India Witnesses First Social Media Prime Minister in Narendra Modi

India got its first social media prime minister in Narendra Modi.  The three time chief minister of Gujarat will soon sworn as the 15th prime minister of India after his landslide victory trouncing the ruling United Progressive Alliance led by Congress. During the general election 2014, Narendra Modi became the second most-liked politician on Facebook behind only  Barack Obama, president of United States of America. Obama is also popularly called “first Social Media President of USA”.

Modi’s tweet proclaiming the victory of the Bharitya Janta Party(BJP) is testament to the fact that people are connecting with political leaders online.  The tweet  has become the most retweeted tweet from India in Twitter’s history. Till May 18, 2014, it has received 68,750  retweets and had been favourited 29,000 times.

 

Maximum RT and Favourited  tweet in India till now.  Pic: Twitter

Maximum RT and Favourited tweet in India till now.
Pic: Twitter

This was the first social media election for 1.2 billion strong India with the advent of Social Media giants in India, namely Facebook and Twitter, whose users run into million from urban areas to rural areas. Modi  from Bhartiya Janta Party gets the credit for first initiator on social media platforms when most of the politicians were busy ridiculing the emerging social media tools as “waste of time” and impersonal way to connect to masses. Even, Lalu Prasad Yadav, former chief minister of Bihar, known for his rustic behaviour fell for Twitter. He is now an active twitter user keeping intact his humour on the micro blogging site.  Earlier, he had criticized the use of social media.  In run up to the elections,  Facebook, the US based social media giant came up with  dedicated  Facebook ELECTION TRACKER to monitor political conversation on elections in India.

According to Facebook, “From the day elections were announced to the day polling ended, 29 million people conducted 227 million interactions (posts, comments, shares, and likes) regarding the elections on Facebook. In addition, 13 million people conducted 75 million interactions regarding  Narendra Modi.”

 Modi has 14.3 million fans — The Fastest-Growing Number on FACEBOOK  and  4,158,031 followers on TWITTER , the micro blogging site

In India,  814 million were eligible voters, and the interest in this year election was palpable — a record breaking 66% voter turn -out.In few of the parliamentary constituencies in Gujarat,  the voter turnout  crossed 70 %.  There is no denying to the fact that people, young & old are  turning to popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to talk  & engage on politics. In India, Facebook already had relatively high penetration in India, with 100 million active users.  According to published article in Quartz “On April 30—the day that 89 of India’s 543 constituencies went to the polls—696,000 election-related tweets were sentSince Jan1, the breakdown of tweets for the various national candidates/parties has been 34% for Narendra Modi or his Bharatiya Janata Party, 27% for Arvind Kejriwal or the Aam Admi Party, 4% for Rahul Gandhi or the Indian National Congress.”

The Facebook Election Tracker sums up the story well for elections in India- BJP and Narendra Modi tops the chart, while congress stood at last behind the newbie Aam Aadmi Party, on the last day of the elections.

BJP and Modi tops the chart, congress at the bottom.  Credit: India Tracker/Facebook India

BJP and Modi tops the chart, congress at the bottom.
Credit: India Tracker/Facebook India

The general elections 2014  reemphasized the fact that do not  underestimate the power of a tweet or a post in this globally wireless connected world! Modi landslide victory has proved all the social media critics wrong, especially his political opponents who we were more critical of his communication strategy of using social media extensively.

Social networking giant #Facebook said “29 million people in India have made 227 million interactions through posts, comments, shares, and likes about the elections from the day they were announced.

General Elections 2014 on Facebook  Credit : FacebookIndia

General Elections 2014 on Facebook
Credit : FacebookIndia

Rahul Gandhi, scion of Gandhi family and the face of Indian National Congress (INC) during general elections has no social media presence. Despite the fact that, he  is the young face of  Congress.

Today youth in India is social media mobile & savvy. They are tweeting, posting, sharing  from everything under the Sun.This time, youths were very much part of this elections and they participated in a big way.  They are vociferously demanding for a better future, jobs and amenities.During Modi’s victory speech in Vadodara, the parliamentary constituency from where Modi won by a margin of over 5 lakh votes, he gave due credit to role of social media in spreading the message  of ab ki baar Modi sarkaar far and wide”

Narendra Modi respecting the power of social media in his victory speech has stated that- “Due to social media, lies & false promises of several leaders could not go beyond the podiums of their rallies! More power to social media ,”

It is yet to be seen how social media euphoria translates into real work on ground level.  This will be watched closely by online & offline !



