As compared to the last General Elections held in 2009, the current General Elections have been significantly more engaging with the public at large. In 2009, political parties and contestants largely relied on communication and connect with the public through TV channels, posters, banners, specially fitted vehicles carrying video messages, door to door campaigning and rallies. In addition to use of these media, during the General Elections of 2014 we have witnessed a significant shift in the spend and focus towards use of digital technologies to address the targeted audiences by various political parties.
Political parties have intelligently been using the internet as well as the mobile medium to convey their messages. The 200 million internet users and more than four times that number of mobile subscriber base India has have provided new channels of communication to the political parties. Facebook and Google have taken advantage of the current interests of the Indian public in elections and have been hosting online town hall meetings and Hangouts with the politician’s thus moving technology into the realms of electioneering and offering new channels of dialogue between people. Microsoft and CNN IBN partnership for election analytics is another smart move that highlights the significance of technology in poll predictions and analysis when the results are announced.
All candidates are using social media to reach out to the people that matter, although the percentage of electorate they may touch through this medium will be very small as compared to 814 million voters who are participating in the election process. Still the instant impact they are making in forming opinions and influencing the constituents can be experienced in other media such as television and newspapers.
Narendra Modi and BJP seem to have created the maximum presence on social media with Modi having 3.6 million Twitter followers and Rahul Gandhi having 100,000 followers. The data that is coming through from Twitter, Facebook and other blogs are being quickly analysed and fed into strategy cells for immediate response or actions to be initiated. Analysis of big data is helping political parties to create targeted messages for different segments thus ensuring better response from the intended audiences.
Several videos depicting political contestants in positive or negative limelight have gone viral, smartly planned to reach out to people at the right time to influence them, thus even managing to overcome the electoral process restrictions in some cases. The three dimensional hologram used by