Remember the happy days of approaching elections? The holes filled up, the trails were paved and hot snacks served in promotional events where party representatives mounted tall vehicles and shouted their promises into a microphone. Well, it was those days.
Making promises to vote for banking strategies – everything is at the mercy of a few clicks and a click has gone wrong and you can be sure that your entire campaign is already dead.
According to statistics, currently between the BJP, Congress and the AAP, microblogging has been the largest method used to communicate over the Internet, comprising 74% of digital communications in these political parities. Social networks that comprise 25% of digital communications follow closely, and thirdly, Picasa and Google Plus, which represent 1% of the total digital mix.
In place of such active use of the internet, the technician decides to take a look at the virtual election promotions of the country’s main political figures.
The virtual politics game!
Somewhere between the dismantling of your friends on Orkut and Instagram in your Starbucks coffee cups – social media has become a way of life in India.
One of the first political leaders to use social media to express their views was Shashi Tharoor. The man’s senseless tweets made him a huge social media fan. In 2012, Shashi Tharoor was the only non-Bollywood born tweeter, along with Rajdeep Sardesai, who reached the top 10 of Indian tweeters.
While Shashi Tharoor’s social media approach was pure magic, Narendra Modi came up with a social media strategy that was nothing short of an art form in itself.
#NaMo was one of the first passengers on the social media bus. He joined Twitter in 2009 and now has almost 3, 54 million followers. Narendra Modi, the official Facebook page, has more than 11 million fans. He was also the first Indian politician to interact with his fans via a Google Hangout.
In 2013, Modi named Rajesh Jain who revolutionized the internet in India with his IndiaWorld Web Portal and BG Mahesh project from Greynium Information Technologies to create the face of BJP in the virtual world.
According to a report by Blogworks, in August 2014, Modi was the most mentioned political leader on social media. Kiran Bedi praising Modi’s ability in good governance and development generated the most positive mentions for him in January 2014.
According to reports, Congressional Vice President Rahul Gandhi took on the task of tracking the party’s social media image.
The official Facebook page of the Indian National Congress has more than two million fans and its official Twitter page has almost 13 million followers. Congress also launched a website www.fekuexpress.com that features cartoons by Narendra Modi and allows users to predict which of his lies (Narendra Modi) he will repeat earlier.
In January 2014, Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in terms of mentions on social media, the Blogworks report said. In addition, there was a 102% increase in the volume of conversations by Rahul Gandhi in January 2014 compared to December 2013.
Rahul Gandhi received the most positive mentions as a secular leader in ‘Caste and Religion’.
#AAP and #ArvindKejriwal
If you get up in the morning and you don’t see Arvind Kejriwal or AAP on the news, get out and shout for help – because my friend didn’t wake up on Earth!
If it is true that there is no negative publicity, Kejriwal and AAP are definitely the winners of the social media game. From their participation in the Anna Hazare movement to their discovery against NaMo, Arvind Kejriwal and AAP managed to reach status and tweets most of the time without any effort of their own.
Currently, the official AAP Facebook page has more than 1.7 million fans and its official Twitter account has almost 565 thousand followers. Arvind Kejriwal’s official Twitter account has 1.5 million followers.
The Blogworks report also states that in January 2014, Arvind Kejriwal ranked second in terms of mentions on social media. Corruption was the buzzword for almost every conversation around Mr. Kejriwal.
Decoding the movements
According to Sabyasachi Mitter, MD, Rahul Gandhi’s social media strategy does not seem consistent. “Your social media strategy looks very sporadic and reactive. It is not clear that a well-defined strategy is in place and a think tank is working to implement it. «
However, NaMo’s strategy is to use social media to broaden the development message, the “Gujarat Model” online. NaMo supporters act in an organized manner on Twitter and Facebook to increase conversations around favorable stories. The use of hashtags and synchronized trends carried out is quite remarkable. In the face, you can almost discover Narendra Modi’s electoral speech schedule by checking #NaMoinCityName in the day’s trending topics.
“In contrast, I think the AAP strategy is more reactive, articulating itself to“ exposing ”the Narendra Modi model,” added Mitter.
They also have a large organized community that uses every opportunity to garner support for Arvind Kejriwal. The use of comparative representations and infographics to show your point is very interesting.
The double-edged sword!
While social media has the power to bring political leaders closer to their subjects, it is also a time bomb that can explode with the smallest possible error.
Indian political fraternity has managed to bridge the gaps with the country’s citizens through social media. However, it was more than once when the tongue slip sent their strategies to the ground.
The recent example of a social media disaster was the frenzy created after the interview with Rahul Gandhi and Arnab Goswamy. #RahulSpeaksToArnab was one of the longest hashtag trends on Twitter. Social media residents criticized Rahul Gandhi for being vocal on corruption-related issues after almost two terms of office at the UPA government and also for taking credit for the Lokpal Act.
National Congress of India, the Yuva Congress campaign also backfired on social media. A few days after the first launch of the ad, where Youth Congress official Hasiba Amin appeared, a parody of the ad began to circulate on social media. Hashtags, like #YoHasibaSoDumb, also used to appear on Twitter for some time.
Although Narendra Modi’s social media strategy was successful, #NaMo managed to create negative waves on social media with Prashant Bhushan’s comment on Modi coming out of a television interview in 2007 when asked about Godhra’s disorders.
Kejriwal and his unique style of dress has been the source of the number of jokes on social media. The leading creator of digital content, AIB, created a parody about politician Nayak 2: The Common Man Rises, which went viral. The politician attracted negative attention on social media for his statements about corruption and his decision to join hands with Congress to form the government.
Mitter expressed that political leaders need to go beyond transmitting communications and moving to personalized communication. NaMo managed to create some kind of personal relationship with his Holi greetings, but a lot can still be done.
«More social programs need to be orchestrated to manage the voter’s life cycle until polling day and after that,» shared Mitter. «This should facilitate the registration of support for the party, provide social tools to get support from friends and family for the party that leads to the social recognition of the candidates themselves.»
National leaders now also need to design local candidates who will actually be running for election through social media.
With elections just around the corner, social media is one of the most obvious and important ways to connect with Indian citizens and especially young people. However, with politicians doing this in virtual combat, there can be some very serious repercussions of the double-edged sword they are playing.
SEE TOO : If Indian politicians were Game of Thrones characters
Image Courtesy: Facebook, Gursharan