Social media high on videos, vernacular content

The countdown for the Lok Sabha elections has begun and social media cells of both the BJP and Congress in the state have gone into hyperactive mode, running campaigns for candidates and countering claims made by the Opposition.

The JD(S) IT cell, however, is yet to fully enter the campaign, save for a separate social media cell which has been created to promote Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s son and party candidate, Nikhil Kumaraswamy in Mandya.

Both Congress and BJP cells are concentrating on generating more video content for campaigning, as the medium is the most popular on social media.

Fake, fake

Speaking to DH, Nataraj Gowda, social media in-charge of Congress, said that the cell was working on various verticals to ensure a comprehensive campaign in the run up to the elections.

“One of the major challenges we face is trolling by members of BJP IT cell. Apart from it, we are working on a day-to-day basis to counter the fake news propagated by the BJP,” he said.

Sources in BJP IT wing, however, blamed the Congress for spreading various fake news. They said that the IT wing was generating and distributing content to counter the fake news being peddled by the opposition.

“We have concentrated on generating content in Kannada this time around -- 95% of our content will be in Kannada. The remaining 5% will be in English to cater to the urban audience,” Balaji Srinivas, social media head of BJP Karnataka, said.

Booth-level groups

Both national parties have concentrated their efforts on making booth level groups, especially using WhatsApp and Facebook. Members of both social media cells feel that while Twitter and Instagram user base was growing, most of the voting population was exposed only to WhatsApp and Facebook.

“Though Twitter can set some trends on social media, the Congress is dependent on booth-level groups based on WhatsApp and Facebook to reach more voters. BJP too is relying on these platforms and has around 100 WhatsApp and other social media groups in each of the Assembly segments in a Lok Sabha constituency,” said Gowda.

BJP will invite Twitter influencers with more than 10,000 followers for a #Twitteratimeet, seeking their support to campaign On social media.

Permission awaited

Phaniraj, social media head of JD(S) Bengaluru unit, said that the IT cell was awaiting permission of the party leadership to launch online campaigns.

“After all candidates are finalised, we will launch our campaigns. Whether the social media campaign will be a joint exercise with our coalition partners is yet to be decided,” he said.

The only active social media wing of the JD(S), he said, was launched recently in Mandya constituency after Nikhil Kumaraswmay was ridiculed in social media for an old video shot while promoting a movie.

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Social media high on videos, vernacular content

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