Friday, 3 January 2014

Inspiring & Mobilizing India's Youth to Vote in the Indian General Elections 2014 using Social Mobile Apps

Being born in a Democracy is a boon and a privilege.

As Spiderman says, "With great power comes great responsibility".  

As much as the Spiderman saga demonstrates, when we don't use that great power bestowed upon us with great responsibility, the results engulf us - sooner than we think and in far greater ways than we can ever imagine.

With this, I begin my post on 'How to inspire and mobilize India's youth to vote in the Indian General Elections 2014 using social mobile apps?'

The Medium:

Well, social mobile apps, sure are the most apt way to inspire and mobilize India's youth.  In a Nation that progressed from 'Roti, Kapda, Makaan' (Food, Clothing, Shelter) to 'Mobile Phone, Broadband, Cable TV' in the span of a decade, social mobile apps is as social we get :) 

So, any socially relevant pursuit ought to tap the medium to get through to the target audience: India's youth. 

Now that we agree the medium - social mobile apps - is apt, inspiring and mobilizing India's youth is going to rest on the message and the method.

The Message and The Method:

India's youth today is energetic, well aware, eager for a future and quite discerning, if you will.

Therefore, here are my suggestions to actively inspire and mobilize India's youth to vote in the Indian General Elections 2014; these suggestions are in random order and the order in which they are keyed in is not any particular indicator of their importance :)

1. Referendum through Social Mobile Apps before Manifesto is set:

Inspiring India's youth ideally begins with involving them - right at the grassroots level. So my suggestion is to conduct referendum on social mobile chat apps on what issues concern them and channelize the deliberations and findings onto the manifesto released by political parties. 

Considering India's youth is most resident in chat rooms, what better medium than mobile chat apps to engage and start the dialogue!

2.  Map / find your polling booth App / Widget:

Well, weather widgets don't have to be the only ones occupying our gadget home screens. How do you like my suggestion of a cool find your polling booth App or Widget? It can be powered by popular social mobile map apps. 

3.  Know your constituency app:

India's youth would love to defragment their electoral constituency as much as their personal computer hard disks :)

A comprehensive know your constituency App will serve as an electoral encyclopedia both fuelling enthusiasm as well as triggering participation.

4.  Live statistics app (polling percentage etc.) throw in chat with polling authorities or representatives:

For youth raised on live sports scores, imagine the impact it will have if we built live polling percentage statistics and updates and pushed it through to gadgets!

As an added bonus, chat apps can engage polling and electoral officers in their hangout zones to educate and engage with the youth sharing their experience, taking questions, germinating electoral best practices.

5.  Election symbols app:

For youth fed on emoticons it should be fun understanding the wide gamut of the electoral symbols allotted to political parties in India and gaining an understanding of which symbol stands for which party.  Popular knowledge could be limited to top 2 or 3 parties hence this can be refreshing and informative at once.  Even contests, games and quiz can be woven around this through social mobile apps.

6.  Mock parliament group chat:

The Parliament & the legislature form a democracy's foundation.  Remember the time we were in school and actively participated in mock parliament sessions - asking questions, answering, debating issues? That is a hallmark of a democracy vibrant and kicking.

What if we brought it online and to social mobile chat apps?  Imagine the engagement and ownership it will foster among our youth! I vote for this :)

7.  Know your candidate app:

A detailed database of candidates as released by tje Election Commission can be at the youth's finger tips if we build an app for this.

Not only will this tackle indifference and apathy but will slowly lead to youth demanding candidate credentials that get better and better ..

8.  Selfie contest for voting mark photos:

As soon as one has voted, imagine posting a selfie showing our voting marked finger proudly?

Announce a contest for the coolest voting mark selfies :)

9.  I voted or Democracy at work badges:

Those of us who belong to IndiBlogger cherish the winner and runner-up badges. Don't we?

What if we gave our youth nice virtual online badges that say "I voted" or "Democracy at work here" that they can display on their profiles? It would get viral, trust me!

10.  Influence and refer friends to vote and be an online hero / heroine and get online goodies as rewards:

We truly are the social generation and influence each other most heavily through social mobile apps. So why not channelize that to mobilize ourselves to vote? And get rewarded through the same social mobile app we use to influence friends to go vote! 

Hope you like my suggestions .. let's countdown to voting..

This post is written as part of the IndiBlogger WeChat contest on how to inspire and mobilize India's youth to vote in the Indian General Elections 2014.

To Know more about WeChat go here ..

Cheers :)