Mumbai: Social media a big connecting force in polls

April 10, 2019

 

https://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/social-media-a-big-connecting-force-in-polls/1500841

Mumbai: Recently, Google India released its advertising transparency report, which highlights the importance of online platforms during the elections. It is a known fact, political parties are spending crores of rupees on the online advertisements.

According to the Google report, 11 advertisers in India have spent Rs 3.76 crore for advertising, which consists of texts, photographs, graphics and videos. These advertisements have been personalised and targeted to a specific crowd. Between February 20 and April 6, these advertisers have published as many as 831 advertisements on Google.

According to the Facebook Ad Library report, they received Rs 10.32 crore through election advertisements, between February 19 and March 30. A total number of 4910 Facebook pages have spent money on the sites. “People in Mumbai, no matter what they do or where they live, own a smartphone. Hence it is easier for any political party to target the social media account, as it’s more personalised and effective,” said Atul Gade, an architect based in Mumbai.

“During 2012-2014, it was only the BJP who gave importance to the digital and social media campaigns because we knew that in the days to come, people will become more proficient with technology,” said Vineet Goenka, one of the founder members of the BJP IT-cell and former national co-convener of the party. And he refused to speak of the current elections.
Along with the social networking sites, parties also have come up with their own personalised mobile applications.

The “NaMo App” is a major campaign tool of BJP for the Loksabha polls. The party claims it has increased the cadre base with Prime Minister Narendra Modi directly communicating with the people and even accepting donations, as little as Rs 5 and selling “Modi Branded” me

Congress has followed suit and bettered itself in these elections. In 2014, Congress lagged behind on the social media. Through its “Ghar Ghar Congress” mobile app, Congress is looking to reach out to each and every voter personally through the digital mediums.

“We have more than 55,000 WhatsApp groups where around 7,00,000 volunteers are working day and night by spreading messages and videos amongst the targeted people. Also, we have a special team to counter fake news as well,” said Abhijit Sapkal, General Secretary, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee.

The social media campaigns seemed to have appealed to the youth who are first time voters, said a senior officer of Maharashtra Director General of Information and Public Relations. “Through our official handles, we are able to to connect with new voter registrations. We are easily able to appeal the youth and make aware them about their electoral rights.

Their constructive feedback helps us to rectify our services,” said a senior officer of the DGIPR, Maharashtra. Keeping up with the trend, parties like, YSR Congress (YSRCP), Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Nationalist Congress Party are also spontaneously carrying on their campaigns and daily updates through all social networks.

The former president of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union, Kanhaiya Kumar, who is now the candidate of Communist Party of India (CPI), stated, will be contesting elections with “People’s support and contribution,” as he launched an online crowd funding initiative to raise funds for his upcoming electoral campaigns.

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