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Author: Adv. Deepank Gupta, High court of Delhi.

Social Media is the most disruptive form of communication humankind has seen since the last disruptive form of communications, email.- By Ryan Holmes

Social media has become larger and more accessible because of access to mobile applications, with some samples of social media including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.

Need for Using Social Media

With the ever increasing diffusion of ICTs altogether walks of lives, connectedness is increasingly becoming a given a part of our lives. This connectedness brings with it many opportunities and also presents many challenges. From the angle of governments, the subsequent represent a number of the explanations for using social media:

Enhanced Outreach: because the recent world events have demonstrated, social media have emerged as a robust platform for forming an opinion furthermore as generating mass support. In India, Facebook alone has over 40 million users each. Even a micro-blogging site Twitter has about 16 million users. These sites offer a chance to succeed in out this audience at a key stroke. Many of those facilitate access through mobile devices and with nearly 900 million mobile users in India, it offers an unprecedented outreach.

Real Time engagement: Social Media releases the shackles of your time and place for engagement. they'll connect policy makers to stakeholders in real time. In recent Libyan crisis, Ministry of External Affairs used social media platforms like Twitter to help in locating and evacuating Indian Citizens from Libya.

Individual Interaction: In tradition varieties of media, interaction with individual user is either uphill or is extremely limited. Social Media platform offers the power to attach with Page 8 of 38 each and each individual. Such an interaction also enables the marginalized to participate in discussions and present their point of view, thereby improving the political position of marginalized or vulnerable groups. it's specifically useful when seeking feedback on services rendered.

Managing Perceptions: one in all the massive challenges for presidency is to avoid propagation of unverified facts and frivolous misleading rumours with relation to government policies. Leveraging these platforms can help to counter such perceptions and present the facts to enable informed opinion making.

Types of Social Media

Here are some samples of popular social media platforms:

1. Facebook is a well-liked free social networking website that permits registered users to make profiles, upload photos and video, send messages and detain touch with friends, family and colleagues.

2. Twitter is a free micro-blogging service that enables registered members to broadcast short posts called tweets. Twitter members can broadcast tweets and follow other users' tweets by using multiple platforms and devices.

3. Wikipedia is a free, open content online encyclopedia created through the collaborative effort of a community of users called Wikipedians. Anyone registered on the positioning can create a piece for publication; however, registration isn't required to edit articles. Wikipedia was founded in January of 2001.

4. LinkedIn is a social networking site designed specifically for the community. The goal of the positioning is to permit registered members to determine and document networks of individuals they know and trust professionally.

5. Reddit is a social news website and forum where stories are socially curated and promoted by site members.The location consists of many sub-communities, called "subreddits." Each subreddit features a specific topic like technology, politics or music. Reddit site members, also referred to as, "redditors," submit content which is then voted upon by other members. The goal is to send well-regarded stories to the highest of the site's main thread page.

6. Pinterest is a social curation website for sharing and categorizing images found online. Pinterest requires brief descriptions, but the most focus of the location is visual. Clicking on a picture will take a user to the initial source. as an example, clicking on an image of a pair of shoes might redirect users to a purchasing site and a picture of blueberry pancakes might redirect to the recipe.

Values for Using Social Media Unlike other traditional media, social media is more interactive, enables one-to-one conversation and demands immediacy in response. Also, on such platforms the perception of official and private roles and bounds is usually blurred. Therefore, while using social media for official purposes, the subsequent is also kept in mind to smoothen interaction: Identity: Always identify clearly who you're, what's your role within the department and publish within the person. Disclaimer is also used when appropriate. Authority: don't comment and respond unless authorized to try to to so especially within the matters that are sub-judice, draft legislations or referring to other individuals. Relevance: treat issues relevant to your area and make relevant and pertinent comments. this may make conversation productive and help take it to its logical conclusion. Professionalism: Be Polite, Be Discrete and Be Respectful to all or any and don't make personal comments for or against any individuals or agencies. Also, professional discussions mustn't be politicized. Openness : Be hospitable comments- whether positive or negative. It’s not necessary to reply to every and each comment. Compliance: Be complaintto relevant rules and regulations. don't infringe upon IPR, copyright of others. Privacy: Don't reveal personal information about other individuals similarly as don't publish your own private and private details unless you want for them to be made public to be utilized by others. What is Social Media Governance?