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Best Pratice on Social Media-Curate Well

Content that inspires, amuses, informs or assists people.

Content that inspires, amuses, informs or assists people.

 

“The best practice is to curate valuable content. This means content that inspires, amuses, informs, or assists people. Other than cheating by buying followers, it’s the only way to do this.”

Global Media Reacts on NARENDRA MODI Landslide Win in Indian Elections

The media reaction to landslide victory of BJP in general elections 2014. Photo  : Siddhanth Suchit

The media reaction to landslide victory of BJP in general elections 2014.
Photo :Reuters

A  Quick analysis of front page headlines from popular newspaper/TV in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, USA & UK’s on verdict given by 1.2 billion strong India. It is interesting to read the tone & tenor in these headlines! The Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), the main opposition party in India had a landslide victory winning 285 seats out of 543 parliamentary constituencies. The BJP lead National Democratic Alliance won 340 seats. BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will be next prime minister of India.

India

BJP Aaandhi Flattens Clan Gandhi- Times of India 

India Places its Faith in Moditva- Times of India

Hunkaar Tally- Hindustan Times 

MODI- Indian Express 

India is Modi. Modi is India- Economic Times

MODI’S Moment – MINT 

Prime Minister Modi – The Hindu

Pakistan

BJP knocks out Congres- The Dawn

Modi wave sweeps India- The Nation 

Modi storms to historic win in Indian elections-Pakistan Observer

Bangladesh

Modi wins landslide victory: The Daily Star,Bangladesh

Landslide win for Modi, BJP- Dhaka Tribune,Bangladesh 

Modi crushes the fort of Congress- The Bangladesh Today

USA

Congress Party Concedes Defeat as India Backs Modi-The

New York Times 

Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi heads to victory in Indian

election- Washington Post 

Narenda Modi Is India’s Next Leader-The Wire 

Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi claims victory as India’s

next Prime Minister- CNN

India’s Narendra Modi leads conservatives to election day

victory- Chicago Day Tribune 

India’s pro-business Modi storms to historic election win- Reuters 

Landslide win for Indian opposition party- USA Today

England

Congress admits India poll defeat- BBC

Modi wins landslide victory in Indian election- The Daily Star/Reuters

Narendra Modi wins India election with landslide victory- The Telegraph 

Narendra Modi’s landslide victory shatters Congress’s grip on India – The

Guardian

10 Simple Things to Plan for Successful TweetChat

1. #Hashtag

– Choose wisely. Register Hashtags on http://www.twubs.com  Or http://www.tweetchat.com  and share the link for participants to register. Use it in all your  online communications materials be it graphic or text.

 

2. Duration, Time & Day

-Select date &  time carefully. Choose after  traditional  working hours  of 10am-6pm.  Tweet chat  works well on Weekends. If it is an official chat for an organisation/brand it can be very well be accommodated into working hours.  The  duration can be of minimum 30 minutes and max an hour.

 

Tweetchat by Lawtoons

 

3. Topic

– Find a topical issues based on your brand/cause/organisation need & requirement.  The topic should evince interest among the social media users & participants.

 

4. Confirm Participants Or Panelists in Advance

-Make a list of invited participants or panelists in advance( twitter handle & 14 0 characters intro.). Get prior confirmation of their presence.  Look for subject experts  who has good social media presence.  If they are regular user of Twitter, then it is icing on the cake. Share the questions in advance with them so, they are better prepared.

 

5. Promotion of Tweet Chat  Through FB/Twitter/Web

-Design  Facebook event page with graphics with 5w and 1h (Why, What, Where, When, Who and How) . Also,  design  cover page of twitter in advance. Invite your friends & colleges. Schedule regular tweets in run up to the tweet chat through official twitter handle.  Identify twitter handles relevant to topic and DM them or mention them in your tweets and request for RT. If the panelists are on Facebook, tag them on event graphic with relevant information.  The website can create a separate page  with full information and relevant links.Create e-mailers for participation and sharing the news.

