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Facebook users: do they turn up at polling booths in India?

By Shriram Venkatraman, on 12 April 2013

Photo by Yogesh Mhatre (Creative Commons)

Photo by Yogesh Mhatre (Creative Commons)

An Indian national daily newspaper carried an interesting article recently, on how Facebook users can change the election results in India. It spoke about the impact on digital campaigning that political parties in India were adapting in order to woo supporters.

Based on several sources on Facebook statistics, it would be safe to assume that an average of 60 million people (approx. 5% of Indian population) from India are on Facebook and it would be safe to assume from various other data sources that at least 50% of them are youth and most of them are educated middle class Indians.

Similarly, on an average, from popular news reports it is evident that the voter turnout during elections is between 70 to 75%. However, it is most often criticized that these voters are mostly from the poorer strata of Indian society (both rural and urban) and the numbers constitute very few educated Indian middle class. Further, Indian middle class are also constantly criticized for being armchair critics.

How many of these poor who vote are on Facebook? While numbers at a top level may seem to be significant, they lose significance when diving deep to understand the constitution of the group which finally decides Indian political leadership.

While it is definitely interesting to see the digital campaigning strategies adopted by political parties, these only constitute 50%, the rest is on making sure that the impact created by these strategies turn into votes.  It would be interesting to see how many of these Facebook users turn up at the polling stations, which would truly demonstrate the impact of digital campaigning.