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Yashvir Singh Director, Election Commission of India Social Media and Electoral Processes First Annual EMB Dialogue Stockholm 7 th December,

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Presentation on theme: "Yashvir Singh Director, Election Commission of India Social Media and Electoral Processes First Annual EMB Dialogue Stockholm 7 th December,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Yashvir Singh Director, Election Commission of India Social Media and Electoral Processes First Annual EMB Dialogue Stockholm 7 th December, 2011

2 “Democracy, disciplined and enlightened, is the finest thing in the world” - Mahatma Gandhi

3 Areas Covered Impact of Social Media on Electoral Processes How we are using the Social Media in India Reactions (so far) and the Future Expectations

4 Factors affecting Voter Participation Age Marital status Education Economic status Residential mobility Social connectedness Religious involvement Awareness

5 Case of the Disinterested Youth Global concern about their lower participation Studies in UK, Canada, India suggest this In developing countries, youth represent substantial population - a question mark on democratic legitimacy If voting does not settle as early habit, potential for later date participation is more remote Evidence that younger groups losing and even never gaining habit of voting – consequently carry lack of interest in to later life

6 Impact of Social Media Acts as a bridge between the youth and the EMB to fill up the void of information and knowledge. Acts as a bridge between the youth and the EMB to fill up the void of information and knowledge. Real – time transmission of election details, registration status, candidate profiles and important dates. Real – time transmission of election details, registration status, candidate profiles and important dates. Information is presented in most presentable of forms. Youth gets what he wants. After all, there is a mammoth difference in likes and dislikes of a 18 year old and a 60 year old. Information is presented in most presentable of forms. Youth gets what he wants. After all, there is a mammoth difference in likes and dislikes of a 18 year old and a 60 year old. Use by an EMB only adds to the trust and veracity of contents Use by an EMB only adds to the trust and veracity of contents

7 Impact of Social Media – Examples The revolutions in some of the non-democratic nations in the Arab region and the mass mobilizations against existing regimes were reported to be triggered by Social Media The “Obama Campaign” had gathered followers through Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Mobile messaging

8 Why EMBs need Social Media? General Decline in participation, more consistently in recent years – average turnout 76.4% – average turnout 77.1% – 74.8% – 69.7% Standard deviation down from 3% to 2.5% - suggestive of not much variation among nations

9 Why EMBs need Social Media? – Viewpoints Conservative point: voters participation, especially turn out at booths is a political agenda EMBs are umpires, should not care if any one played or not, any one is in audience or not Most EMBs have gone past this debate. If not, they need to do so soon Voters participation initiatives cannot be half- hearted - should be the focus of EMBs

10 Social Media and Electoral Processes

11 E-Media Text ads – Ads, Keywords, Relevancy Display ads – Rich media ads, Keywords, Placements, Websites Mobile devices – Connect with customers on the go million active Internet mobile users in India, as of March 2011 Social Networking Sites – Facebook (ECI is already active) YouTube – 30.2 million users watch videos online Blogs – Personal, non-commercial, updated often, text, image, links Micro-blogs - Twitter – Direct and cost-effective

12 How Indians Engage with Social Media

13 Internet and Social Media 112 Million Internet users in India 80% of the Internet users are eligible to vote The break-up of these 80% users is as follows: 74% constitute youth 26% are others (Women, Older people and Men)

14 Indian Voter – Internet and Social Media 48% of the Internet users are from less than 1 million population towns 56% spend more than 2 hours on Internet as against 1 hour on TV, everyday. 28 million Indians are on Social Media platforms like Facebook, Orkut, Google+ and Twitter They are the ones who have created tipping points for public interest campaigns like IAC

15 ECI Initiatives NVD, 2011 organised at all Polling Stations across the country, empowering 5.2 million youth in the age-group years Facebook account of Commission opened Comprehensive Systematic Voters Education & Electoral Participation (SVEEP) Campaign for Summary revision launched nation-wide New interactive website of Commission is ready for launch Guidelines to CEOs for SVEEP Plan for NVD, 2012 issued

16 The Indian Experience Facebook Account exists, but is not very active. Workshop on “Social Media for Voter Participation” organized on 24 th November, Experts from the fields of Training, Advertising, Social Media, Academics, Youth Organizations, etc. deliberated. Unanimity on the issue of engaging Social Media by ECI Objectives of engagement spelt out

17 Objectives of Social Media Campaign Ensuring ethical voting, free from inducement Ensuring 100% Registration Maximizing Voter Participation

18 Outcome of Workshop A Core Team of experts constituted. The Team has recommended that the following Social Media may be actively used:  YouTube  Facebook  Twitter  Google+ A formal launch of the Social Media Campaign on YouTube and Facebook shortly, in December, 2011

19 Expected Reactions Greater engagement of electorate, specifically the youth, with EMB initiatives Improved online registration of eligible youth Healthy interaction leading to effective and more dissemination of information Exchange of ideas and experiences of electorate to be used as inputs for further improvements in electoral processes A huge platform for discussion on electoral reforms

20 Conclusion Social Media emerging as a dynamic option to maximize the outreach of the efforts/ campaigns of EMBs and is an unexplored tool which can be harnessed to engage youth and motivate them to participate in democratic electoral processes

21 Points to Ponder……… How EMBs can turn the Social Media followers into real-world active voters, while engaging them by means of targeted campaigns (on Social Media)? How to create a bond between the online followers of Social Media and the EMBs - that generates eagerness to meet in real life (to turn up at the Polling Booth and participate in electoral process)?

22 Greater Participation for a Stronger Democracy

23 THANKS


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