 

Tweet Chat - TheMeruki

 

 

6. Tweet Chat Moderator

– The role of tweet chat moderator is  just like  a virtual anchor who facilities the tweet chat conversation. Appreciate comments and add inputs to make the chat engaging. RT interesting Tweets. Also, share relevant facts & figure during the session. He /She must be social media savvy.

 

7. Tools to be Used

– Tweet Deck (www.tweetdeck.com) is must use for Tweet chat session. Moderator can handle multiple accounts on a single go. It gives you flexibility to have a separate column for Hashtags. You can easily monitor what participants are saying. It  also helpful in scheduling tweets in advance.

 

8. Thank You Shout for Supporters !

– Do not miss thanking each & everyone who participated in the tweet chat. Design a lovely graphics or publicly  acknowledge their support.  It does add positive value and long time engagement with the social media users.

 

9. Documentation

– Storify it. (www.storify.com)  Create an account on storify and make a tweet chat storyboard like Q1 and selected  answers from different panelists on Q1.

– use www.tweetbinder.com Or www.tweetreach.com to analysis the impact of tweet chat on analysis.

– It can be converted into a PDF and can be shared on official website.  Share it with all the participants.

Examples, Check : http://www.meruki.com/blog-general-elections-2014-litmus-test-for-social-media-twitter-chat

 

 10. Enjoy.

– Makes good connection, lot of insights and it does amplify & spread your reach online.

 

General Elections 2014 in India, A Litmus Test for Social Media

This  General Elections 2014  in India is going to be a litmus test for Social Media too, other than the traditional political rhetoric .  The expansion  & reach of social media platforms have grown phenomenally in last five years in India.  In  General Elections, held in year  2009,  social media has no influence & reach . In  General Election in 2014, social media is buzzword among politicians and electorate alike.  For many of the electoral battle in urban  India,  Face book likes and Tweets  will be a deciding factor in winning or losing of a candidate.

General Elections 2014- A social Media Litmus test

According to a report published in April 2013 by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and the Mumbai-based Iris Knowledge Foundation, Face book users will “wield a tremendous influence” over the results of the polls in 160 social media sensitive constituencies of India’s 543 parliamentary  constituencies.

 The two popular social media platforms, Face book, with over 90 million users  and twitter, a micro blogging site, has over 33 million  users in India. With less than two day to  go for General Elections 2014,  one of the big question remains how much social media  will influence the outcome of  elections in India ?

 Young & social media active voters in India 

General elections in India are BIG but this time it is also YOUNG.  According to Election  Commission of India,  the total electorate  is approx.  814.5 million compared to 713 million in 2009. This  marks an increase of more than 100 million electorate.

There has been a remarkable increase in the enrollment of electors in the age group of 18 to 19  years. Over 23 million electors are in this age group. Electors in the age group of 18 to 19 years now constitute 2.88% of total electors, against 0.75% in 2009.

So, there is major push from political parties to “Catch them Young”  voters,  and what better place than social media platforms.  According to  We are Social, over 213 million  Indians  are using the internet,  17  per cent of total population and approx 94  percent of these are on Face book, 78 per cent on Google plus,  and 67 per cent on Twitter. The Mobile internet penetration  has reached  to 11  per cent. The  young populace  are spending over 2 hours and 26 minutes  on an average on social media.

Political Parties Hitching to Social Media Bandwagon

The main two political parties- Bharitya Janta Party(BJP), the first mover on social media platform,  &  Congress  have invested highly in social media promotions & outreach in a bid to capture  the mind space of the voters. Also, Aam Aadmi Party with its unique social media strategy is making inroads to garner online attention. They are making the best use of social media platforms to woo urban & young voters active on social media platforms  from innovative  online promotion, to tweet chat, Google + hangouts, Facebook live, dedicated You Tube channels  to  WhatsApp, a mobile messenger service.

BJP’s prime ministerial candidate  Narendra Modi’s (NaMo  on social Media)  takes the lead in social media popularity chart, followed by former union minister Shashi Tharoor,  who was among the first to be active on social media platforms.   Now, there is a mad rush among  politicians to hitch the bandwagon of social media before it is too late.  Even, veteran leaders   Mulayam Singh Yadav  of Samajwadi Party and Lalu Prasad Yadav  of  Rashtriya Janta Dal , who once detested “Computer” and “English Language”  have bitten by the social media bug.

