Standing by Jim Morrison’s words, “Whoever controls the media controls the mind,”
We have been witnessing a drastic evolution in the way political campaigns have changed rapidly in the digital world.
India accounts for one of the largest social media markets in the world. A handful of tech-savvy politicians are adeptly taking social media by the storm to have the edge over others as technology, social media, and big data are playing a pivotal role in connecting with the voters.
Gone are the days, when a politician could live from one election to the next without bothering to engage the citizenry of his constituency. An increasingly demanding citizen population seeks a more responsive and transparent representation from the elected representatives. This necessitates constant participation of the electorate, being sensitive to their sentiments and acting accordingly in parliament – to deliver their expectations.
Today, you can not expect your fan base to follow you blindly. Citizens prefer social media over traditional media as the latter lacks active engagement.
When the whole world is moving towards digitalization for creating a better brand for themselves can any political party, however famous or powerful it may be, afford to harm its image? No, not even unintentionally!
The situation is such that any political party, irrespective of its size could be shown the door if there is no accountability and transparency in their work.
World over, the ‘political power’ of the digital media was first realized and harnessed almost a decade ago by politicians like Barack Obama, Narendra Modi and David Cameron (through their official accounts).
Closer home, Shashi Tharoor was one of the first politicians of India who started tweeting and got his share of ridicule for being active on a public forum despite holding an office.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has taken over Twitter by addressing grievances, rescuing Indians in distress abroad, impressing her foreign counterparts with prompt replies and luring Twitter fans with her witty, humorous and personalized tweets.
Trump’s victory in American elections is a reminder of how things can be turned around through digital messaging, data mining and public perception. It is the inherent desire of every single candidate to repeat this mysterious win of Donald Trump and his election campaigning.
Technology has reshaped the way the world communicates. So, while the use of digital communication channels or social media to reach the electorate is now commonplace – citizens are now turning back and using the same technology to demand accountability & drive transparency in governance.
From crises management to figuring reactions of the public, the new-age digital tools are fast replacing age-old door-to-door campaigns, questionnaires, and tele-surveys. Social media has created an ecosystem where voters, candidates, communities and party workers are all inter-connected. Serious debates or political disputes, reactions and opinions expressed online can help to build a digital footprint successfully indicating public perception. Additionally, politicians in India have also come a long way to create personal brands through personalized public communication.
Now a new era in “electioneering” is here that promises to change the way elections are fought from here on which uses scientific data analytics to real-time monitor people’s reactions in policy, politics, and crises to turn the wind around before it’s too late. Barack Obama was among the first to adopt big data as a differentiator in the elections during his campaign in 2012.
Data is exploding rapidly all around you. The trick lies in converting it from scattered formats to refined goals. Political pundits being well aware of the immense potentialities of this media in shaping public perception are making maximum use of the platform to give wings to their dreams. With the humungous growth in internet penetration and the growing evidence of recent electoral victories being shaped by effective social media campaigns, it will not be wrong to say that the digital footprint and social media conversations would potentially play a significant role in driving the shape of our politics and predict the future of our country.