Social Media Governance is about understanding the risks which social media poses to your organization and having confidence that you just are appropriately managing them. Use of social media by people and organization is increasing rapidly and also the potential benefits of a successful social media strategy are significant. But, providing the liberty of a social media experience within sensible and straightforward to know boundaries is that the new challenge. Our approach recognizes that Social Media Governance is a smaller amount about systems and platforms and more about people, risk and strategy. A well implemented Social Media Governance strategy should ensure that you just are managing the risks of social media while at the identical time getting the advantages, through a correct scheme of guidance, training and monitoring. Social media Framework and Guidelines for presidency Organizations The Social Media Framework for the govt. of India has been created to enable government agencies to use these platforms more effectively and reach bent their stakeholders and understand their concerns and listen to their voices. The Framework comprises of the subsequent 6 elements: • Objective: Why center has to use social media • Platform: Which platform/s to use for interaction • Governance: What are rules of engagement • Communication Strategy: the way to interact • Pilot: the way to create and sustain a community • Engagement Analysis: Who is talking about what, where and what are the most points of conversations • Institutionalization: a way to embed social media in organization structure 1. Define Objectives: The objective for the employment of social media isn't just to disseminate information but also to undertake public engagement for a meaningful public participation for formulation of public policy. Government organizations are exploring the utilization of social media for public engagements for disseminating information, political beliefs, recruitment, generating awareness, education etc. about public services. Therefore, Social Media is also used for:

• Seeking feedback from citizens • Re-pronouncement of Public Policy • Issue based additionally as Generic interaction • Brand Building or publicity • Generating Awareness and education on National Action Plans and implementation strategies.

In the Indian context, care must be taken in order that people can communicate in their own language, and due cognizance of the views expressed in local languages is taken.

2. Choosing Platforms:

Having defined the objectives, the subsequent step is to spot platforms and phases within which such an engagement shall be undertaken at these platforms. While social networks currently seem to be the face of social media, they're not the sole platform. a number of the opposite styles of social media include, Social bookmarking site – stumble upon; transaction based platforms – Amazon & eBay; self publishing media – You Tube, Picasa; Business management etc. Since the alternatives are many, it's essential to spot one or two key platforms from which the department may begin interaction. supported objective and response, the basket of platforms could also be enhanced. Government departments and agencies can engage social media in any of the subsequent manner:

• By making use of any of the present external platforms, or • By creating their own communication platforms • the selection of the platform – whether owned or externally leveraged should be made supported the subsequent factors: • Duration of engagement - whether the engagement sought is to be an ongoing activity or created for a particular time-bound purpose • style of Consultation – whether the consultation is hospitable public or confined to a specific group of stakeholders e.g.. • Scope of Engagement – whether the consultation requires daily, weekly, bi-weekly or perhaps hourly interaction • Existing Laws – whether existing laws permit use of such platforms and also the requirement under such laws regarding data protection, security, privacy, archiving etc.

3. Governance Structure: Since use of social media could be a 24*7 engagement, the extant rules and regulations of media interaction don't fully apply to them. Two most significant aspects of social media are its: • viral characteristic – news spreads exponentially; and • demand for immediate gratification- queries, responses and counter -responses are posted instantaneously. However, since the official pages of departments must reflect the official position, some measure of control must be included within the flexible design of communication. even as rules and regulations exist for interaction with traditional media, similar rules must be created for engaging with social media. a number of the key aspects of such a governance structure include: 3.1 . Account Governance a. Account Creation: A social media account establishes an organization’s online identity. Wherever possible, the identical name for the various social networking accounts could also be adopted to make sure easy search on the net. Another important facet of online identity is that the need for it to be rendered effectively in either long form e.g. website address or in 15 characters or less (this is that the Twitter maximum). b. Login and passwords: Each new account requires a URL, user name and/or email address and a password. a correct record of login ids and password must be maintained. this can be critical as multiple people is also authorized to post on behalf of the department. c. Account Status: it's important to define whether the engagement is also undertaken through official accounts only or the officials could also be permitted to use personal accounts also for posting official responses. It determines who says what on behalf of your organization and in what form it's published. It also outlines how every bit of published information is presented where it's published. the foremost important aspect is whether or not the responses are in Official or Personal Capacity. 3.2. Response and Responsiveness: Responsiveness: this means the how often would the pages/information be updated, in what manner would the responses be posted, what would be the work time of responses etc. the most important attraction of social media is that the spontaneity and immediacy of response and feedback and people visiting the positioning would expect the some reasonably response within a pre-defined deadline.

1. Response: While creating a policy for responses, it's going to be noted that - • Not all posts/comments have to be more established immediately and individually. Also, wherever a response is required all posts should be kept short and to the purpose. • While employees are liberated to post response in their personal capacity, it's mandatory that while they're doing so, they need to clearly identify themselves, hint must not be divulged and will not be seen to represent “official view” unless authorized to try and do so. • Another important aspect that has to be addressed is that the Escalation Mechanism.


a) There needs to be an outlined hierarchy not only of responses but also of queries. for instance, the comments and queries is also classified as routine – that a commonly asked Question (FAQ) and glued Response Format (FRF) is also applied.

b) The next level is also queries/comments associated with projects/programme, that no separate official response could also be needed because all relevant information is also available within the property right and therefore the query is also responded accordingly.

c) The next level of query/comment could also be more specific where an “official” response is also needed. Such a categorization will help organizations in streamlining their responses.

d) Finally, there should be congruence between responses posted on social media and people in traditional media.

