In a time when youngsters open their eyes to Facebook in the morning and ‘Check-in’ everywhere the day takes them — from the university to the gym — the ideal medium to spread awareness, quite obviously, becomes these social networking sites. University’s electoral candidates are cashing in on the same by constantly updating their Facebook pages, uploading their party songs on YouTube, tagging their friends in all their party pictures, and a lot more.
Though there are parties that are very active with keeping youngsters up to date with campaigns to lure voters, there are others who do not have a presence on these sites at all.
During a brief recce on Facebook, HT City discovered that it is in fact the ruling party (SOPU) that’s ruling on Facebook as well. With five main accounts and various fan pages, Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) tops the list. Student of MA, Philosophy, Mandeep Ahuja, senior SOPU supporter, is the man behind all these accounts. “As of today, Facebook is the strongest medium for networking.
Apart from the two official accounts, which have about 5,000 friends each, we have also made fan pages of each leader. This year, we have tried to be more active than last year. Details of each meeting are uploaded as statuses on the wall of each account. We also keep updating our information about the current status of the party and its activities.
Scanned copies of all newspaper cuttings are also uploaded on the page. We’re so aggressive in our endeavour that sometimes our friends get irritated with us tagging them!” he shares. SOPU has also come up with the official site of the party, sopu.in, which provides minute details of the party’s functioning.
Another trend that is seen catching on with student organisations this year is that of campaign songs. Manoj Lubana, president, SOPU, shares, “Last year, we came up with a campaign song and promoted it on a large scale. It was uploaded with two different names, Cheers Song For SOPU (3,082 hits) and Chandigarh SOPU 2011 (5,547 hits).
The song went on to become a rage in the university, blaring in all election vehicles on campus. The song was written and presented by Gaurav Sharma Gabbar, who is also a line producer of various Bollywood and Punjabi movies. This year, he has come up with a new song, SOPU 2012, which was uploaded on Wednesday night, and has already got 1,800 hits, and counting. This year, we have made another song, Chandigarh Sopu 2012 (918 hits).”
Besides SOPU’s hyper-activeness on Facebook, National Students Union of India (NSUI) has launched another initiative. Sandeep Boora, national delegate, NSUI, shares, “We have started something called Meri Awaz on the website of NSUI. It’s an initiative to feature and promote events organised by units across the country.”
Despite it being the most crucial time to be active on Facebook, there are parties that are not paying much heed to the trend. Cherry Brar, ex-chairman PUSU, says, “We upload all our information and achievements on Facebook throughout the year. But from the past few days, we have not been very active, because of being busy with the elections. Moreover, I believe online promotion helps garner only 5 to 10% of the votes. It doesn’t have a big role to play.”
However, Jagpreet Singh, a third year LLB student, thinks otherwise. “Any party’s presence on Facebook matters a lot. If a party’s updates keep popping up on our Facebook walls, we’d remain informed of their activities. It’s the easiest, quickest and the most
efficient way of promotion,” he opines.
Sopu Panjab Uni (PU Campus) — 5,000 friends
Sopu PU — 4,825 friends
SOPU Fan Club page — 1,529 likes
SOPU Panjab University page — 4,871 likes
Pusu PU Chandigarh — 3,983 friends
Apni Pusu — 1,849 friends
Apni Pusu — 1,189 friends
PUSU page — 537 likes
Inso Chandigarh — 818 friends
Join Inso — 789 friends
Join Inso — 542 friends
NSUI Chandigarh — 1,843 friends
SFI Chandigarh — 359 friends
ABVP PU Chandigarh — friends hidden
SOI — friends hidden