Shri Narendra Modi’s Google+ Hangout an instant hit among social media, Internet and news channels.
People from 116 nations witness Shri Modi engage with the people on various issues.
Narendra Modi’s Hangout has changed the terms of political discourse: Vivek Vembu writing in Firstpost
The Hangout breached barriers of communication. Questions represented an India for whom earthly issues matter more than trick questions and political polemics: Shashi Shekhar in Niti Central
As the clock struck 8 on the evening of 31st August, all eyes were set at the Chief Minister’s Residence in Gandhinagar where Shri Narendra Modi was all set to participate in a historic Google+ Hangout Session with participants from across the world. Noted Bollywood actor Mr. Ajay Devgn anchored the Hangout.
The Hangout was memorable for a number of reasons. Firstly, people from 116 countries viewed it, which is a record of sorts. Secondly, Shri Modi got candid on a lot of issues ranging from Gujarat’s growth, agrarian transformation, rural development to more personal aspects of his life such as what he likes to eat, the history behind the iconic ‘Modi Kurta’ and the number of hours he sleeps in a day. The excitement was extremely visible on the faces of the participants who were totally mesmerized by the personality and answers of Shri Modi. This Hangout was also notable because questions came in from every part of the world be it New York, London, Tokyo or Kashmir, Delhi, Tumkur (Karnataka) closer home.
For over 3 hours, Shri Modi’s Google+ Hangout session dominated social media, news channels and even the Internet. For the entire day, ‘#ModiHangout’ remained the top trend with responses literary pouring in from all sides. ‘#ModiHangout’ was also the top trend in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Ahmedabad. A total of more than 70,000 Tweets for the ‘ModiHangout’ were received in a single day and this is by no means a small number.
The Hangout found a prominent place in most mainstream news channels and a lot of them covered the action LIVE as it unfolded.
Naturally, Shri Modi’s answers made their way into leading news sites. Writing about the entire session, Firstpost.com, a leading web based news site wrote, “Narendra Modi‘s arsenal of answers in his much-hyped video chat was stunning to say the least. Poetry, metaphors, subtle criticism and smart-politicking coloured his live video chat.” Firstpost also covered the Hangout real time on their website.
In a comprehensive analysis of the Hangout, Venky Vembu of Firstpost wrote that Shri Modi’s Google+ Hangout has changed the terms of political discourse! Mr. Vembu sees this Hangout as loaded with political significance in the sense that it fundamentally alters the way political leaders engage with the people. Mr. Vembu adds, “By putting himself out in the open and taking questions directly from the people – without the traditional intermediation of the mainstream media – Modi has overnight raised the bar for leaders on two counts: public accessibility and accountability.” In a time when questioning leaders can either land you in prison or when many of our leaders take no questions anyway, Mr. Vembu saw the session as a healthy sign.
Writing for Niti Central, a leading voice on the Internet for news and views, Shashi Shekhar wrote about how Shri Modi has breached the barrier of communication. Mr. Shekhar opined that the questions represented that India for whom earthy questions and simple issues matter much more than perhaps mundane political problems. Kartikeya Tanna, giving his views on the Hangout in Niti Central stated that Shri Modi has given the people of India a cause to celebrate.
If so many Twitter users and news channels covered it, how can independent bloggers be left behind? There were some quality posts on how Shri Modi is innovatively using social media and on the impact the Hangout has on the ground level, where a leader directly communicates with the people and hears their voices.
This Hangout is a small beginning that has left a gigantic influence on the minds of the people. The numbers and spread of questions, the bursting Internet traffic and the energetic responses by Shri Modi is an indirect but fitting tribute to the Aam Admi, who wants to engage with their leaders but is in search of an opportunity. Shri Modi has set the tone, now its for others to follow….