Social media platforms Facebook and Twitter seem to be passé for political communication, as the State unit of BJP has decided to go big on WhatsApp for the 2018 Assembly polls.
It launched a WhatsApp feeder channel (9483900150), to which BJP workers and sympathisers can subscribe for daily updates from the State unit. Social media activists were asked to use the content that will be provided to them through the channel to counter arguments of the Opposition on social media.
Balaji Srinivas, State convenor, BJP social media cell, told The Hindu that they already had over 1,400 WhatsApp groups that will increase by many folds in the run-up to the polls. This, apart from extensive use of Facebook and Twitter, he said. “Each Assembly segment will be armed with a social media cell of 15 people,” he said.
The focus on WhatsApp is a replication of the model successfully adopted by the BJP in the recent Uttar Pradesh polls, where over 30 lakh voters were part of the BJP WhatsApp feeder channels, said Amit Malaviya, in charge of BJP national Information & Technology. He has set a target of 30 lakh for the Karnataka Assembly polls too. “We learnt from our experience that Twitter is good for agenda setting, and Facebook and WhatsApp for personal communication,” he said , adding that as per assessment, social media could be an influencer in 155 of the 224 Assembly segments at the BJP Social Media Conclave on Sunday, where over 3,000 social media activists of the BJP participate.
Only less than a handful of the 3,000 were women, making it almost an all men force. Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who inaugurated the conclave, complained there were very few women among the ranks. “Women too have a way of getting across to people,” she said.