ArpitGarg's Weblog

An opinion of the world around me

Why Elections in India will not be won on Social media, Not Yet

leave a comment »

facebook_elections_indiaWhen Modi won elections in 2014, we noticed something new. Modi was miles ahead of his counterparts when it came to social media. We attributed the spread of huge Modi wave to social media. Some even thought that elections henceforth will be decided on social media. Bihar elections demolished it all. Social media was hinting at NDA victory. The results were upside down. What went wrong?

My take is, elections in India will not be won on social media anytime soon. The depth and diversity of internet is still languishing at the bottom. Apathy and social ostracization is still rampant in our country.

Let me explain by relating what happened in my home state UP. When Mayawati won historic 2008 elections, people were stumped the same. All surveys went haywire. Even the pan shop talks betrayed the results. Why? Analysis revealed that Mayawati voters came more from backward castes. Given the non-inclusive growth in India, these people lie at the bottom of social and income levels. At pan shop talks, they hesitate speaking their minds for fear of social ostracization by affluents of the society. Even in surveys, wary by years of apathy, they don’t openly support Mayawati, a Dalit. This ends up in wrong calculations. I call it the ‘Vocal Effect’.

Supporters of lower caste parties/leaders are less vocal. Supporters of forward caste parties/leaders are more vocal. Same behavior has moved to social media. Neither the spread of internet is across castes, nor are all of us vocal. Hence we always find Modi and AAP supporters more vocal on social media. Recently Congress people have also joined in, but are again not that vocal due to fear of being trolled for past scams.

Imagine what will happen if you comment on facebook that you support Lalu Yadav or for that matter Congress. You will face nasty comments, will be lambasted. Now imagine if you were a Dalit and posted status, “I support Mayawati”. We all know what humiliation will be meted out in comments section. So people choose to remain silent. I would have chosen silence too.

Hence I feel it’s still a long way to go when social media discourse could give clear directions. It would require equal penetration of internet. It would happen when backward castes are no longer made to feel backward. It would happen when social ostracization and social media trolling ends. Not anytime soon.

Advertisements

Written by arpitgarg

November 26, 2015 at 5:02 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: