Every Sunday at 11 am there is a (scheduled) power outage in my neighborhood. There is also another prior to that at 6 am everyday. I choose to speak selectively about the Sunday hour because that's when Aamir Khan's show Satyamev Jayate (the show name means - "truth alone prevails") is aired on about 6 TV channels simultaneously.
Sure, a genius move you say. Airing it on atleast 6 channels (both local and ones on cable payed channels). That too Sunday at an hour when you are hopefully not outdoors or working. What are the chances, huh? So you bound to sit and watch and mull and brood and (even cry with Aamir) about the social issues in India.
Only, you didn't anticipate the following:
- There could be a power outage at the time (sad but true. It is easy for me to stream it over Internet later in the day, but I doubt anyone else has the resources or inclination to do that)
- You could be still sleeping. Ask my techie friends. No one gets up from bed on a Sunday until noon.
- You simply don't care. Sure, the first episode or two moved you, you were angered, you teared up and then that's that. You went about your business after the show ended. "Meet you for coffee or movie late evening? Sure", you tell to your friend over the phone. That's how quickly the pace changes in India. Where everything from getting your home plumbing repaired to servicing your bike is unpredictable (your handyman might not show up, or your bike servicing guy doesn't do his job right). You fight your way through stuff. So why would you waste your time and mind over a damn show? You have your own problems to deal with at every passing second of your life here.
- Someone in your home wants to switch to a different TV channel while the ads are running and then you find another channel that is "interesting". Oh they are playing Salman Khan's "Dabbang" on Sony MAX. Let me see that for a few minutes. That turns into an hour. No more Satyamev Jayate.
- And many more such reasons..too many to list here.
It makes you wonder, what has gone wrong with Indians? Why don't they care anymore? They are busy building farms (FarmVille) or checking-in to joints virtually (Foursquare, Zomato..) but have no time in their lives to spend an hour on a show that discusses social causes?
Lets take a deep breath here and think for a moment.
What drives people? Emotions, shocking truths? Perhaps. That's why the show became a desi version of Oprah Winfrey. The problem is that probably worked for the first two episodes. And strangely we got "accustomed" to that too. Shock value has a short term effect. And then it meets its death.
So why is Farmville more attractive than an emotional, teary-eyed show?
Perhaps the producers at Satyamev may consider Gamification. No kidding.
And that my friends, is the essence that drives gamification.
Half of the country probably spends half of their time on phones (my ballpark average). Your traditional SMS's might reach out to the masses but there's no hook and bait in that. You need people with resources and bandwidth to first get involved and give their full attention when you speak about social issues.
- Make a mobile app that showcases the issues. Something that people can tap into and listen to instantly.
- Show what is happening in their local neighborhood on the app. People (still) deeply care about what is going on in their neighborhood because it directly affects them and their family. They don't have the downtime to think about the nation's problems.
- Show a way they can contribute to "fix" these issues without getting too much in the way of their work or daily chores. Make that actionable through the app.
- Anyone who does one of the above three should get some kind of "loyalty" or "contribution" points. Yeah, it is sad how THAT works. But the important thing is THAT works. People get motivated with virtual "incentives" like that. They go bonkers sharing, tweeting, messaging their newly owned popularity on the Web. So go ahead, feed their egos. Nothing wrong with that.
So to the producers and crew at Satyamev Jayate - Make it count. Don't let your hard work go wasted. Because, unfortunately, truth alone doesn't prevail in India.