New book explores social media engagement by politicians


New Delhi
To put up a grand show in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, political parties and leaders are hoping to convert 'likes' and 'retweets' into votes. But will social media determine the next big win? Is social media the only way to tap young voters?

A new book titled 'The Big Connect: Politics in the Age of Social Media', released here recently analyses how social media engagement may not be just a sufficient condition for winning elections, but also a necessary one.

Author and journalist Shaili Chopra explores how numerous political leaders and parties are now connecting with online audience, on social media site like Facebook and Twitter among others, to garner support.

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"Election 2014 will be the first test of how much impact engagement of political parties and leaders on social media has made. And the social media story is not limited to one election, many lessons will be learnt after the election too," Chopra told PTI after the launch of her book.

In a bid to woo their potential young electorate, many leaders and parties have used social media tools effectively and employed different strategies.

"Parties and leaders have used digital strategies effectively. For instance, BJP's Prime Ministerial nominee Narendra Modi has emerged as a stronger digital story than the BJP," she said.

She also draws the distinction between Modi's digital drive with that by BJP's digital cell. It stood out even more after Modi was announced as the BJP's PM nominee, the author said.

An instance of Modi's effective online campaign was when millions of followers received a personalised Holi message from him on Twitter.

Similarly, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has used social media in an unprecedented way making engagement with the public and donation seeking its primary plan.

Chopra says she believes that the Congress party has done a huge disservice to itself by letting the party's vice president Rahul Gandhi remain out of bounds from the social media.

First Published: Apr 3 2014 | 1:23 PM IST

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