This is a guest post by Prakash K.R
Elections by far is a process through which an elected government gets into the business of governing a nation, or can be put succinctly as living up to the aspirations of the masses by coming to power. Pre elections campaign is a most important activity through which a political party or a group of candidates communicate or campaign to build opinions and vouch what they stands for, what they wish to do if they are voted to power. Massive rallies, discussion platforms & door to door campaigns has been the order of the day during elections, so it takes lots of time to reach out to the masses to communicate and understand what problem people faces and candidates giving their words of promise to fulfill if they are voted to power.
The present generation is getting more and more aligned with the social media platforms like facebook, twitter & others apps which gets introduced every now and then. So it is natural choice for the campaign team to harness the potential of the social media and targeting the young generation to build up opinions and feasting them with contents by means of words & pictures and influence them to take decisions to their advantage . So political parties have started identifying the opportunity and spends huge money and deploy a team of experts which creates messages, contents & images to capture the imagination of the aspiring young voters in developing countries.
Today the social media have become a great investment for political parties because this platforms has a huge data pool, individual taste preferences and also serves the purpose of getting a jest of the user’s behavioral patterns. So election war room team has a task cut out to feed them with information which are partially right through orchestrated campaigns. Nearly 35 to 45 percent of the population in some of the countries especially from the Middle East and the North African region comprises of very young voters. The first major attempt to use social media was in Moldova in 2009 and followed by several attempts in Egypt, Syria& Libya which resulted in a political unrest against the ruling dispensations , so same applies in the election campaigns also, it is increasingly becoming a tool to mobilize public opinions .
Recently concluded election in India in 2014 is once such example where Narendra Modi incumbent Prime minister and his team hired an American public agency major APCO worldwide to boost his image makeover, by projecting him as Prime ministerial candidate, the thumping mandate he has received was a vindictive of the the influence social media had on the youngsters decision making. In 2012 Obama used the social media circles well to capture the imagination of the electorates, same has been followed by Modi in 2014. So regular and proactive involvement in the social media circle was instrumental in many voters casting their votes in the most recent election.
The social media provides real-time updates, pictures, and events on every issues which are critical in getting connected to younger population , it gives them the space to freely express their views on issues by being relevant in the contemporary world .The concept of shared awareness works well in social media where thoughts & ideas get shared immediately in lesser time which could create lasting impact in the minds who are looking out for change., conservative media circles rarely gives others the opportunity to express their thoughts , but it only gives them what the media write or speaks about, But in social idea takes its one notch higher by giving the opportunity to reflect upon what he or she read , which gets shared to other users quickly to get much clarity in ideas and thoughts. It gives the younger generation the freedom to express, faster responses to what they shares. Undoubtedly 2014 elections in India Narendra Modi had leveraged the social media space better and efficiently than any other politicians in Indian history. His road to power was incomplete without giving a complement to social media.
In the coming days and across countries the usage of social media circle to build public opinions by image makeover is going to be used effectively to reach out the young generation.The ways in which social media, the gift of modern information technology, can influence the process of elections all over the world are beyond speculation. Hitherto, our popular conception was that it is the popular mandate that decides who should come to power. Here, social media is going to be the ‘King Maker’ in elections.
Do you think social media will have a great role to play in future changing the face of every nation by influencing the election process as a whole?If ‘Content is King’ for internet marketing, the contents you post in social media is going to act as your crucial weapon for the election campaigns.
I would like to have your opinions on these views in the comments column so that I can come up with more ideas in my forthcoming posts. Thank you very much for sparing your time.