By Oken Jeet Sandham
Literally, every person on the street has Facebook Account. In other countries and even in major Indian cities, whether cobbler or rickshaw puller or barber or vegetable vender, they mostly have social media accounts, particularly Facebook. Almost every restaurant – whether small or big – has free Internet facilities through Wi-Fi. Everyone coming to the restaurants is normally seen enjoying free Internet facilities through the Wi-Fi services, while enjoying various cuisines. The whole world is virtually at their fingertips.
Over 80% of the world leaders now have their own social media accounts, particularly Facebook. Starting from mere local politicians to Prime Ministers and Presidents, they all have owned their own social media sites. Many Queens and Kings also have joined social media. Most of them used Facebook extensively to promote their missions and charitable works, while those politicians would do their best to propagate their political and social agendas. Millions of Facebook users will also systematically use the social media sites (Facebook) to promote their commercial ventures. Various professionals will use Facebook to promote their professional programs. To a great extent, their purposes are served.
Since the advent of Facebook, the communities of the world are more connected than ever before. The boundaries have virtually disappeared and the world communities become one family. The people don’t wait any important information of any candidates these days; they can easily get it through their Facebook sites. Besides this, the general publics can directly put their questions in their social media sites and even join debates in it.
We have seen how the last American Presidential elections were fought through various social media sites. Barack Obama and his Republican rivals Senator John McCain and later with Mitt Romney virtually had their presidential campaigns organized in the Facebook and it had largely worked to capture the mood of the voters who were also users of Facebook and other social media sites.
The last American Presidential elections had shown to the world that no one could any longer fight without Facebook and other Social media machines. After the American elections were over, numbers of Facebook and other social media users were seen a quantum jump and it still keeps surging.
Every Prime Minister or President of the world would have their Facebook with millions following them. They virtually pitted against each other for their political and electoral battles. They could systematically advance to many areas. Every activity of any Prime Minister or the main Opposition Leader will be instantly uploaded in their Facebook before it goes to any other online publications, forget about Print Media that will come next day only.
In India, we have now witnessed unprecedented use of Facebook and Twitter, etc. during this time’s upcoming 16th Indian Lok Sabha elections by contending candidates and their political parties. They have been constantly uploading news of election campaigns in their respective social media sites. According to report, the social media, particularly Facebook will play a major role in 2014 elections. It said out of 534 constituencies, 160 were identified as High impact zones, 67 were identified as Medium impact zones while the rest were classified as Low impact zones.
It further disclosed that they were categorized on the basis of internet and Facebook users in that particular constituency. On basis of data collected from past year and equating it with current stats, it concluded that the High impact zones will be the major game changer in 2014 elections.
Nadrendra Modi, the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate has millions of Facebook and Twitter followers. His electioneering news is constantly uploaded in his and his BJP’s Facebook and Twitter sites. Congress Star Campaigner Rahul Gandhi also equally uses the services of the Facebook and Twitter for propagating his electioneering campaigns, while Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh too can’t help but depending on social media like Facebook to put his political agendas and developments, etc.
Though he projected himself very simple, Arvind Kejriwal, former Delhi Chief Minister and leader of AAP, couldn’t progress without depending on social media. He had to convey his thought, ideas and election campaigns through social media in many cases. In fact, the social media plays integral, both to the candidates and the public.
In India, every political party has their social media sites today. They too have used benefits of the sites to the fullest possible manner to advance their political agendas. Massive political propaganda has been created through Facebook and Twitter by every political party and their leader to project that they are the savior of the country. If closely monitored, it appears that they are unlikely to play politics without the services of Facebook and Twitter. What a revolution indeed.
Even in the Region, State Units of various National Political Parties like the BJP, Congress, etc. have opened their own social media sites and played their own games to only strengthen their propaganda machine.
Every media house does have their own various social media sites, so do all the media persons. In fact, some of the national media houses constantly upload every new development in their news portals as well as their Facebook and Twitter. These have happened, over and above their print editions. Even the electronic media like TV Channels, in spite of their live telecast of each and every development, do constantly upload their news in their Facebook and Twitter.
In Nagaland too, number of social media users are seen increasing leaps and bound. There are heated debates taking place on various issues facing them in their social media sites. Facebook has given space for each and every person to share their thoughts, ideas and plights, etc.
Hundreds of users throw their questions in the Facebook daily or hourly with regard to the current Lok Sabha elections as well as Naga political issue. It is interesting to note that while AICC Vice President Rahul Gandhi was addressing a mammoth election rally at Kohima Local Ground on March 27, news of his address was being uploaded in Facebook and Twitter simultaneously. How advance the Social Media of today is? In fact, immediate political debates generated when he raised the controversial points with regard to Naga political issue where he said, “I will not give any promise as your Chief Minister who said he would bring solution to the Naga issue within three months if he was voted to power.”
Before NPF formally lodged its complaint, the actual debates were over within few hours as soon as it was uploaded in the Facebook and Twitter. It went viral.
It is regretted that NPF and NPCC have just opened their Facebook accounts with hardly any following them. Hardly election campaign news is seen uploading in their sites. They should engage their media personnel to work for their social media sites. Nagaland BJP Unit has, however, been maintaining their Facebook site well.
NPF candidate Neiphiu Rio, who is also DAN consensus candidate, has nearly 500 followers, while Congress Candidate KV Pusa’s seemed to have just been opened recently with less than 100 followers. Some of their party functionaries, of course, have their social media accounts opened. This development clearly shows that they are yet to know the value of social media.
Looking at the present scenario, Nagaland political activities are yet to catch up the social media importance. They are still in the dark while others are busy uploading their activities, yet they do not know what is happening in Facebook with their stories. Here is a wakeup call for our political leaders to join the Facebook or else they will be left out.
Impact of social media while our elections & politics groping in the dark
By Oken Jeet Sandham