During election season, online political winds turn into storms

Cost-effective canvassing

What makes the ensuing Lok Sabha elections interesting: that Rahul Gandhi is pitted against Arvind Kejriwal, who is pitted against Narendra Modi?

But, there is more to these elections than just that. Social media has taken over these elections as a storm and how. Each candidate is taking to online campaigns, trying to woo the tech-savvy crowd, but how much of an impact are the campaigns having on the so-called cyber circuit?

“I come across a number of posts online related to the upcoming elections. I will not say that these advertisements have an impact as such on an educated, aware person’s mind. But one does pay attention to know what the whole thing is about. As far as having an impact on a person is concerned, it differs from person to person.

If someone I am influenced by suggests something to me, I would definitely take a look at it. If I find it credible, I do consider it too,” said Kshithi Singh, who works with a publication house.  Many candidates have chosen to go online, regardless of what impact an online campaign has.

“Online campaigns are always cost effective compared to anything else. While a newspaper becomes old after a day, the message you put online remains. Many parties have, thus, chosen to focus majorly on web portals,” said Ravinarayana G, Managing Director, Dhyeya Software Solutions. Ravinarayana’s company manages the websites and profiles of five to six candidates.

That the political bigwigs are making their presence felt on the social media is evident from the fact that the BJP has 32,84,124 likes, while the Congress has 23,40,592 likes on Facebook, when last checked.

Vikram Nalagampalli, CEO of Voterite, said, “Many people work through the day and actually do not have time to go out and sit through most campaigns. They are actually interested to know about the various candidates who are contesting. The whole platform of advertising on the social media does leave an impact, especially on the tech savvy crowd that spends a lot of time online.”

Even though online campaigns do not have a direct impact on today’s young crowd, it makes a difference when a friend of a person is bent on promoting a particular candidate or party. “While I may not go to and like a party’s page on Facebook or follow a leader on Twitter, I notice when my friends or acquaintances online take part in debates or suggest posts to me.

For instance, Voterite, a website that helps citizens choose and be aware of what is happening in the political scenario, has managed to get 37,000 registrations within three months.

“This reiterates the fact that gone are the days when a citizen had no say. People do make efficient, yet cautious efforts to ensure their vote counts,” he said.

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