‚ÄúMera bhi ek hashtag chala do please!‚ÄĚ And here was Ankit, again.
‚ÄúNow what have you done Ankit?‚ÄĚ I asked since I was used to his untimely social media requests.
‚ÄúI have committed a mistake and now I want to clean up my image.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúTell me something new. Huh! I am very busy in managing someone else‚Äôs online reputation today. And FYI all the payment was in advance.‚ÄĚ
Thank God for India‚Äôs political-social-media stunt game which begun three years back! Despite ruining the economy of the country, it helped the ruling party hold the stature of ‚ÄėThe Ruling Party‚Äô even today. Not only this, the social media thing has also helped it clean up its image on several other occasions as well.
But what matters the most to me is that this whole use of social media in shaping public opinion has helped people like me to start their own ventures and earn some good money out of it.
Oh by the way, sorry, I forgot to introduce myself – I am the proud owner of ‚ÄúYou add the cess, we clean the mess‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ an online image consultancy firm. Aur haan, we are not the Modi Bhakts please. Wo kya hai na, jaha bhi online damage control ki baat aati hai, log hamein Modi Bhakt kehne lagtei hain.
Ab log bhi kya karien, since a leading news channel has investigated the BJP‚Äôs social media trend settings and hinted that the ruling government has been ‚Äėemploying‚Äô the ‚Äėtrolls‚Äô to do the damage control on social media and clean up their online image, people think we work only for one political party.
The channel has also raised serious questions such as if the BJP has been shaping public opinion by using paid content on social media? If yes, is the public money being used for these paid campaigns? Though we don‚Äôt know the answers yet but if the pro-BJP social media trends are proven to be funded from the government treasury, then it is bound to prove fatal for this government.
No wonder, how easy it is to brainwash Indians. Simply, ‚ÄúMitron!‚ÄĚ can do wonders.
But not now, when the damage is too high to cover up simply with a few economic reform policies, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Make in India, or few other Pradhan Mantri Yojana(s).
While its not hard to believe that in recent years social media has been extensively used by parties for their political outreach, astonishingly the usage has been aimed far beyond than just to reach to the masses. More often social media is now being used to either damage another party‚Äôs image or to clean ones‚Äôs image and BJP seems to be the pioneer in it.
The party reportedly used social media as a fundamental engine in the 2014 general election, and we all are bearing, I mean know the results. Even in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly election, the BJP pushed social media messages very keenly and ruled over WhatsApp and Facebook pages. Pro-Hindu and anti-Hindu game was well played in the virtual world. And again, we all know what the result was.
If we go through another recent report, according to a twitter audit 63 per cent of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‚Äôs followers on Twitter are fake or suspicious!
The twitter audit of PM Modi and Rahul Gandhi‚Äôs accounts revealed that while Gandhi‚Äôs audit score is 51 percent (meaning 49 percent fake followers), 22,003,269 twitter accounts following PM Modi are dubious!
The investigative report of the news channel also cited a few examples of the Twitter hashtags which were used to do damage control done by ministers or other party members. One of such hashtag, which appeared extensively after the Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was blamed for not being able to curb violence during Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Ram Rahim‚Äôs rape conviction, was #HaryanaWithKhattar.
In the era, wherein kids, adults and aged people are equally glued to their social media channels how can the eagle-eyed political parties skip this opportunity and not impose their propaganda through Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp.
It‚Äôs the golden time for any politician to use the easiest technology of the age, hire a digital agency or keep an in-house team, buy some followers and spread its message across them. And, what they spread shapes the public opinion, which in turn shapes our country.
According to some of the digital agencies, political parties are extensively using social media campaigns for their branding, cleaning up their image, spreading negative propaganda of rival parties and also for reaching out to the masses for gaining trust and votes.
As per Vinayak C.Kumathe, a Digital Marketer located in Karnataka, Online Reputation Management (ORM) is in high demand for politicians in Karnataka these days. All of a sudden the political parties are seeking social media services and the apparent reason is upcoming Karnataka Assembly Election to be held in May 2018. With the help of social media, they plan to reach a large no of people and to also update the public on their day to day programs and achievements.
‚ÄúPoliticians in South India are using social media for ORM these days. Voters these days do R&D about their candidates. So it becomes very important for the party to keep on pushing their positive image and cover up their past mistakes, charges, and scams. For this we use different kinds of tools and hashtags to boost their image,‚ÄĚ says Vinayak.
President of Women‚Äôs Wing of Karnataka Congress, Laxmi Hebbalkar, was caught on camera for bribing voters early this year. So, to spread this news and ruin the party‚Äôs image, opposition parties and the public extensively used #LaxmiHebbalkar before she herself started using social media in May 2017 and used ORM. So you get all the corruption charges and details providing #Laxmihebbalakar or #LaxmiHebbalkar up to May 2017, added Vinayak while elaborating on the Online Reputation Management.
So basically, online reputation management is a rising trend in Indian politics and allegations and counter-allegations will keep on flooding your mobile and laptop screens.
The dark side of the right to free speech has shown its ugly face and digging the dirt syndrome is not going to fade anytime soon. According to industry experts, at all costs, Indian politicians need a neat image as a bad online reputation can easily cost them an election.
For earning a lot of public money, Yashica‚Äôs ‚ÄėYou add the cess, we clean the mess‚Äô company has been in news for all the wrong reasons lately. She in urgent need of Online Reputation Management. Any help?