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Alteranation tries to connect the country in 2013.
By Sidhant Vats|

Gurgaon, Haryana- Start-up social networking website Alteranation.com plans to connect politicians and social workers to citizens in an attempt to increase their understanding of policy and decision-making in the country. The initiative will allow Government officials to interact and maintain discussions with the public majority, in order to spread greater awareness of public issues and governance processes. Acquainted

Alteranation, established in August 2012, has been working on building a web portal that will bring greater transparency into matters of public concern. Alteranation is based on user-generated content, which allows users to share opinions, voice concerns, suggestions, criticisms and ask questions directly to public authorities in an interactive live discussion. “Looking towards the General Elections in 2014, Alteranation will offer a platform for users to discuss economic as well as party policies. Members not only gain further insight into political decisions but also uncover the grounds on which such decisions have been taken”, says, founder, Sidhant Vats.

Through Alteranation, elected representatives, as well as eminent members of civil society can respond to our users queries with the relevant data, information and resources, in order to engage the citizenry in wider debates about policy and governance issues. Such communication is key to keeping the public better informed, which can play a vital role in a robust democracy. Forums are being recognized as outdated models of online communication as they suffer from a lack of identity of members, which generally results in unnecessary trolling and noise. To the discomfort of users, navigation and discoverability of the right answer becomes even tougher. Therefore, by concentrating on a niche user segment, the website will allow information to be less diluted and more attainable.

In addition to responding to concerns and questions from the public, politicians will be able to start their own social media campaigns for the upcoming general elections. A concept, recently initiated by some of the most renowned named in Indian politics including, Mr. Narendra Modi. The Chief Minister of Gujarat, was watched live by 82,000 people from 116 countries in September 2012, for his 2-hour long hangout on Google+ after receiving more than 20,000 questions over 3 weeks.

Social media has emerged as a powerful tool in electoral campaigns, as witnessed in the 2012 U.S. General Elections. It is also becoming increasingly popular with various leaders, public authorities, and governmental departments in our own country, giving a sense of reassurance among citizens that the responsibilities and beliefs of elected leaders are in unison with that of theirs. Indian Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Mr. Shashi Tharoor, an avid user of social media explains that the future of online politics lies in utilizing social media to connect with the masses . "I hope more and more governments use the social media to have sense of accountability in democracy," said Mr. Tharoor.

In a society like ours that is build on the ideals of democracy, where we have a space to dissent and debate, it is important for us to acknowledge the role that we play as individuals and collectively as civil society. Alteranation hopes to provide the platform that can facilitate this discussion, and bring about greater transparency in decision making, holding our leaders and representatives more accountable, and keeping the general public more aware.
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Last updated 20 Aug 2013