• MSN Elections 2014 Battle for India
Sat, 17 May 2014 11:00:00 GMT | By IANS

Laud or lambast: Social networks do it first this election

The country's first 'Twitter elections' was what we saw recently showing that a young and tech-savvy India is having active political conversations underscoring the role played by social networks


Laud or lambast: Social networks do it first this election (© Reuters)

New Delhi: Be it BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's victory tweet, he meeting his mother to seek blessings, or Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's unmistakable 'grin' while taking 'responsibility' for his party's defeat - various social media websites, with their real-time updates, gave the users an opportunity to both, laud and lambast the leaders.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader's tweet asserting the party's victory was retweeted more than 50,000 times within hours.

"India has won! Good Days ahead," Modi tweeted Friday.

According to micro-blogging site Twitter: "It (Modi's tweet) is the fastest to reach 10,000, 20,000, 40,000 and 50,000 respectively."

"As of 5:30 pm, total number of elections-related tweets over the past 24 hours was 1.561 million, and total reach of elections-related tweets over the past 24 hours was 8.698 billion," a statement from Twitter said.

Soon after the mandate became clear, Rahul Gandhi and his mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi accepted responsibility of the party's poor performance.

While he accepted responsibility, the infamous "grin" soon came under attack by Twitteratti and Facebook users, who even went to the extent of calling him a "fool".

"Why is Rahul grinning like a fool? He has no sense of occasion -- apart from other kinds of good sense that he lacks," a Twitter user wrote.

Another user called the grin "disturbing".

Another Twitter user wrote: "Was Rahul stoned when he gave his 'concession' speech, I mean I'm trying to explain that smile somehow.."

With Internet users to reach 243 million by 2014, social media played a vital role this election season by being one of the first mediums to reach out to those who did not have the luxury to watch the results for the 2014 General Elections.

"During this election Twitter has become a vital source of daily information, conversation and communication for citizens and political leaders alike," Raheel Khursheed, news, politics and government head of TwitterIndia, told IANS.

"In fact, politics has one of the highest engagement scores on our platform as people not only discover interesting content across the political spectrum, but they can also connect, discuss and debate with other people with the same (or different) political views. This has truly been the country's first Twitter election," he added.

Social networking site Facebook gave its users a platform to express themselves through jokes, posters and blackened profile pictures, along with sarcastic and ecstatic expressions.

"A sad day for India. If you are looking for bigotry, you don't have to look far. You just have to look around you," someone posted.

These social engagements are pointing at an active trend where young and technology savvy India is having active political conversations, and political parties.

A few of the top trending topics included #CongratsNaMo, #IndiaDecides2014 and #Modiheadsto7RCR.

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