HYDERABAD: Data experts have been saying that elections in Telangana will be fought and won with data. And with social media in the centre of everything, they might not be wrong after all.
For instance, consider this: In the past few weeks, at least seven TRS leaders have joined newer ‘vernacular’ social media apps and made their presence felt with the ‘non-english speaking’ social media user base. The leaders’ new favourite application is Sharechat. The application has been named by the Election Commission as one of a few social media platforms that can help it regulate political campaigning.
But why are these leaders, especially popular ones such as members of Parliament Kavitha Kalvakuntla and Asaduddin Owaisi, joining this platform, despite being hugely popular on FB and Twitter. With over 4.1k followers in just 20 days, Kavitha for instance has relatively gained much more than she has on her FB and Twitter handles.
Though with a limited following, Kavitha, in this short span, has managed to garner over 1.4 million views and 4,700 interactions on an average on Sharechat, thereby performing better than her FB page with 833k likes. Some of her posts on the applications garnered 97k views. They were shared 169 times on other applications such as WhatsApp which are known to amplify the reach of any post.
Similarly, Asaduddin Owaisi, who is merely few days old on the website has already gotten 5.8k views with a single post. The major reason for various political parties’ gravitating towards regional language applications seems to be because it has managed to get the masses hooked.
For instance, both India-made Sharechat and Chinese-app Helo, with its all-Telugu interface has been a hit among netizens of Telugu States, especially among the non-English speaking populace in tier 2, 3, 4 cities.
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For Telangana this is quite significant as except for Hyderabad, which is tier-1, and Warangal, which is tier 2, all other cities and town in the State are considered as tier-3 and tier-4 where social media is relatively newer and more local in flavour.
And the hyper localisation has allowed for these new social media users to not only consume Telugu content but generate the same in terms of statuses, videos, audio clippings and gifs. On other platforms such as FB, Instagram and Whatsapp, the same formate content is shared and circulated, but in English.
In both these applications, the upcoming elections are the top topics being discussed. On Helo, even if no political leaders are not officially there, respective party supporters have been active in discussing the polls.
As expected, political parties have not failed to capitalize on this. TRS’ official profile, which has been active for 5 months, has the highest number of followers (65k), followed by Congress (13k) in 4 months on Sharechat.