Social media is acting as a tool in the hands of student leaders and their supporters in JNU to communicate ideas, ideology, messages and information among students and teachers,in particular,and society at large.
The flip side of the rampant use of Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp,etc. to spread information is that it also helps in rapid spread of baseless rumours or false information. Social media has become the first choice of student wings and their leaders to share press releases, press notes, press invites or to disseminate any other relevant information.
The popularity of one’s message is judged by the number of times it is shared or the likes it gets. "Leave apart the student leaders, even common students get entangled in the fights of the virtual world. Most of us like, comment and share posts which we like and it has played a crucial role in the JNU row with faculty and employees also expressing their opinions," said Renu Singh,a research scholar at JNU.
Students said social media has acted as a great unifier among persons supporting similar political ideology."It’s not surprising that people don’t know each other by face but are good friends, followers and supporters over social media sites. It is successfully being used by student wings to mobilise supporters for a rally, protest or march," said Jyoti Murmu,also a research scholar at JNU.
However, social media can also create further disharmony in an already polarised scenario at JNU like the latest facebook post by JNUSU vice-president,Shehla Rashid Shora,accusing the right wing of pasting an abusive and derogatory letter targeting her at the JNUSU office.The snap-shot of the hate letter addressed to her and which mentioned no return address was uploaded by her in her facebook account.Shehla did not respond to calls,but many Left supporters said it was done to expose the misdeeds and mischievous activities of her political opponents.
The right-wing,however, denied the allegation and termed it a cleverly designed plot by vice-president JNUSU herself."Who else can do such thing except her.Moreover it’s not new for her to accuse ABVP for such things.She unnecessarily blames us without any proof only in order to be in the news," said Saurabh Kumar Sharma, joint secretary JNUSU from ABVP.
Analysts said social media plays a significant and prominent role in organising mass movements but its misuse is also very common."Sedition and insurgency are being rapidly propagated by radical elements under patronage of anti-national powers by the rampant use of social media platform," said Prof VP Singh of the department of social work at Delhi University.