good but still a limited job for obvious reasons. 24/7 subscription-based Radio programmes have their own limitations.  Similarly, Indian ethnic newspapers in English like Indian Link, The Indian, Indus Age, Indian Down Under and Navtarang do a good job too, but their reach is again limited. This reach can improve however with improved content, fewer advertisements [difficult proposition] and better periodicity. Newspapers in regional languages-Punjab Times, Gujarat Times and Tamil Osai, also do a good job for their exclusive audience. Despite this, it is known that ethnic Indian newspapers, even collectively, do not reach a big proportion of Indian Australian community. More needs to be done, and indeed, can be done, using social media, which can easily complement the conventional media.

People often say that Radio programmes and newspapers are the favourite of more established and older group of Indians but younger and newer Indians are not that much into them. They are definitely more into Social media. My anecdotal experience suggests that Facebook is their preferred tool currently. Facebook however has many limitations, including privacy settings, which prevent it from becoming a real tool for mass communication. Creating a page in Facebook or “liking” a site there may overcome it to some extent, but this is yet to happen in a big scale.  To have someone as a “friend” in Facebook, a request needs to be sent and then accepted by the recipient of that request. Twitter, on the other hand, has no such limitation. Anyone can “follow” anyone and join the network of that person. Twitter has now become a common, and possibly a favoured, way for politicians, journalists and celebrities to “broadcast” what they want to say to the world. People can also reach out to such people whenever needed, and that too without any hassle. Twitter, unlike Facebook, does not restrict the number of “followers” a Twitter account can have. Many believe that Twitter and Facebook, indeed, have become parts of mainstream media.

My view is that we should get more into social media. This should provide a better and more effective networking among us, even if we leave aside the fun component of being in the social media.  With increasing numbers in the younger segment of Indian Australian community, this is actually a necessity.

I will like to see most, if not all, of Indian Australians in Twitter and Facebook, communicating and networking effectively and smartly.

If a non-geek like me can join social media and use it effectively, anyone can do the same. It is not difficult at all to be on Twitter and/or Facebook or any other social medium.

Have you got a “Face” on FB and tweeted on Twitter yet?

**Dr Yadu Singh is a Sydney based Cardiologist who uses Social media-Twitter [], Facebook [] and Blog [] regularly and effectively.

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