With social media such as Twitter and Facebook expected to play a major role in influencing the urban electorate in more than 150 Lok Sabha constituencies across India, political leaders such as Narendra Modi are on a war footing to increase their followers online.
But a study recently conducted by a new media technology firm, www.nextbigwhat.com, revealed that more than 70% of the followers of Narendra Modi are ‘fake followers.‘ This has cast a dark shadow over the credibility of this ballooned ‘ tweets’ and ‘ likes’ in social media in favour of leaders like Modi.
Apart from English, B J P Campaign Committee Chairman and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has recently started Twitter accounts in Indian languages such as Hindi, Marathi, Urdu, Oria, Bungla, Malayalam, Tamil and Kannada aiming to reach deep into UP, Maharashtra , West Bengal and down South . It is reported that the IT cell of B J P has been working overnight to create ‘lakhs’ of followers in the new regional language accounts of Narendra Modi.
Latest figures on Twitter show that Narendra Modi has leapfrogged Shashi Tharoor, Union Minister ,with 20,04,650 followers to rank at the top among politicians on Twitter. If the 70 % fans are ‘ bogus’ on Modi’s fan page on Twitter, more than four lakh accounts have not tweeted even once, according to the study using latest software technology !
Not Modi alone is plagued with the virus of fake fans. Other players as well , including, Shashi Tharoor are bearing the burden of it, but Modi with 70 % fake followers and 4.13 lakh ‘ inactive ‘ accounts could be called a ‘ ballooned twitter’ likely to burst out if more social media fan pressure is applied.
In last April, a joint study conducted by IRIS Knowledge Foundation and Internet and Mobile Association of India had revealed that there are 160 most-vulnerable, high-impact constituencies out of the total 543, which are likely to be influenced by social media during the next general elections likely to be held in 2013 fall or early 2014 . This has prompted many political leaders with Narendra Modi in the lead to plough the hitherto uncultivated new gold mine of public opinion- the Social Media.
According to the survey, Maharashtra has the maximum 21 high impact constituencies followed by Gujarat ( 17) U P ( 14), Karnataka (12) , Tamilnadu(12), Andra(11) , Kerala ( 10 ), M P ( 9) , Delhi (7), Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab ( 5 each) , Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand and West Bengal ( 4 each).