Lately in India there has been quite a bit of news about political parties taking social media more seriously, however it is only being looked at as a marketing tool. For a while now I have been feeling that the term ‘social media marketing’ is wrongly coined because social media is never just about marketing…. it would be much better to refer to it as ‘social media communications’ as it alludes to a wider range of possibilities with social media. Recently I came across some very interesting stuff happening in Europe in the political sphere…

Beppe Grillo’s Political Party Model

Using a mix of new media & traditional rallies Beppe Grillo has just pushed his political party or should we say ‘unparty’ into the limelight. While social media platforms namely Twitter, Facebook & Blogs have been used largely as a marketing tool, what I find most intriguing is the disruptive nature of the party itself!

“get rid of the parties, put citizens in, limits of two terms, get the corrupted out of Parliament.” (Read More)

The model of the political party is to bring in citizens who rule for a limited number of terms. It would be like Jury duty i.e. volunteer duty not a money making profession at all. All processes can be made very transparent and such so the people are accountable. I don’t know the exact details about Grillo’s party model but this is very intriguing.

With the advent of internet and social media – the people in the world and within a country are connected, so connected! It is very much possible for a country with high internet literacy and penetration to elect normal, working citizens into a ruling seat. These elections can happen frequently – every two terms.

It reminds me of,

@Sweden – Sweden’s Twitter account managed by the People

The countries official Twitter account is a huge asset for the tourism board, thus it is a government asset. It is completely being managed by Sweden’s citizens. One citizen every week – and has been working brilliantly for quite some time now.

So we already have live examples of how citizens can completely manage at least some of the government positions. The government’s role then becomes more of facilitators. Where they bring in necessary processes and manage them for the citizens to rule themselves.

Bigger decisions about the country can actually be made taking into consideration what the citizens actually think. This Poll by Telegraph – Gibraltor belongs to UK or Spain? which was open for its readers to vote made me realise how possible this is. There could be a platform where the government clearly explains the pros and cons of decisions and then citizens can vote and decide the verdict or at least heavily influence it. Even now citizens can have major petition campaigns and such but often this is few and far and a lot of us are quite skeptical about how much of a difference these campaigns make.

Now however, citizens can be asked to be active participants of the government itself. They can manage many of the positions and roles as part of citizen duty, they can be decision & policy makers – the internet brings all this freedom & responsibility!

The only question that I wonder about however is if we manage a government system that is run truly by the people and is literally ‘of the people’ – taking the entire populace into consideration via polls and such will that necessarily be a good thing? It raises lot of questions about humanity itself. For eg this survey which states 1 in every 4 Asian men have indulged in rape or 1 in 3 women have experience domestic violence in America – when incidents of crime are so high, and these are the numbers on paper – what are the real numbers? Then do we trust us – the people – to really rule ourselves justly by taking public sentiments into consideration?

Will social media at some point bring the human race face to face with itself? What will we find?

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