The new age Political playground : Rise of Web 2.0 & Social Media in Indian Politics

I believe a majority of the politicians in India play the game based on the Social classes of the country. There were days when candidates won purely based on the votes from people belonging to their own social class or caste. And there have been cases where candidates have played well with the social set up itself in order to gain advantage. This happened with the likes of  Nitish’s JDU and Laloo’s RJD in the state of Bihar. When RJD garnered majority with the ‘Yadava’ votes, JDU’s supremo has been successful in re-engineering the society itself. (He was the one to come up with the new the new class of the society called the Mahadalits).

This propaganda of has remained the same to much of an extent over the decades. However the current elections have seen a surge in the role of the Internet and the other innovative media being put to use by the politicians. It makes me believe that the campaign team of Barack Obama and its way of making use of the web has inspired the think tanks of the Indian Politicians. Obama has for sure brought about a noticeable change in the way Indian politicians battle each other. The “Obama way of campaign” as I would like to call it, has been a great success. Business houses around the world have learnt a lot from this masterful campaign strategy, especially onthe angles of leveraging the powers of Web 2.0. The parties have now found a new way to reach the masses with their agenda.BJP I would say has made the best use of the web offerings. They are making fullest possible use of all the so called Web 2.0 platforms and avenues. They even have the credit of picking up graduates from IIM’s to intern with them and aid “LK” ji on his strategic moves for this election.

We have young candidates like Milind Deora who are active on the social networking sites like facebook.The site for “LK” ji has links to all the major social networking sites including Orkut, Facebook and Youtube. The site has options to join the discussion forums too. Onecan register to receive updates via e-mail and SMS. The website is in no way sub standard. It has been designed and maintained in a very professional way.

Then we have this young South Chennai candidate Sarath Babu with a real Life rags-to-riches story. He talks of his early life and the way he fought his battles while addressing various forums and meets (thereby going about inspiring young people to do what they want to do). Not a surprise that he was Voted Pepsi MTV Youth Icon 2008. An alumnus of BITS-Pilani and IIM-A this first generation entrepreneur has taken up politics to eradicate hunger. His website was launched recently and his campaign is very strongly dependant on his on-line network of friends and in turn their friends. With wide spread media coverage and prompt help from his social networking circles he has achieved a phenomenal reach at least to the educated, web savvy vote bank of south Chennai. He is also leveraging the brand values of IIM and BITS to the his best advantage.

After decades of dominance on the traditional media forums, the politicans have now come to steal the lime light on the social media also. They might not quite deliver the change that they promise to bring, but their ways of winning over votes has undergone a sea change in the past decade. We can even say that this change marks a huge forward looking strategic shift in the campaign media strategy.

This would present Marketeers and PR pros with a new opportunities. And what does this mean for the general public??!!

If the politicians continue to mobilise support and opinions through the social media, it would be a very effective and fast way to compile public Opinion. And the social media will prove to be a very very effective forum to voice our opinions and gather mass support in huge numbers so as to gain the attention of the Government. Well these might take a bit of time to happen, but will happen for sure. 🙂 … Let hope that Change happens in India too.

And by the way guys,  pls cast your precious votes. Remember its still the old way, You can’t enjoy the convenience of On-line voting. 😉


~ by technolect on May 5, 2009.

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