I can’t find any pictures of me and my dad. Here is one where I’m in the room. By Beyond Borders
Sanjana Hattotuwa seems to think that is a big conspiracy. It’s not. Literally the first thing I wrote on my blog was “My dad is working with him on policy and I’m working with him on social media.” Sanjana wants to make this personal and it’s really not.
Sanjana at least pays his respects to the point before he buries it. He says “the web platform is, by far, the most innovative I’ve seen for a candidate and the policy document, as a foundation for something that can be built on, is hard to fault.”
He just doesn’t seem to like my family personally. Rather than discussing why the policy or candidate is bad, he’s simply alleging that my family is bad for even participating at all. And his allegations are demonstrably false, he just doesn’t seem to have checked Facebook, read the papers or checked out the blogs at all this week.
This is what he sent to the Center For Policy Alternatives newsletter. I tried to join and he denied my request to respond, so I’ve written it here. I hope you can judge for yourselves.
Here’s the original mail,
The Samarajiva’s [sic] And Moragoda
Was going through Moragoda’s website today and interestingly, he follows only two SL individual Twitter accounts – those of Rohan Samarajiva and Indi Samarajiva. Rohan it turns out is Milinda’s chief policy advisor (responsible for 12 point manifesto). His son, as I’ve long suspected but has not yet been publicly acknowledged, does Milinda’s web media campaign (Twitter, website, Facebook). Both actually do a good job – the web platform is, by far, the most innovative I’ve seen for a candidate and the policy document, as a foundation for something that can be built on, is hard to fault. Of course, there’s a huge gap between the idea and execution – clearly, Moragoda will only listen to and accept input that’s politically expedient.
groundviews – Rohan Samarajiva does @MilindaMoragoda’s policy draft. Son Indi Samarajiva does propaganda. Revealing, prescient nexus. #lka #srilanka
Revealingly, both son and father wrote vehemently against the Rajapaksa’s last year.
groundviews: @ThilinaRa Interestingly, @samarajiva in ’10 wrote against Rajapaksa’s feudalism http://t.co/FJaZS0A backed by @indica http://t.co/7fem7sy
Their new found love for and support of Moragoda, a proxy of Gota, strongly hints at the outcome of the elections on Oct 8th. As the Gallup poll and CPA Social Indicators’ own poll suggests, aren’t we all Samarajiva’s today?
and here is my response:
I think it would be “Samarajivas” and not “Samarajiva’s”. Unless you’re implying that we own a vassal named ‘And Moragoda’. Or that polls suggest that everyone in Sri Lanka belongs to a Samarajiva. For the record, we are not a slave or vassal holding family.
Why Does Milinda Follow Two Twitter Accounts?
This is the crux of Sanjana’s argument. That Milinda Moragoda is dodgy because he only follows four accounts on Twitter, two of them human. For the record, Groundviews follows zero. In this case Sanjana has missed the social media forest for the Twitter trees. Milinda rarely updates Twitter because he prefers interacting with his 5,000+ fans on Facebook.
I’ve tried to get Milinda to use Twitter more but the Facebook page has grown exponentially faster and he’s been writing there. I’m happy because he’s updating it himself, reading what people write and responding to comments personally. You can follow just his updates here. Anything not by him is marked (staff). Most of the content on the wall itself is user generated, people expressing support, dissent and offering their ideas.
This to me is the essence of social media and whether he interacts via Twitter, Facebook or FarmVille, fine. He’s reaching people and he’s listening. I’ve connected FB to Twitter so the updates flow both ways.
Are These Twitter Accounts A Conspiracy?
The two (human) Twitter accounts Milinda follows are me and my father. Sanjana takes this as a sign of conspiracy. It’s not. We are both ‘out’ in our roles online and in the newspapers. My dad is out in public as a head of policy planning. He was at the policy launch and is widely identified as such. I’m out online as running his social media.
Sanjana, however, frames this latter item as a scoop. “His son, as I’ve long suspected but has not yet been publicly acknowledged, does Milinda’s web media campaign.”
In this he is demonstrably false. My role has been public on Facebook and on this blog from the start. When the Sunday papers came out, it was in the Sunday Leader. It has been publicly acknowledged and, I think, amply so. The first comment Milinda made on FB (September 4th) said “I have to thank Indi for helping me set up my page”. I wrote a blog post the next morning saying “My dad is working with him on policy and I’m working with him on social media and stuff.”
Everything has been publicly acknowledged. The dagger that Sanjana alleges is entirely within his own cloak of ignorance.
Is Milinda Social?
Based on Twitter, Sanjana is concluding that Milinda’s presence on social media is a farce or a trick, backed by some vile cabal of Samarajivas. He said “clearly, Moragoda will only listen to and accept input that’s politically expedient.”
Social media, however, is more than Twitter, and I think Milinda is actually using it quite well. He updates his own Facebook and he reads and responds to people’s comments. There is a lot of dissent on the page and he both encourages and responds to it. The man only has so much time and I think his interactions have been great.
His policy document is posted at www.ourcmb.com, which accepts comments on a per paragraph level. We run daily polls on Facebook. This feedback is all read and is all being incorporated into the final document. Even in his meatspace campaign, Milinda is going around and meeting people in small groups and not postering or using polythene color/number tactics at all.
I hope you can judge myself, my father and Milinda Moragoda based on the quality of our work and on our ideas. I hope you can participate in a local election based on the issues and not based on party or personality. I hope you’ll comment on the document, check out the Facebook page and, if we are lacking, contribute constructive ideas of your own.
As a note, I tried to join the CPA newsgroup to post this response. I said “I’m interested in the surveys, and would also appreciate a chance to respond to allegations about my family.” Sanjana, listed as admin, denied that request. If you’re on that list, perhaps you could post this there, because I have been banned.