Today, young voters are social media active. They  are  voicing their opinion and canvassing for their popular leaders on social media platforms and influencing decisions within  their contacts,  household with a close reach to information on their laptops or on mobile handsets.

 Election Comission of India Gearing Up For Social Media 

Election Commission of India sensing the power  & impact of social media has already  issued  strict guidelines for using social media platforms  by political parties.  This is for the  first time, Election commission will keeping a close eye on the expenditure incurred on social media promotion.Mobile and internet technology is changing the face of election observation, too. ECI will also be live streaming the voting from selected polling stations in the country.

 

Social media in India is an evolving trend, and this general elections result might start a new discourse  for elections to come. However, it will be interesting to wait and watch, whether the popular  online sentiments, and the millions likes, thousands of share and  million tweets can translates into REAL VOTES  .

 

-Kumar Manish (@kumarmanish9)

** The article can be republished with due credit to  its original author.

 

Modi woos twitter celebrities to encourage youth for voter registration

Narendra Modi, one of the most popular politician on social media platforms in India has latched on to Twitter & the power of film celebrities, Indian cricketing legends and spiritual heads, to woo & encourage first-time voters to register for voting rights for upcoming general elections 2014. The elections will be litmus test for Modi to prove his popularity can convert into  votes to reach to the magical figure of 272 to form the government at the Centre.

According to Mint- “The first-time voters, estimated from the Census data stacks up to 149.36 million—the Election Commission estimates the total number of voters to be 725 million.”

 Modi in his first tweet mentioned “studies point to several ‘eligible’ voters who are yet unregistered. Are you one of them? Now is the time to get registered ASAP ! and followed by  this tweet ” I request prominent voices on social media to promote voter registration among youngsters & strengthen our democracy.Modi

Later, Modi  in his flurry of tweets mentioned twitter handle of prominent celebrities from Bollywood, like Amitabh Bachchan(6.30million),  Shah Rukh Khan(4.98million), Amir Khan(4.66 million), Salman Khan(4.88 million), Hrithik Roshan(4.08million), Deepika Padukone(4.18million),  cricketing legend, Sachin Tendular(3.66million), and spiritual head his Holiness Dalai Lama (7.71million) among others  and wrote  “lets encourage voter registration among 18-24 yr olds. Large number of them are unregistered. EC drive presently underway.”

Deepika

Modi has 2.34 million followers till now on Twitter. Recentky, Bharatiya Janta Party(BJP), the main opposition party in India anointed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as prime ministerial face for upcoming  election.

Interestingly, he in his tweet mentioned his bete-o-noire Prime Minister Manmohan Singh official PMO twitter handle to encourage young voters to participate in due Parliamentary election. Also, Shashi Tharroor (1.90million), Minister of State for Human Resource Development and one the most vocal critic of Modi on social media platforms was mentioned by Modi to woo youths for voter registration. It would be interesting to see whether,Modi’s MT  gets RTs by the likes of PMO and Shashi Tharror !

PMO

In the recent months, youths & their issues are focal point & recurring theme  of all Modi’s political speeches since his elevation as BJP Election Campaign Committee Chief. Recently during Rewari rally largely of ex-servicemen, Modi made an emotive appeal to  young audience to get themselves registered for voting rights and also encourage other in family, friends and relatives to do it. 

According to recently released report, published on Mint- “Show that the overwhelming demography of India is young. “The population of the country below 35 years of age is 51.8%. Of this 48.2% are women and 51.8% are men, 30.1% reside in urban areas and 69.9% is based in rural India. Significantly, the Census numbers estimate the population in the critical demography category of 18-35 years of age to be 31.3%%. Not only does this demography dominate spending in the rapidly growing consumer economy, it is also likely to be critical in the context of the general election due by May 2014.”

Politics & social media are getting entwined every other day. But , whether twitter RTs, and  MTs,  can translate into VOTE is the moot question !

