Political parties in India are relying more on social media ahead of the 2014 election as a way of increasing voter support, even though politicians in general do not expect such efforts to significantly influence election results.
Parties are trying to ride the digital wave by conducting workshops to teach leaders and foot soldiers how to improve engagement on websites such as Facebook and Twitter.
The country of 1.2 billion people had around 165 million Internet users as of March, the third-largest in the world, according to data from India’s telecommunications regulator. But the number of social media users is likely to grow to about 80 million by mid-2014, a report released in February said.
For the Bharatiya Janata Party, India’s main opposition party, social media is helping as an “accelerator” in conveying their messages to the public.
“I don’t call it a game changer, but an accelerator in this election … it’s definitely setting a narrative, it is influencing a lot of people,” Arvind Gupta, head of the BJP’s IT division, said in an interview.