Blog Past: Elections – The Digital Connection

A post from a year ago about the role of the Internet and mobile in the Elections:

  • Internet reaches about 50 million of 700 million (7%) voters; so overall impact is small. Question is how much influence does this group have and that is not clear.  Unlike in marketing products where the audience is top of the pyramid and therefore highly desirable, in a democracy, every vote counts the same – and there are no prizes for coming second in a constituency!
  • The mobile (and especially SMS) can be a game-changer in this election. SMS can reach upto half the voting population (about 375 million of 700 million), and messages can direct and non-targeted. Also, many interactive services (find your polling both, who are the crminals contesting in your constituency) will increases the appeal and use of SMS in the election.
  • One thing which I am seeing increasing use of is email. Chain mails have started giving viewpoints different from what we are seeing on the traditional mass media.
  • Social media (Facebook, Orkut) can amplify reach, but these are still early days, and their impact will be limited.
  • Thus, email and SMS forwarding, along with the social networking sites, can help spread messages fast, but their impact will be mostly restricted to urban constituencies.

2 thoughts on “Blog Past: Elections – The Digital Connection

  1. The use of cellphone as a tool for election campaigning is more like last minute cramming for the final exam. A more productive use of mobile technology would be for the administration to monitor the quality of government provided public services and obtain feedback from the public in a timely fashion. An example to consider is the Chattisgarh PDS system (see What is interesting is the use of mobiles to track the movement of food laden trucks from the warehouse to the fair price shop.
    Perhaps this system could be further extended to informing the customer on the availability of foodgrains at the local fair price shop. Conversely, the customer could confirm the purchase of his allotted quota through an SMS to the appropriate monitoring authority, thereby providing valuable feedback.