3.3. Resource Governance Allocation of Resources: Since using social media may be a resource intensive exercise, it's important to make sure that resources and their responsibilities are clearly marked out very early. Many organizations have an obsessive team including outsourced resources to manage their engagement while others primarily uses internal resources. More often than not, it's advisable to form an obsessive team. one in all the key issues that impacts the resource requirement is whether or not the conversation is moderated or un-moderated. just in case of moderated conversation, dedicated resource/s is critical. one amongst the key resources is an indoor champion within the system who can lead the strategy within the department. it's important to notice that since the engagement in social media requires different skill sets, the champion and other resources identified would require orientation & training specifically for the tasks assigned to them and follow of the fast paced developments during this media. Accountability: Clearance systems that distinguish between situations when a political candidate position is required, and when open conversation is acceptable. This must have at its heart a redefinition of accountability. The officials designated for engagement with citizen using the social media should be covered under a well defined immunity provision in consonance with the RTI Act and therefore the IT Act and therefore the IT Amendment Act 2008. 3.4. Content Governance: 1. Content Creation : Social media profiles overlap, therefore sharing consistent content on all social media platforms should form the bedrock of content policy. While the social media tools allow everyone to become a creator, for the official account, content will should be specified and tailored to the positioning on which it's being published. 2. Accessibility: so as to enable wider participation, content creation and availability should be in Indian languages and must not be limited to text alone. The content should follow the govt of India Guidelines for Website and adequately address challenges associated with accessibility in Indian Languages also as accessibility of content for differently abled. 3. Moderation: A moderation policy should even be published if the platform permits others to feature their own content; this informs people what they will post whilst protecting others who may visit your platform. The moderation policy should include matter associated with copyright, rights to addition and deletion etc. 4. Records Management: When any information is shared or guidance given online, it's necessary to confirm that each one relevant records are captured, trail is generated and records are managed appropriately. it's important that the foundations regarding record keeping are states upfront so those seeking historical data are attentive to statutes and limitations. 4. Communication Strategy: Some of key aspects of communication strategy include – Integration of Social Media into routine, reference to existing networks, Sharing content across sites and Publicizing use of social networking through traditional media. • Social media can only be employed by the govt. to speak existing Government information and propagate official policy to the general public. • While the social media tools allow everyone to become a creator, for the official account, content will need to be specified and tailored to the location on which it's being published. • tutelage must be taken to avoid propagation of unverified facts and frivolous misleading rumours which tend to circulate often through miscreants on social media platforms. • It must be reiterated here that social media should only be one in all the components of the citizen engagement strategy and government departments must desist from using only social media to speak with their stakeholders. • Initially, the departments may aim to post information regularly. for instance, if it's a Facebook Page, postings is also done a minimum of a pair of times per week and on Twitter slightly more frequently. • Ideally, none of the sites should be left quite per week or two without new content. 5. Institutionalize Social Media : The final step in ensuring that the pilot is scaled and integrated is to link it to existing administrative and communication structure. An indicative list includes: • rules could also be established that each one policy announcements are going to be undertaken simultaneously on traditional likewise as social media; • all important occasions as far as possible could also be broad casted using social media; • all documents seeking opinion must be posted on social media sites; • all updates from the web site would automatically be updated on social media sites and; • all traditional communications will publicize the social media presence. SOCIAL MEDIA LAWS IN INDIA

1. Section 66A has been enacted to regulate the social media law India and assumes importance as it controls and regulates all the legal issues related to social media law India. This section clearly restricts the transmission, posting of messages, mails, comments which can be offensive or unwarranted. The offending message can be in form of text, image, audio, video or any other electronic records which is capable of being transmitted. In the current scenarios such sweeping powers under the IT Act provides the tool in the hand of Govt. To curb the misuse of the social media law India in any form. 2. Section 79 requires an Intermediary to observe certain guidelines in order to avail of exemption from liability. These guidelines (issued in 2011) mandate that the Intermediary must take down any information I.e. inter-alia grossly harmful, harassing, blasphemous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic, paedophilic, libellous, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful or racially, ethnically objectionable, disparaging, relating or encouraging money, laundering or gambling, harm minors in any way or other wise unlawful in any manner whatever, acting upon private complaint or if they discover such content on their own. 3. Section 69A of IT Act authorizes the Govt. To block any content from being accessed by the public on various grounds. An intermediary who fails to comply with directions to block content is liable to be imprisoned for upto 7 years.

Conclusion The Framework and Guidelines during this document are formulated with a view to assist government ministries, departments and agencies to form use of social media platforms to have interaction more meaningfully with their various stakeholders. Social media’s characteristics of connectedness, collaboration and community have the potential of ensuring broad based consultation, and might help agencies reduce the duration of consultation process and receive immediate feedback on services delivered. In order to effectively utilize this media, the agencies must define very clearly the target of such an engagement, select platforms which will be used for engagement, rules of engagement, communication strategy for ensuring broad basing such an engagement, and eventually if found effective and efficient institutionalize such social media with mainstream engagement process.

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