The Power of Social Media in 2014 Elections
Be it small businesses, giant corporations or politicians, social networking sites have become the prime focus for reaching out to the masses in no time! When we talk of politics, politicians and elections, how can we forget the 2008 presidential election of the United States; Barak Obama, who was the undisputed victor and his victory was driven via the power of social media. As per the statistics of the 2008 US Presidential Election, on Facebook, there were 29,101,000+ Obama followers, and on Twitter, it was 20,420,000+.
Similarly, when it comes to the 2014 general elections in India, we have seen how Arvind Kejriwal reached the pinnacle of fame and popularity via social media.
Let's Consider Some Statistics
Qualified voters in India in 2014 are 790 million. Out of these, 160 million will be voting for the first time. This means that the 160 million are India's youth who are 18-24 years old. When it comes to the number of social media users in our country, it is 80 million. This figure may seem insignificant but the reach and impact of social sites are definitely more significant than the number of users.
The Indian educated youth use social platforms like Facebook and Twitter the most. And, they have the ability to influence their friends, acquaintances and family members, thus spreading the word via these social sites. If we focus our attention to Delhi, the AAP earned its popularity using social media. It's not that every person voted for AAP using social sites, but the youth definitely spread the word about AAP.
Arvind Kejriwal, the anti-corruption activist converted politician, has a total of 1.5 million Twitter followers since the time he has joined in November 2011. This was the year before Kejriwal formed the AAP. And, Narendra Modi has amassed 3.6 million followers.
So, this indicates that young India has the power to swing the elections their way and the number is pretty significant when it comes to West Bengal.
Social Media Facts
- In India, internet users are 125 million.
- Most popular social sites include Facebook (FB), Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, hi5.com, MySpace, Indyarocks, and ibibo.com.
- Indians spend at least 26 minutes on the internet every day.
- As of now, FB has 93 million users in India and Twitter has 33 million accounts.
- There are 73 percent male FB users and 27 percent female users.
- Social platforms are accessed by almost 60 percent of Indian audience.
- Teenagers and youths within the age group of 15-24 years use social media the most.
- FB is accessed at least 3 times a day.
2014 Elections in India: Fan Following of Leading Political Parties
NUMBER OF FANSIndian National Congress: 3 184 899 Bharatiya Janata Party: 4 284 755
Aam Aadmi Party: 2 070 911
The Greatest Impacts
As far as the 2014 elections are concerned, we have the bigwigs and celebrities contending for the same. The whole political arena, be it politicians or celebs, is leveraging the power of social sites to influence the youth. The BJP, i.e. the Bharatiya Janata Party has an overwhelming presence on social platforms and has been using it even before the general elections of 2009.
50 Percent Young Voters
The modern urban youth is now taking more interest in politics than before. As a result, the 2014 elections will witness as high as 50 percent young voters, and most of the youths are active on social sites such as FB and Twitter, thus helping to drive discussions.
160 Constituencies out of 543 Seats Likely to Be Influenced
According to studies conducted both by independent agencies and several parties, 160 constituencies out of 543 seats are expected to be influenced by social media campaigns. Political parties in India including the smaller regional ones are trying their best to get the vital online swing in their favor.
Influencing Female Voters in India
With more and more women using the internet, social media has become the dynamic source of education and influence for women voters in India. And, it comes to 49 percent of prospective voters – a statistic that simply cannot be ignored.
Budget Allocated for Digital Campaigns
According to a recent report, the political parties are spending whopping amounts of Rs. 400 to 500 crore on digital campaigns. Be it Congress or BJP, all of them are leaving no stone unturned to spend extravagantly to target the modern Indian youth (many of which are first-time voters) and win their confidence at the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
WhatsApp, the popular messaging app used by the Indian youth is an effectual tool for the local candidates and helps in staying connected with the voters belonging to their ward coupled with the use of Big Data.
WhatsApp Used by the Congress and BJP
WhatsApp is now being used by the Congress and the BJP to send targeted messages (before rallies and campaigns), photos and videos to prospective voters, and win their confidence.
Narendra Modi: The Most Promising Candidate for the Post of Prime Minister in 2014 Lok Sabha Elections
Narendra Modi is now the most talked about politician and he is present in all mediums including social media. As far as social media is concerned, it has played a significant role in promoting Modi as the best possible Prime Ministerial candidate for the upcoming 2014 Indian elections.
A Look at his Current Social Media Presence
1. On Facebook: 13 million
2. On Twitter: 3.87 million
3. On YouTube: 140K subscribers
4. On Google+: 1.3 million
6 Most Talked about Politicians Online
- Narendra Modi
- Rahul Gandhi
- Manmohan Singh
- Sonia Gandhi
- Mamata Banerjee
Fan Following of Heavyweight Candidates
Narendra Modi: 13 724 958
Rahul Gandhi: 357511
Sonia Gandhi: 226278
Arvind Kejriwal: 5 350 127
Mamata Banerjee: 722658
Fan Following graphs of Few Heavyweight Candidates
Narendra Modi Fans in India
Rahul Gandhi Fans in India
Arvind Kejriwal Fans in India
Sonia Gandhi Fans in India
IMAGE CREDIT: Socialbakers
Then, How Does Social Media Benefits?
From the perspective of politicians as well as voters concerning the 2014 elections in India, social networking sites benefit in the following ways:
- Easy to understand and track the sentiments of the masses
- Reaching out to a huge audience in less time
- Accentuating the positive aspects of a leader or candidate
- Circulating the pessimism of the opposition
- Gaining more confidence by real time interaction and engagement
- Streamlining the ideas, beliefs and expectations of the voters with that of the goals of the candidate.
- Helps politicians share their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, objectives and accomplishments with the voters directly. This makes them feel more deeply involved with the campaign. With more behind-the-scene views of the campaign, supporters feel that they are more connected with a particular candidate.
- Converting digital followers into real voters!