16 March 2019
New Delhi: Political parties have gone 24/7 on creating election-special content like issue-based memes, jokes, GIFs and short-format videos to bombard various social media platforms and woo millions of voters.
According to social media experts, while issues like unemployment, farmer distress, Rafale deal and demonetisation would dominate the social media content for the opposition, the Modi-led NDA government is aiming to highlight the Balakot air strike and poverty alleviation.
"Some political parties have appointed social media 'warriors' to reach out to the public on digital platforms. They are working round-the-clock as political content aggregators, preparing fiery content for social media trollers," says social media expert Anoop Mishra.
The bombardment is likely to begin from next week and would only gain momentum as the voting process inches closer.
The rise in popularity of social media platforms has also opened up a relatively new advertising economy driven by "influencer marketing".
There was a little slump in their activities, say experts, after the Cobrapost investigation last month revealed that several Bollywood celebrities were willing to pass views of political parties as personal opinions for money.
The dust is now settled and the army of social media "influencers" are again out to spread the propaganda of political parties.
The trend to reach out to their voters via social media platforms has caught up with many politicians, the recent ones being Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra who are now on Twitter.
"Parties like Congress and the BJP have shared a WhatsApp number which people can directly use to connect to the party.
"Every major party and its leaders now have Twitter handle and can often be seen making parodies and memes mocking each other to connect quickly with the youth," said Mishra.
Congress can now often be seen live-streaming their rallies on Facebook. Regional parties have spruced up their social media presence too.
Till the voting process begins, the social media platforms would turn into a battleground for the political parties.
"The post and ad frequencies would be 10 to 20 times higher than normal days. The parties would try to woo users on emotional sentiments and finally engaging them by trying to change their perception," Mishra noted.
There are no two opinions about the fact that political discourse is going to be impacted by social media and the consequences of this can be serious as social media platforms are already being used to create a highly-polarised atmosphere in the country.
The game is set to go dirty, with more and more politicians taking jibes and trading barbs on social media platforms, which will then be reworked upon by creative agencies to flood Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter.