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STS Speaker: Social Media in Political Branding: Narendra Modi and the New Twitter Technocrat

Joyojeet Pal, U-M School of Information
Monday, October 31, 2016
4:00-5:30 PM
1014 Tisch Hall Map
Social media such as Twitter and Facebook are increasingly central to political communication with the citizenry. In over 30 low- and middle-income countries, both the head of government and primary opposition leader have significant social media campaigns, despite internet access and social media still widely outside the reach of the vast majority of the voting population. In this talk, we explore the factors that make social media an attractive form of outreach for political leaders, examining the case of one of the most successful social media campaigns – that of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. With over 22 million followers on Twitter and over 35 million “likes” on Facebook, Modi has a means of directly reaching the citizenry or addressing the mainstream media through social media channels. His campaign on social media offers an important example on the symbolic value of technology in the political campaign. We examine the frequency, tenor, and popularity of messages, the evolution of thematic discussions, and the use of political metaphor in Modi’s sharpening of a new populist discourse as leader of an aspirational, global India.

About Joyojeet:

Joyojeet Pal is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information where his work focuses on user experience and accessibility in low- and middle-income countries. His recent research looks at the use of social media in political communication in India, specifically on the role of political branding online in India. He has also researched and produced the feature documentary, “For the Love of a Man” based on the religious, political, and economic origins of fan following for film stars in South Indian Cinema.
Building: Tisch Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Information and Technology, Media, Politics
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Science, Technology & Society