Social media campaign in Garo Hills, an opinion shaping tool

Social media campaign in Garo Hills, an opinion shaping tool

Voicing public opinion becomes the vital component of any political party or a wannabe politician in a country like India where there are 200 million internet users. The numbers are also constantly on the rise. These young go-getters are socially engaged at all times as per data from Alexa Internet, the highest usage worldwide is from Twitter and Facebook.

The battleground for the by-elections in Tura Lok Sabha seat has been shifted to the virtual world. Social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter are the new battlegrounds to engage this new political battle.

In the run up to the Presidential Elections in America, Donald Trump (7 million followers on Twitter) stole an idea from Barack Obama to leverage his supporting base; he hooked on to Twitter to disseminate his message at zero cost.

Assam which witnessed the use of social media for the first time as political parties wooed voters and discussed various issues. What is of interest is the facts that social media in Assam is more widely used by young women.

Public Policy Director, India, South and Central Asia of Facebook, Ankhi Das did once give a data overview to the run-up of the Assam Legislative Assembly elections. While discussing political issues the first time voters were more active on Facebook. Demographically males between 18 to 24 years were the highest users of Facebook followed by males in the age group of 24 to 34 years and then females in the age group of 18 to 24 years.

India is a Union of states and provinces with a multi-party/ bi-cameral polity. Parliament comprises of two houses: the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The general elections to the lower house or the Lok Sabha (LS) are held every five years.

Both Dikkanchi D Shira (Cong) and Conrad K Sangma (NPP) along with their supporters are fighting an online battle.

Through its online posts the National People's Party (NPP) posted photos showing the state of rural development with broken bridges, pot-holed roads amongst others to woo voters. Congress online wizards are using its own tactics to bolster its supporting base applauding the NH-44 as a good sign.

The coming of social media will change the face of elections as it has done in many other respective fields but would this new change of guard kill the next generation journalist?

(By Christopher Gatphoh)

Featured image: Representational

The views reflected in this piece are that of the author and need not necessarily be that of TNT-The Northeast Today

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