I received a call from a friend who works at a prominent TV news channel last evening. They were looking for some ‘Internet Hindus’ for their panel discussion on whether Twitter will decide the fate of the coming general election.
Twitter is a medium, a way of communicating. Asking if it will affect the course of an election is like asking if telephones will affect the course of an election, or if envelopes will. I am sure Marshall McLuhan meant well when he said the medium is the message, but this is ridiculous.
There seems to be a tendency among those in our ‘national’ TV studios to mistake media like Twitter and Facebook for the message. It is what is being said on Twitter that matters, not Twitter itself.
And it is not as if we are short of issues in the run-up to the general election. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi raised the extremely relevant matter of decentralisation and federalism. But even he can only do so much.
As the saying goes, one can take the horse to the water, but one can’t make it drink.