Painting walls and vacant buildings across the streets with revolutionary slogans and imageries of prominent figures - a tried, tested and fine-tuned means by political parties to reach the masses - seems outmoded, or at least the state unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), assumes so. Instead, the party thinks the Facebook ‘wall’ will be a better place to register its political and social messages, and to use it as a relationship building platform is the need of the hour.
Reflecting the changing face of the CPM in Kerala, the party state unit has embarked on a mission to explore the new media, especially Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, to reach out to the the masses, especially the youth. The state unit, which started its official Facebook page a month ago, now has close to 8,000 followers or likes.
“The party began exploring the new media prospects following a decision of the state committee this January. The district committees and other local units had also been asked to be web and social media savvy,” a top party functionary said.
“Though the target in social media is relatively small, it is an affluent section significant enough to influence electoral wins,” he said.
The party had recently held a state-level workshop in the capital on the use of social media. It witnessed around 650 participants being taught by experts on the technicalities, dos and don’ts, ethics and other aspects of social media life.
The district units have also been asked to hold training camps for local units and some districts such as Thiruvananthapuram have already held workshops and opened own Facebook pages.
“Social media has a greater influence on the masses,” said Elamaram Kareem, state secretariat member and former Industries Minister.
“Social networking sites, especially Facebook, will help us to reach out to a significant population of urban masses, especially young professionals and students, who are not great fans of the conventional media,” said Kareem, who is active on Facebook.
Other prominent leaders active on Facebook are state secretariat member and former Minister Thomas Isaac, P Rajeev and MB Rajesh MP.
“I find Facebook useful for two counts - one as a forum for ideological debate and more importantly I could give updates on my activities as an MP,” Rajesh said.