Political Twitterites

Curator's Note

We hear voices but we do not necessarily remember them. We participate in debates but not all debates are heard. In twenty-first century political communication has become simple, but, to make it even more complex. The questions is what makes political communication complex and why? Certainly, social media has played a colossal role in heightening this complexity. Political activism is not only a parade of mass on the streets anymore. Political activism today, is also about a parade of texts, images, videos and live conversations that takes place on a virtual platform, as you can see on the slides. Transformation of activism has contributed to the complexity that demands continuous re-branding of nation. This is where the credibility of the new political Twitterites in India comes in. From public engagement campaigns on roads, India took a sharp virtual turn in the Lok Sabha Election 2014. The world witnessed a very close replication of US Presidential Election in the Indian election. All the major political parties were on social media. The three Prime Ministerial candidates put in enormous effort to polarise the platform. From Google Hangout to YouTube, all available social media platforms were used to disseminate political campaigns. The political parties had their own social media hub at party headquarters to research, engage and monitor the interactive campaigns on the virtual platforms. The campaign videos were uploaded in YouTube and simultaneously floated in Facebook. Research suggests there were 3, 072 tweets per hour between January 27 and April 18, 2014 . The Prime Minister of India himself is a dedicated ‘Twitterite’ and promotes social media activism by finding ways to engage with the public. Twitter report confirms, Narendra Modi’s tweet after winning the election ‘India has won! Good time is about to come’ has had the highest retweets ever from India, including the ‘inked finger selfie’ after casting vote. Ever since then, hashtag SelfiewithModi has been begun and revolutionised public engagement in politics through social media. It is true that hastag is not a movement but it has the potential to ignite a movement. The world witnessed ’56 million election related tweets’. ‘Narendra Modi became the second most liked politician on Facebook who joined the top five liked politicians globally’.’

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