Social media to have little influence on Indian elections: Report

Are we over estimating the influence of social networking websites on the Indian elections?

By Kul Bhushan Published Date
15 - Apr - 2014
| Last Updated
15 - Apr - 2014
Social media to have little influence on Indian elections: Report

There have been several reports and surveys that have said the social networking websites are going to have a major impact on the Lok Sabha poll results. A report says political parties are spending about 2-5% on boosting their online presence and reach out to youth. However, a new survey by Pew Research Center gives contradictory views on the matter.

The survey says about 16 % of Indians use the Internet and 50 % of them use social networking sites. And just 35 % use these platforms to discuss politics. The survey adds social media users primarily use the networks to stay in touch with family and friends. About 87% of users use it share or watch music and videos.

The survey further points out more than 77% use cell phones, which users use for texting and sharing images. Just 8% of them share political views via cellphones.

In a related report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), political parties are spending about 2-5% of their budget on boosting their online presence.

The IAMAI report said, "Based on the number of eligible voters, data of actual voter turnout from the Election Commission of India and field interviews, the report estimates that there could be a vote swing of 3%-4% in 24 states - states where internet users are sizeable. The vote swingers can be predominantly young men and non-working women whose affiliation towards social media is high."

Recently, an IAMAI report said Facebook could have a huge influence on the results of the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections. “Between 2004 and 2009, the voting population went up from 670 million to 720 million. The number is expected to increase to 800 million by the time the country goes to the polls, a greater number of voters than ever before will be 25 years or younger,” said the study.

A recent Hindu report detailed how political parties are using social networking sites

Do you also think the 'impact' of social networking websites on the Indian elections is just a myth? Let us know your views in the comments section below or @1987kulbhushan

Source: Times of India