Can Modi and Co continue to bank on social media reach?

Recently, in the workshop of newly elected MPs, several of the leaders sought the party’s help in using online communication tools.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: June 30, 2014 10:48 am
A recent Pew survey found that only 16 per cent of Indians use the internet at least occasionally or own a smartphone. A recent Pew survey found that only 16 per cent of Indians use the internet at least occasionally or own a smartphone.

Social media played a crucial role in the landslide victory of Narendra Modi in the last Lok Sabha elections. Well before any party could gauge the power of this platform, Modi was already creating wave and setting the agenda for the BJP on Internet. Now that the results are for all to see, Modi wants to further enhance his party’s reach in this uncharted and ever emerging platform.

Recently, in the workshop of newly elected MPs, several of the leaders sought the party’s help in using online communication tools.

A team of 20 has reportedly been detailed to monitor tweets tagging the prime minister and to feed him trending topics every eight hours. However, the arithmetic introduces complications. A recent Pew survey found that only 16 per cent of Indians use the internet at least occasionally or own a smartphone. Of these, 51 per cent use social networks. Of these, 35 per cent talk politics online.

If you work out the percentages, you will realise that a paltry 2.8 per cent of India talks politics online. And the Modi sarkar thinks this tiny club will swing the next election? But wait, do not scoff immediately. While internet access lags, 77 per cent of Indians have a mobile phone. And this week, Google has shown a commitment – by promoting Android L, a stripped down but capable operating system – to see that all 77 per cent have smartphones. So long as they’re Android, naturally.

Socially speaking, India is already one of the biggest emerging markets, and Google can only improve our access scores. Which means that the Modi sarkar is on the beam — the connected minority may yet gain enough strength to become a player in the national discourse.

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First Published on: June 30, 2014 10:46 am
  1. S
    Sudhir
    Jun 30, 2014 at 10:11 am
    Modi is aware of the phenomenon of “paid news” goes beyond the corruption of individual journalists & media companies. It has become pervasive, structured & highly organized & inthe process, is undermining democracy in India. Millions of ordinary people like us will support.
    Reply
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      Indian
      Jun 30, 2014 at 5:27 am
      Entire mainstream media is against Modi and BJP. Most of them have openly battedfor congress style functioning and secularism ( read AK Antony's views on congress'secularism) So there is nothing new in Modi leveraging social Media to improve his reach and convey the right thing... e.g. one medi achannel called modi's uttarakhan act of rescuing Gujaratis as Rambo act on page 1 and then in the next few days apologised on page 8 in fine print...Similarly some media channels used achors to tell partints " congres ske taraf se defend kar dena"....and the now famous " bahut hi krantikaari" video...There is nothign wrong in Modi using social media... but the mainstream media has sobered a bit as he has become the PM despite theri efforts to paint him as a villain...
      Reply
      1. J
        Jaspal Singh
        Jun 30, 2014 at 10:41 am
        The content of social media and other means of m communication should beregularly analysed with computer programs openly available in the market.
        Reply
        1. S
          sangeeth
          Jun 30, 2014 at 1:48 pm
          The media establishment has undergone a slight change after Modi became PM. However he has enough enemies left to raise an army division. It will do him good if he is careful, very very careful. I expect him to face rough weather for the first term.
          Reply
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            zain
            Jun 30, 2014 at 9:57 am
            this fb and twitter are for casual carefree chats...never responsible or formal...i feel funny when pm or higher ups using these sites for they r expected to be responsible ppl...to appear in sites where obscene and indecent languages r used and uncontrolled evn chauvinistic shouts r just teh norm is nothing lbut immaturity...just overexcitement w ehave when we see computers or websites firt time
            Reply
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