Politicians around the world are taking the social media route to connect with their large political base that includes young voters, who are often seen on social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter. And while some Indian politicians, like Shashi Tharoor and Omar Abdullah, have made forays on this online space, websites belonging to the powers-that-be in Delhi usually prefer to keep things traditional. But now that Pranab Mukherjee has been chosen as the President of India and moved into his new home, Rashtrapati Bhavan has launched a revamped website, presidentofindia.nic.in, with social media features added to it.
Now with the ‘Write to the President’ button, you can voice your grievances, visit a helpline site where you can lodge a complaint and view its status too. Facebook and YouTube buttons are also available on the home page for users looking for more interactive features. However, surprisingly, Twitter, the oft-used tool of international politicians to stay connected, has been given a miss.
“It is interesting to see pictures of the President meeting delegates as well as congratulating athletes who have won at the Olympics on the Facebook page. It makes things more interactive,” says Vishal Shah, 32, a stockbroker. The Facebook page has over 2,600 ‘likes’ currently.
On the other hand, the website’s YouTube channel offers 11 videos and has become a huge hit.
In-house videos uploaded by Rashtrapati Bhavan offer glimpses of the famous gardens it hosts, a tour of the forecourt, as well as videos of delegates meeting and
greeting our President. The video, ‘Long Garden, Mughal Gardens, Rashtrapati Bhavan’ is already trending on YouTube with several subscribers calling the garden “beautiful” and even the “best garden in India”.
Twitter recently launched a novel feature called the Twitter Political Index. The primary role of Twindex, as it is called, is to track enthusiasm levels for President Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney during the run-up to the US Presidential elections. It is based on an average of two million tweets a
week that mention the candidates.
Similar to an approval rating from an opinion poll, the daily index runs from zero to 100. A 50 rating is neutral, anything above that is positive, below is negative.
It offers a real-time look at voters’ moods, and reveals which candidate is trending.