Social Media Influencers
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LOK ISSUES

‘Social Media Influencers Will Soon Dominate Political Campaigning’

Social Media Influencers

Atul Kushwaha, an influencer based in Lucknow, feels the role of social media in political campaigns will continue to rise with each passing election. His views:

There are more than 800 million internet users in India and the use of YouTube and Instagram in the country is the highest in the world. This has forced all the political parties to integrate social media and influences in their election strategies. This fact was best publicized a few months back when none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited and interacted with the top influencers at National Creator Awards.

Clearly, the Prime Minister understands the power and popularity of these content generators among young voters of the country. Today, most political leaders are eager to give podcast interviews to these individual influencers because of their reach. Social media platforms are increasingly dominating the public debates.

Probably Mr Modi was one of the first political leaders to understand their importance. Remember in 2023, he met Haryana’s social media fitness sensation Ankit Baiyanpuria and encouraged him to participate in the Shramdaan campaign Swachhta hi Seva. The Prime Minister also shared a video of him in one of his X posts that included tips about physical fitness and wellbeing.

Thanks to the Internet penetrating into the remotest parts of India through mobile phone data, these influencers can boast of a better connect with the masses than a political leader sitting in New Delhi. Social media has not only revolutionized the way political campaigns are conducted but it has become an integral part of electioneering, allowing political parties to connect with voters on a more personal and direct level. This clearly reflects the evolving and increasing role of influencers with each passing election. In future, their role will only rise farther.

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Social media influencers not only contribute to the promotion of political parties or ideologies but also shape public opinion at election time. Besides relying on the age-old method of door-to-door campaigning, political parties are now shifting ample focus on influencers as they have the art of reaching out and influencing people in subtle ways.

They know the pulse of their viewers and followers as they get immediate feedback on their contents in the form of ‘likes’, ‘Thumbs-Ups’ or comments. On the basis of such feedback, they tailor their content and forms of communication. Their informal conversations can make an idea go viral from cities to towns to villages. And their numbers and reach are in instant public domain, unlike the viewership ratings of mainstream media. Social media influencers have emerged as one of the most effective mediums in creating buzz on political issues or candidates and even altering the mindset of potential voters.

Another important point is their neutrality. While mainstream media is seen as partisan towards the ruling party of the day, the influencers carry their preferences on their sleeves. That is what has driven many opposition parties towards individual content generators and their channels. Here, the fight is out in the open not shrouded behind the veil of ‘fearless journalism’. And I can safely predict, looking at the current scenario, that these influencers would soon become the most trusted and valued foot soldiers of all political parties.

As told to Rajat Rai

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