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Social Media, Culture and Politics in Asia

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Edited By Lars Willnat and Annette Aw

The Internet’s explosive growth over the past decade is nowhere more visible than in Asia. Fueled by an expanding middle class, thousands of people connect to the Internet for the first time each day to explore and discuss issues that are relevant to them and their lives.
This book provides an in-depth look at the impact of social media on political engagement among young citizens in this rapidly changing region of the world. Leading media scholars from nine Asian nations focus on three main questions:
How frequently do Asians use social media to access and discuss political information?
Does the use of social media increase political participation?
What political, social and cultural factors influence the impact of social media on political engagement in each nation?
To answer these questions, contributors first analyze the current state of social media in their nations and then present the findings of a cross-national survey on social media use that was conducted with over 3,500 Asian respondents. By employing a comparative approach, they analyze how social media function and interact with the cultural and political systems in each country – and how they might affect political engagement among individual citizens.
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11. India Youth and Social Media: Modes of Engagement?

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CHAPTER ELEVEN

India Youth and Social Media

Modes of Engagement?

Usha Raman & Roshni Verghese



India, the world’s largest democratic country, always has been seen as a land of contradictions. It is a place where extreme poverty and wealth coexist, where ancient wisdom competes with modern consumption, and where rapidly growing modern cities stand in contrast to villages steeped in traditional practices. In March 2012, a headline in The Times of India starkly proclaimed there were more telephones in Mumbai than toilets (Rajadhyaksha, 2012). Despite these contrasts, even a casual visitor to an Indian city or large village would not fail to notice the move toward Internet-based technology, as evidenced by a proliferation of smartphones, Internet cafes, and computer training centers. More Indians are beginning to use the Internet in various ways, for a variety of purposes such as reading news, receiving commodity price updates, keeping in touch with distant loved ones, communicating with colleagues, or participating in community activities.

Indeed, the Internet is increasingly a necessary part of social engagement in India today, particularly in the cities. Beyond its use to fulfill routine personal and professional needs, some form of Internet-based communication is also employed by nongovernmental organizations, informal resistance, activist networks, and petitioners against government action or inaction. This is particularly the case when their target audience is young, urban, and educated. The Internet’s appeal to younger audiences also has spurred enormous social...

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