Since its inception, the internet has transformed the lives of human beings. On every front, the use of social media and internet has deeply affected the human life. The Internet has also helped in connecting the world and making it more compact. It’s extremely easy now to communicate with the masses from one point and propagate your message.
Considering the strength of this drastically powerful tool and increasing number of internet and social media users, no wonder that the politicians have also started to opt for the internet and various new generation technologies such as data science and data mining for their electioneering operations. The whole face of election campaigning has started to become more and more digital as it’s not only cost-friendly but also highly effective.
The introduction of Big Data has also allowed us to dig deep into the information of the internet users and building an effective strategy for the campaigning. As people are placing their views quite aggressively on social media platforms, targeting the specific audience to spread the message of the campaign is easy. Campaign runners have also started to take the help of social media information to gain access to the information about what people are thinking about various initiatives of the government.
We witnessed the direct involvement of internet in social campaigning during the Brexit initiative, started by Pro-Brexit leader Nigel Farage, who with the help of Alexander Nix and his Cambridge Analytica changed the entire picture of European politics when most of the British people voted for Britain’s exit from the European Union. This was a shock for all of those who were unaware of the power of new age internet and tools.
But this was not over for Cambridge Analytica as they were preparing for the subsequent US Presidential Elections in 2016, in which they were working for the Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump. This was again highly unexpected result, but the information released after the elections showed us what internet, data, and information can do to take out fruitful results in any campaigning.
In India, too, 2014 General Elections were dually fought, on the ground as well as on various social media platforms. We witnessed the massive use of social media and the internet during the general elections.
So, why politicians are finding the internet the best tool to get better results in campaigning? Although there are various answers for this, few most important once are,
Since a long time, campaigners were looking for a cost-efficient tool, which can help them in spreading their message to the masses in less span of time and still can generate good results. The internet has opened a completely new path for them. Fundraising, when it comes to campaigning, is the most difficult job and internet can provide a more cost-friendly option for all in order to propagate the message. Barack Obama’s election campaigning in 2008 US Presidential Election is one of the big examples of it.
Improved technologies such as data analysis, data mining as well as data science have allowed us to look deep into one’s ideological inclination. Valid data analysis of the information we receive from the social media platforms has enabled the companies to target the interested audience to get better results. Many data scientists are working hard to procure informative results from the data they receive from public profiles as well as from everything they post and react on the internet.
The versatility of the internet has also increased its reach. It has now become highly easy to spread your policies among the people in a visually attractive way through various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and many others.
Certainly, the internet has not been the only game-changer in election campaigning. However, it has transformed the way campaigning was being held earlier. While the use of information of internet users is absolutely a point of debate, it does not diminish the possibilities of complete transformation of political campaigning through the internet.