Social media wings give candidates ‘mass’ appeal
KOCHI: Last week, a video went viral on social media. It was the launch montage of MB Rajesh, CPM candidate in Thrithala. Shot like a “mass” hero’s introduction scene in a high-voltage commercial flick, it showed Rajesh stepping out of his red jeep holding an umbrella.Cut to Kalamssery in Ernakulam. Here, CPM released the “launch teaser” for its candidate P Rajeev. It shows two youngsters in a local tea shop with the evergreen romantic number ‘Anuragini..Itha en...’ playing in the background. The teaser is inspired from the movie ‘Oru Yamandan Prema Kadha’.
The two promos point to the efforts of the social media wing and creative teams of various parties in developing content that appeals to and attracts the electorate. Of particular interest is the strategy CPM employed in the two constituencies. In Thrithala, where Rajesh is pitted against sitting MLA V T Balram, himself a social media star, they came up with a mass theme, while in Kalamassery, they went for an ‘uber-cool’ theme for Rajeev.
“We know that a lot of people are using social media. As far as CPM is concerned, we are happy to see youngsters and tech-savvy college students coming up with montage, videos, posters and memes supporting LDF candidates. Instead of a dedicated team, a few members from each candidate’s general team handle and monitor his/her social media campaign,” said V Sivadasan, who coordinates CPM’s social media and IT cell.
As for Congress’ social media campaign, the party has given top priority to WhatsApp, followed by Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter in that order. “We aim to circulate short messages through social media platforms, especially WhatsApp, for making people aware of what they have been denied by this government.
Facebook and Instagram are used for sharing candidates’ posters and videos. Through Twitter, we mainly aim to discuss national issues and political developments,” said Adv Mathew Antony, AICC national executive committee member, who is coordinating the party’s social media activities.
BJP is pitching the idea of a ‘New Kerala’ in the assembly polls. Its cyber wing is focusing on a campaign which can take this idea to the grassroots. “We have launched ‘Digital Conclaves’ that can be watched in real-time from official social media handles. The line-up includes the party’s top national and state leaders. This is one way of promoting the Centre’s good work among BJP workers in the state,” said S Jayasankar, state-level convener of BJP’s social media activities.
The general impression is that while LDF and Sangh supporters are more aggressive on social media, Congress workers are comparatively less ‘confrontational’. However, Mathew disagrees. “Congress is known for its tolerant ways and the party follows the path of non-violence. We do not believe that cyberspace is a place where one can abuse/humiliate anyone using a fake ID. It does not mean that we are not aggressive. We just interpret ‘aggression’ differently,” he said.