India saw a new beginning when almost all political parties jumped into social media to establish their visibility and woo their voters. It was interesting to see the clash of political titans as well as novices on the Internet arena to win over netizens.
Among all the political parties, BJP was the most active party on all social media platforms, including Facebook, twitter, blogs, etc. whereas Congress was largely active on Twitter. BJP leader LK Advani came off as more web-savvy as compared to his other political counterparts, however the BJP also spent a lot on paid campaigns on banners, adwords and affiliates. BJP tried to mimic Obama’s campaign strategy and ran an aggressive social media campaign to reach out to urban voters, but unfortunately they failed to taste victory. Even independents like Ajay Goyal (Chandigarh) ran social media and email campaigns – however even Ajay lost his deposit.
There are many reasons for the failure of the BJP and independents like Ajay – despite being so active online. First, the internet has still not penetrated the rural regions that constitute 60-70% of our population. Second, they tried to woo urban voters who hardly come out to vote, unlike rural voters. Third, the issues they highlighted were not appealing enough for urbanites to support them. Even Barack Obama won due to the message he wanted to spread out to his audience not because of his political campaign on social media. A Social media strategy can be a success when teamed with a relevant and interesting message and targeted at the correct audience, till then India will probably need to wait till rural internet usage becomes widespread enough.
The table below compares some of the social media activities of political parties on various platforms.
|Websites||BJP main site
LK Advani site
|Main AICC site
Vote for Congress
|Politicians Active on Twitter||Narendra Modi
Krishna Byre Gowda
|Groups on Facebook||Friends of BJP
|Politicians Active on Blogs||LK Advani
K. Raghupati Bhat
DR VS Acharya
|Sanjay Nirumpam||Lalu Prasad Yadav