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World Politics & Role Of Social Media

The internet is free for all! And why are politicians and political parties failing to make the best use of this access?

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In the existing times, social media has become imperative and forms a bridge between the general public and politicians. Following news on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram is far quicker and convenient than via traditional mediums like newspapers or television network. It plays an important role in circulating news to a much wider audience in very less time.

At a recent event, Congress MP, Shashi Tharoor, stated that social media has made government institutions more accountable. Many protests in recent times like #blacklivesmatter, #occupywallstreet and agitations for abortion rights in the USA were organized on social media and got attention from many countries.

HOW SOCIAL MEDIA REVOLUTION IN POLITICS STARTED?
Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube became powerful digital tools in American politics during 2008 Presidential elections. Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama used social media extensively to raise awareness and financial support for his electoral campaign through it. It is said that he used over 15 social networking sites. It is worthwhile to note that in 2004, Democrat Howard Dean who served as Governor of Vermont, is credited to have first used internet for political purposes .When Donald Trump became the President of USA he stated that “social media helped him win”. He would write on Twitter daily to express himself.

Our own Indian Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi said ‘I am a firm believer in power of technology and social media to communicate with people across the world.’ Certainly Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the most followed Asian, with over 85.9 M followers. From posting pictures and videos of the party work, to tweeting congratulatory messages to students or sports persons or to give festive greetings to his country people, Mr. Modi tweets and connects with all. Social media has played a crucial role in the recent Ukraine-Russia crisis too. The viral videos of the stranded Indian students in Ukraine, holding Indian flags, prompted the Indian authorities to evacuate them at the earliest from there. Social media is being used comprehensively by the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. With his simple, impassioned speeches on various platforms, he has garnered immense international support from the leaders of the world and also from the general public. People worldwide took to streets to demand humanitarian aid and military backing to the Ukrainian government. Due to his social media presence, President Zelensky has amassed a lot of support from fellow Ukrainians too.


WHAT DO SURVEYS SAY?
Social media has become an intrinsic part of our world and world leaders cannot afford to ignore it. Wharton marketing Professor Pinar Yildirim has stated that politicians earlier would share their views through official speakers or they would show up on television. But now they express their views on Twitter. “Never have politicians been so accessible to the public” Yildirium had noted. Politicians understand that social media and digital marketing has the power to reach out to the young tech savvy individuals who are their potential vote banks too. President Biden was recently seen in investing time and posing with young TikTok influencers, who have a massive reach with 67 M+ followers. The White House is also turning to TikTok stars to take its message across to young audience.

LETS LOOK FORWARD TO 2024 GENERAL ELECTION FIGHT ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS
With general elections in 2024, we will see a lot more activity from all parties on social media. Twitter trending, viral videos, WhatsApp marketing and twitter spaces, Facebook and Instagram Lives etc. will become even more prominent. With smartphone penetration in villages, it’s become extremely easy and important for all parties to use this access to put their point across. The internet is free for all! And, why won’t the politicians and political parties use this access to their best use! Watch the fun with digital media being the most important tool in 2024 elections.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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social media world politics Magazine 11 Feb 2023

Anu Sehgal

The author is a digital consultant specialising in image management and brand promotion, and a former journalist

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