Social Media and World of Politics
The Indian general elections are almost upon the country and for the first time ever, the political parties are tackling social media to try to win over voters. Politicians are taking part in Google+ Hangouts, interviews organised by Facebook, and also using the Facebook owned messaging service WhatsApp as a way to connect with the masses.
The 16th general election in India will be held in nine phases over April and May, and the main parties believe that social media is bound to play a crucial role when it comes to who is elected into power. Facebook has an incredible influence in India and the Mumbai-based Iris Knowledge Foundation
say that Facebook users will “wield a tremendous influence” over the final results of the election.
India has been one of the most forward-thinking states in relation to its resources in the past 10 years, and this shows, as in the last election social media was not really prominent in the country at all. Today, Facebook has 93 million users and Twitter has 33 million accounts set up in the country, which suggests that the Indian people regard social media as vitally important in the way they move forward as a wider community.
This rise in online communication in India has led to the main political parties to flex their muscles online, and an example of this is BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, who was among the first Indian politicians to set up a website, and now has Twitter, Facebook and Google+ accounts.
Social media’s impact in the political world will have a huge impact in the way future elections are won and lost in any country. It is a clever strategy by the Indian political parties as it is a way of proposing their manifestos on the go. In an ever-increasing western culture as India is in some ways, the switch into high modernity has obviously had a massive say on how people live their lives. The general public are busier now and have less time to look at the elections in depth, and this is where the politicians had to re-work their strategy.
On the other side of things it feels slightly overwhelming, as most people tend to connect with their friends only online, and with increasing institutional presence on the Internet it could just be a digital version of the real world we see around us, which is one of surveillance and government pressure.
The tactics behind strategies such as this cannot be criticised though, and just as Obama did in the last American elections, there is a feeling that this is the way the world is changing. Most politicians have a huge online presence now, and some are even willing to jump on the bandwagon with some of the current trends (David Cameron’s selfie
comes to mind).
With the Indian elections just around the corner, the world will await with a little more interest than usual because of the revolutionary way in which the two parties are fighting for power. If social media has a say in who takes control of India then surely it will engrave its presence in our everyday lives forever.