Links for voter registration in India only :  Election Commission of India (http://eci.nic.in/eci_main1/index.aspx)

Start Young on BRTS Social Media Promotion

India is a young nation. More than half of its 1.2 billion people are under the age of 25, and two-thirds are below 35. According to an estimate, 85 percent of young India is connected through social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter. Therein lies an enormous opportunity for public transit authorities to reach out and get connected to this large, young audience through social media. High quality transport facilities are not enough – cities must effectively communicate about these systems to inform, attract, and encourage users.

iBus, the newly launched Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT) in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, has pioneered a new beginning in the promotion of public transport in India through social networking with Facebook. The iBus system is operated by Atal Indore City Transport Services Ltd (AICTSL), a Special Purpose Vehicle to operate and manage public transport services in the city of Indore.

The official Facebook page regularly posts news updates, maps of routes, fare collection information, photos of BRT passengers, and also replies to queries posted by followers. The administrator of iBus page encourages users to submit suggestions, ideas, complaints, and appreciation for the system.

ImageThis is a progressive and welcome development to popularize and promote public transport systems. Unfortunately, branding and marketing of public transport projects have been a low priority for Public Transport Authorities in India despite the immense value in creating a sense of ownership among bus users.

The next step would be having regular bus updates, detour information, promotional events, exciting contests, hangouts with officials, celebrity chats, and other online activities to keep the bus passengers and new audience engaged and informed.

MyBus utilizes social media and clear branding

MyBus BRTS, operated by Bhopal City Link Limited, started its trial run of BRT in June, 2013. It also has registered its social media presence by creating a dedicated Facebook page with its brand name MyBus. The Facebook page has regular updates on trial runs, seminars and conferences on BRT, awareness videos on BRT, and trial run photo essay.

However, it is still in its nascent stage. The page needs regular content which is informative, engaging, and empowering for the users. MyBus daily announcements on bus timings, routes, and other user-friendly information can be shared through its social media platforms. The content should be visually alluring making it easy to understand for others.

Popular BRTS Systems In Gujarat Have No Official Social Media Presence

The successful Janmarg (In English, “Peoples’ Way”), the BRT in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, which has won national and international accolade, has no official presence on social networking sites like Facebook and twitter.

Janmarg was launched in October, 2009, by Gujarat’s chief minister, Narendra Modi, but even after four years of Janmarg operation in Ahmedabad there is no dedicated Facebook Page and Twitter handle.

Though there is no official Janmarg Facebook page, an unofficial group handled by Raja Nageswaran, a BRT enthusiast from Ahmedabad, boasts more than 2,000 members. However, the group is not active as it used to be in the past. Nageswaran is hopeful and “willing to share administrative rights if the Ahmedabad BRT accepts the group and makes it an official one.”

Janmarg authorities needs to invest time and energy to come up with a robust official BRTS page for its users. This will immensely help in gathering user feedback on the existing system, and also help in maintaining the positive image of the BRTS. Janmarg’s official debut on social media platforms will only add to its popularity and wider outreach among young users.

The Way Ahead for BRT in India 

Social media is the fastest growing medium of mass communication in India and is considered reliable, as some say in India: “twitter is faster than earthquakes”. Public transport authorities like many other corporate brands should start utilizing this new medium to promote transportation systems like BRT, which is fast, efficient and reliable.

The power of social media is immense and it can create a healthy two-way communication between public transport authorities and public transit users. However, this approach requires a committed effort and consistency in sharing the information and updates on social media platforms, mostly on bus timing, change of routes, or any major construction work on the route.

Global examples like Rea Vaya Bus transit, a BRT system in Johannesburg, uses Facebook and Twitter extensively to promote closer relationships and information sharing with daily bus passengers. In India, Jaipur Traffic Police are making the best use of social media platforms like Facebook to keep the citizens updated on traffic situations in the city. Most of the information shared is on real time basis.

The costs involved to manage social media platforms are miniscule as compared to expensive traditional media, such as print, TV, or large billboards.

Government agencies in India, especially cities with upcoming and running BRT systems should start investing their time and energy to popularize BRT initiatives through well-planned social media strategy to attract the urban and upwardly mobile city dwellers in addition to providing a world class BRT infrastructure.

*Originally this post was published on July 14th on the Sustainable Cities Collective.

* The post also got published on The City Fix