SNS in India: Gossip as a Vehicle of Activism
Statistics indicate that Facebook has more women users than men. A Mashable report released in 2010 claims that women in the age-group of 18-34 check their Facebook first thing in the morning, even before going to the bathroom. This can be linked to the chatty nature of interaction within social networking sites (SNS). Gossip need not be flippant, but can gratify the actor, as evident from the women’s communities actively promoting causes online and garnering public support for social, economic and political issues. SNS is quickly becoming a means of facilitating gender-based activism. What makes it more interesting, these women do not have to shun their domestic duties to become an actor in these global networks; they can very well partake in it from the confines of their kitchen. It can be argued that SNS has overcome the limitation of the ‘gendered media’ and has provided activists with the vehicle to organize their cause and promote participation for cross-border movements – traditional means of activism were perhaps never as swift. But how do they draw on SNS, particularly Facebook, to further their causes and what is the nature of the issues they engage in? To explore these questions, I take up India as a case study. Initial research indicates that digital activists are raising concerns about the way this communication tool is being used and the kind of the issues being raised.