Narendra Modi: The Rising Social Media Star, And What Other Politicians Should Learn

Posted on September 2, 2012 in Politics

By Sumedha Bharpilania:

Mike Testing 1,2,3, Sound Check, Drum roll:
Meet Mr Narendra Modi, the current Chief Minister of Gujarat whose website describes him as ‘a trend-setter for Indian Politicos be it governance, development, technology or social media presence‘. Meet Mr Narendra Modi, India’s most active politician on the social media scene. Meet Mr Narendra Modi, India’s first politician who wants to hang out with you on Google+. Considering the above facts, is it not legit to label him as the coolest politician the country has ever seen?

This Google+ Hangout was announced by Mr Modi on his website, earlier this August, where people who were interested in being a part of the discussion were asked to send in their questions on the topic of ‘Strong and Glorious India Long Cherished by Swami Vivekananda’. It is an initiative of the ‘Vivekananda Cell of sports, youth & cultural activities department of the state government‘ and will have actor Ajay Devgn playing the host.The questions, most of which did not directly concern the topic were sure screened before they could go up, but they definitely showed how willing Modi was to interact with people unlike his counterparts who tend to play truant when it comes to speaking to the citizens directly. It is interesting to note that this was planned a lot before President Obama suddenly showed up on Reddit without notifying the media on the 29th of August and took to answering questions on diverse issues from the users of the website, so no one can really say that Modi was following in the footsteps of the US President.

Mr Modi can be aptly described as a social media star. He is the most followed Indian politician on social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter. He has an extremely active Facebook page with close to 7 lakh followers and has close to 9 lakh followers on Twitter with some 1500 tweets. He had his official YouTube channel way back in 2007, a lot before most of us were hooked on to the website. Despite the several controversies he may have been surrounded by, there is no doubting the fact that this man has been blessed with a lot of brains. Most of our politicians are not really aware of the power of social media to garner support and help in increasing one’s popularity. It is a massive means by virtue of which one can connect with the ‘youth’, as they constitute a majority of the users of social networking websites. It is to be noted that users of social media happen to be very loyal to the same, because they constantly check their Facebook/Twitter accounts and keep updating everyone with everything that has been happening in their lives. This has turned out to be very helpful for people like Narendra Modi to understand what people want and strive to redress their grievances and win their votes. This hangout will also majorly help him gather the votes of the several youngsters who follow him, as the assembly elections are approaching.

Modi was already a very amiable figure among the people of Gujarat, owing to the massive amount of development the place has undergone under his regime. Attaining the support of the younger sections of the society will ensure that he commands a lot of power for a very long period of time. His ability to understand the fact that people want politicians who can engage with them and who are not afraid of answering questions is commendable. Modi clearly has joined the likes of Barack Obama and created a political brand for himself on the social networking scene. Moreoever, it is only human to have a liking for someone whom one can easily approach, Modi’s easy availability and the fact that he is very active in connecting with people only adds to his charm. Also, maintaining good relations with and roping in an eminent Bollywood star to host a hangout for him is an extremely clever strategy on part of Mr Modi as it will only help him get more folks to watch it and engage with him.

Funny how our Prime Minister, who does not really believe in voicing his opinions needed a bikini clad Poonam Pandey to welcome him when he graced Twitter with his presence and could not even manage 2 lakh followers despite the position he holds. He may be the Prime Minister of our country, but Mr Singh’s Twitter account is sad where all he seems to be doing is to defend himself and his party. Our politicians really need to learn a lesson or two from Mr Modi, as far as engaging with the commoners is concerned. We also have no dearth of ministers who are obsessed with curbing people’s freedom of expression on the web because of their own paranoia. They need to understand that censoring the internet will not help in any way, it will in fact only add to their already existing unpopularity. So here’s a big thumbs up to Mr Narendra Modi, he knows what he is doing and for a change, he is getting it all right.