Social media has changed the way people communicate. This new form of communication via social networking doesn’t get restricted to connecting with old friends. Many people use it for many purposes, social media’s impact on politics is very evident these days. Politicians have taken advantage of these new channels to do their campaigning. Social media has revolutionized the ways in which political campaigns are run. Now political campaigns can never be shut off. People now constantly look for news about elections via these channels. The effect of social media in the 2012 presidential election campaigns of President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney showed a sharp contrast in the effective usage of online media and advertising in drawing the attention of voters.
The role of Social media in Indian elections
Indian politicians also saw a similar kind of success when they turned to social media channels for their marketing campaigns. National parties like BJP, AAP, and Congress had been actively using Social Media in their election campaigns. For the first time in 2014 elections in India, social media played a vital role. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the first one to use digital media for elections in India. Social media channels allowed him to deliver his message clearly to a large audience. Through this BJP was able to sway more audience.
In sixteenth general elections, nearly 814 million of 125 crore populace were eligible to vote. In order to reach out to a huge mass of potential voters, all the channels of digital media, as well as offline medium, were used to reach out to the audience. All the information regarding the meetings and rallies of the BJP were posted on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Other social networks like YouTube and WhatsApp too were extensively used to spread the information regarding Modi’s poll promises. The party effectively employed all new technologies in the field of social media marketing to communicate with the Indian voters.
For more information on this please refer to our blog:
Social Media and Politics in Tamil Nadu
Even though there are about 11 million Facebook users and about 8.7 lakh twitter users, in Tamil Nadu no political party used social media as a channel to do their campaigning till 2016 elections. The digital scenario looked deserted. Inspired by the success of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s digital campaign, for the first time in Tamil Nadu, many parties have started to launch their campaign on social media along with conventional channels for their 2016 election campaign. From DMDK-People’s Welfare Alliance to the Dravidian majors AIADMK, DMK, and many other parties have launched aggressive social media campaigns. All parties are striving to tap the first-time voters using social media channels. Sources say that these first-time voters could be game changers.
Political campaigns on Social media
Tamil Nadu’s biggest political parties -the AIADMK and the DMK have started full-fledged campaigns on social media for 2016 elections. AIADMK has over 2 lakh likes on its Facebook page; DMK has over 1.9 lakh likes on its page. All parties have been actively posting advertisements in both English and vernacular languages. The official website of DMK is in Tamil as well as in English, which is a brilliant move. DMK’s website is responsive – this is one of their biggest competitive advantages in the digital space. AIADMK party appointed more than 720 officers to its IT wing to lead party’s campaign on social media. They have structured their IT wing such that every district will have a 14 member IT wing to do the micro level campaigning using social media. Sources say that AIADMK is campaigning through WhatsApp . The conversation is being sent through exclusive software obtained for AIADMK’s campaign and propaganda. Every day the audio clip reaches around 10 to 12 lakh people.
The PMK has close to about 6,711 followers on their official Facebook channel. They have updates mainly in Tamil. However, the party currently is running a campaign called #TheChennaiWeWant and that’s the core focus of their communication. DMDK has a website in Tamil, the bottom right corner of the page has Facebook and Twitter icons leading to their official page. Their twitter page @DMDKParty2005 has about 740 followers. Other political parties like BJP, Tamil Manila Congress have been active in social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube channels. BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit tops the Facebook following with over 4 lakh likes. Political parties are using social media to post pictures, articles, and videos about their election campaign.
The parties in Tamil Nadu have realized the necessity to adopt new channels of campaigning such as social media and are trying to be active on these channels. Political parties have started the AD wars on Social media. It is not just political parties in Tamil Nadu who have taken to the Social media to try and swing elections their way. The Election Commission too has become active and is trying to engage youngsters in this space. The commission has taken a break from the official-sounding language and has tried to speak the language of the youth by involving celebrities such as Actor Surya. A peppy hip-hop song was composed by Paul Jacob, rendered by Blaaze, a popular hip hop artist, for the Election Commission called ‘Vote Podu’. It aims at encouraging voters to claim their rights as citizens of this country by exercising their votes.