February 7, 2017 3:16:13 am
MAKING ITS debut in Punjab polls this time, the ‘Facebook Live’ feature on social networking site has literally changed the dynamics of campaigning for parties. From rallies to nukkad meetings, roadshows to personal interaction with voters, each party did live webcasting on Facebook.
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While earlier, parties tried to ensure maximum physical gathering at rallies, etc, these polls saw parties having an additional target of reaching at least 1-2 lakh viewers through Facebook live per webcast. Even invitations were posted with a special mention that those who cannot come can watch in live.
AAP, which is being dismissed as social media hype by Congress CM candidate Captain Amarinder Singh, has claimed that it was the “original idea” of their MP Bhagwant Mann to campaign live which has been followed by other parties seeing its massive success.
Abhinav Budhiraja, social media head of AAP, said, “It was actually our MP Bhagwant Mann, who started using Facebook Live, interacting with people directly. Seeing its massive reach and success, other parties followed us. During the entire campaign, AAP Punjab went live almost 20 times a day and response was huge. ”
With 17.50 lakh ‘likes’ on his Facebook page, his webcast from Sukhbir Singh Badal’s bastion, Jalalabad, ticked 1.13 lakh views, from Captain’s bastion, Patiala, his video got 2 lakh views and another Jalalabad video got 2.07 lakh views. With 24.87 lakh likes on his page which are 7 lakh more than that of Mann, the webcast videos of Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal managed a little over one lakh views. For instance, his rally from Lambi had 1.42 lakh views but those from Muktsar and Jalalabad had 21,000 and 37,000 views, respectively.
However, Parminder Singh Brar, SAD social media head, claimed that Sukhbir’s page had maximum engagement numbers throughout the campaign. “We engaged with more than a million viewers through this tool. It might prove to be a game changer in youth voting,” he said.
‘Live on Wheels’- Mann’s another ’emotional’ video, shot in his car telling people that how he is ‘living’ in his Innova touring state 24×7, got whopping 7.24 lakh views. His videos from Bikram Singh Majithia’s bastion Majithia ticked 4.92 lakh views.
Congress too extensively used the this technology. When the party burnt ‘Chhitta Raavan’- the effigies of Badals and Majithia against drugs at Ludhiana, it got 4.06 lakh views while Captain promising debt waiver had 1.98 lakh views. As per Paroma Bhatt, social media head for IPAC which managed Congress’ campaign, ‘Facebook live eliminated medium between candidates and voters’.
“It proved to a transformation tool for us to target NRIs and others who cannot be physically present at the spot. We had more than a lakh views when Captain visited border villages during evacuation and interacted with farmers. Then Navjot Sidhu live on Periscope fetched us additional 50k-60k outreach,” she said. Captain has close to 10 lakh ‘Likes’ on his page and 9 lakh on ‘Punjab Da Captain’ page run by IPAC.
Not only this, parties also used the feature to webcast code of conduct violations. The liquor cartons seized from Dakha from vehicles bearing photos of SAD MLA Manpreet Ayali was ‘live’ shown on Facebook by AAP volunteers.
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