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Lok Sabha Election 2019: Congress' presence on social media has risen but BJP still dominates online space

On Friday, Twitter presented some numbers which said that the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections 2019 was abuzz with 45.6 million tweets recorded from India and across the world. Further, they showed a timeline of conversations around the elections.

 Lok Sabha Election 2019: Congress presence on social media has risen but BJP still dominates online space

As expected, conversations picked up momentum when the elections were announced and campaigns began. Then, conversations peaked due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's #MainBhiChowkidar campaign that was the top trend worldwide, not just in India. This trend stayed at the top as even common people started responding to it. Later, Congress, announcing their NYAY scheme, managed to gain some attention and curiosity on social media.

However, Twitter released a couple of more telling insights around conversations happening.

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In the top-mentioned leaders of India, Rahul Gandhi, whose ‘re-energised social media avatar’ occupied considerable column inches and digital bandwidth, was shown at the fourth position. Not only was Modi at the top, but the top three positions were all occupied by BJP leaders. Rahul, the national president of a national party, was behind even Yogi Adityanath, a state’s chief minister.

Much has been said and written about the Congress and its ecosystem’s strategy of pushing ‘real’ issues to replace the national security narrative that Modi has set. However, the top subject, as far as election conversations go, is national security.

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Social media is an important battleground, especially during elections. Modi, an early mover into social media, is in a different league. Congress and its ecosystem earlier scoffed at social media’s influence, only to learn it the hard way.

Until Modi came along, social media was mostly flippant entertainment, even for politicians. However, as I have written earlier, it was Modi who took ‘social networking’ and made it ‘social media’. He changed the game earlier and set the narrative. Soon after a string of election losses, Congress understood it was completely unaware of the pulse of the nation’s aspirational, upwardly mobile youth.

Rahul Gandhi suddenly started a tweeting frenzy. A publicity blitz about Rahul’s ‘new avatar’ followed. He became shriller by the day with his chor and other barbs. Moreover, smart and sarcastic is not what Rahul is in his public appearances. Hence, there was a lack of authenticity too. The law of diminishing returns hit his social media presence soon.

In stark contrast, Modi’s social media presence has only grown. He has understood that the messaging on social media is not merely about his hardcore supporters. It is the common people that need to be addressed and it is they who tilt the momentum.

On social media, if the product is flawed, the packaging won’t salvage it. Rahul’s social media team is finding this out while on his opposite aisle, Modi is dominating the election campaign and is setting the narrative.

Your guide to the latest election news, analysis, commentary, live updates and schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 543 constituencies for the upcoming general elections.

Updated Date: Apr 13, 2019 16:45:53 IST

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