IT cells get busy as Guj parties bank on social media to shape voter perceptions

As Gujarat approaches the assembly elections, each party’s social media teams are sharpening their strategies to give an edge to their party’s election campaign. Social media experts believe this platform can shape the perception and mindset of voters.

When it comes to spread and reach, negative messages spread like wildfire and in minutes and hours travel to thousands and lakhs of social media users, but positive messages trickle only like drops. Their speed is very slow, but the effect is much more than negative messages, is the experience of social media experts as well as party I.T and social media cells.

The Bharatiya Janata Party is exploring this platform since 2012. The party mostly uses it to send positive messages about development work carried out by their state and central governments. The party’s campaigns have achieved their goals, claimed Manan Dani, convener of BJP social media.

Dani cited the BJP’s examples of social media campaign, ‘Uncho Vikas, Unchu Gujarat’ (High Development, Gujarat to achieve new peak) or the campaign in civic polls like ‘Gujarat che Makkam, Bhajap che Adikham’ (Gujarat is confident, BJP is resolute).

If any political opponent is making false claims, the BJP social media team counters with facts, this helps in building the image of the party. The media is not for immediate results.

It is all about perception management, how effectively the party message is conveyed and whether it is reaching the targeted audience or not and creating an appeal, is the basic focus of the social media team, explained Keyur Shah, chairman of the Gujarat Congress I.T. Cell.

Citing the Congress social media’s successful campaign, Keyur cited, “Recently the party has launched it campaign, ‘Congress nu Kam Bole chhe’ (Congress party’s work speaks) it was trending on Twitter, this campaign compelled the BJP to launch a counter campaign, ‘BJP nu Kam Dekhay Chhe’, (BJP’s work is visible) and then they launched a series of colleges, universities and other works, which were trolled and questioned by social media users.”

In the run up to the 2017 assembly election ‘Vikas Gando Thayo chhe’ (Development has gone mad) was so trending, that the BJP had to counter it with the campaign, ‘Hu Vikas Chhu’ (I am development).

The AAP’s social media campaign is “One Chance to Kejriwal”. whereas its social media team is more active in exposing the ruling party’s claims.

Social media expert Jaydip Parikh said it is said in the documentary, “The Social Dilemma’ the platform has the ability to manipulate the people’s views, emotions, behaviour and spread disinformation.” It helps a party to find it’s audience and helps in reaching them, it actually is able to change the perception.”




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