By Ashok Kumar Mahapatra
Our favourite source of infotainment is shifting from TV to Internet. Social Media being one of the products of Internet technology has empowered us to not just listen but also express. Even under aged kids could be a publisher/broadcaster of the information.
Can you believe that today around 15 % of Odisha and around 12% of India goes live daily on Facebook. The percentages seem small but remember we are a 1.3 million population country and this percentage might challenge the population of some of the countries. Like Facebook even Twitter is another major channel of media consumption and expression popular in India. Post the last general elections even our politicians are extremely active on Twitter in reaching to their voters. Leaders of India are using social media to educate voter in all possible manner and enhance their brand identity. Not just local but our leaders are trying their best reaching to Indians living abroad through these channels.
Social networking channels are largely moderated by content from the masses that are free to express their opinion based on public information or experience. Politics being one of the most attractive propositions for discussion reputation management of political leaders is a must. There are professionals and agencies hired for creating strategic content for making political leaders look good or bad. The main idea is to identify the pain point of the voter and ride on the emotional wave. The mobile messaging platforms like whatsapp is an add-on to make things go viral overnight with endorsement from close ones. Our activity on social networks gets recorded in the form of Data accordingly content is targeted. User behaviour study is an old practice in the internet age however today it is becoming a concern as we are mostly spending a large amount of time on the internet. Our habits and behaviour helps industries predict the vibes and accordingly strategies are created.
India has a diversified population which is now getting exposed to low cost internet and smart phones. This will empower the people to make informed choices. So political leaders need to focus on creativity in content with facts and yes keep on doing good work. Also apart from straight direct ads it’s better to be endorsed by voters. At the same time users of social media need to understand between created and factual content. It is always good for users to get the information’s verified before reacting. Impulsive reaction on social media proves fatal as our actions are an endorsement and it does influence atleast our first level direct contacts on social networks. Being responsible is the only way forward and political leaders need to be near to transparent and consistent in communicating with the voters. To stay in the business early adoption of social media will ensure a long lasting political identity.
As I always say every individual is a brand and digitally it’s an IP address, a mobile number, an email or typically a data. Your actions will be studied and accordingly you will be targeted with content. It’s our choice to get informed or exploited and it’s equally important to communicate responsibly.
Ashok Kumar Mahapatra is a communication specialist with expertise in digital. He has worked on brands, films and social campaigns for individuals as well associations. Social marketing has been one of his fortes. He is amongst the few in India who joined the digital communication environment at the early stages.