Social media moulding Elections 2014


If you thought that social networking websites were meant for sharing status and pictures, think again! In an anticipation to get the votes of Young India, the parties are getting into digital canvassing for the 2014 general elections.

Social media as a tool for political parties


We all know that social media has become an integral channel of communication, and this fact is also accepted by the politicians, which is why they are now using the social media as their political tool. Bygone are the days of face to face competition, it seems the political parties are now into virtual wars, or digital wars!
Be it Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ Hangouts, the politics is gearing up digitally via social networking websites. There is an evident digital social presence of BJP, Congress and even the newly launched Aam Aadmi Party. Social media activists are being hired as a part of the digital campaign tactic.

The presence of Narendra Modi on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter is already remarkable.He is even eyeing US President Barack Obama for cyber popularity. With the increasing cyber fame of Narendra Modi, other parties are busy adorning their web pages to attract voters. There is already a competitive fan following on the Facebook pages of presumable contenders for Prime Minister, BJP's Narendra Modi and Congress' candidate Rahul Gandhi. The political parties are becoming cognisant of their social presence.

A study that was carried out, suggests that the votes of around 30% of the constituencies can be influenced resolutely, all thanks to the social media.
Software Engineer Manuj Bhatnagar, 28, says, "The impact of using social media is much higher than any rally as by reaching youth, who are well connected to these sites, will discuss them in their circles, thus indirectly reaching numerous groups."

The Brighter Side:


  1. Reaching masses at a very low cost. The cost of using social media is minimal and the political parties may use their funds somewhere else.

  2. Fewer disturbances. The traditional ways of canvassing like rallies and processions cause chaos, noise pollution and traffic jams.

  3. More visibility. Voters can easily see who all are following a particular leader or party.

  4. Voters' ideas are welcomed. In case of social media, there is a provision where the voters can write down their views or ideas, which is difficult in the traditional style of canvassing.

  5. No place and time boundation. Social media can be accessed anywhere and at any point of time.

The Darker Side:


  1. Unfavourable for non-computer savvy people. Social media is still an alien thing for many rural people and several elderly folk. Here, only rallies are favourable.

  2. Biased e-votes.The followers on the social networking sites may include some or many fake profiles, leading to bogus fan following and unfair votes.

Conclusion:


Social media has surely become a part and parcel of everyone these days and with political parties getting into the e-canvassing, the 2014 elections are indisputably going to be affected. After all, this is the modern hi-tech era.
As a BDS student, Aakriti, 23, puts in," Who has the time to attend noisy rallies and listen to the parties' agenda today? I definitely prefer this e-canvassing."

The conventional style of campaigning is definitely going to be a thing of the past. The social media strategy is already a big hit and is conclusively going to revolutionise the upcoming 16th Lok Sabha Elections. And to see the results, we have to wait until the voting day comes in. Till then we can Like, Tweet, Share or just Hangout!


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