Open event organized by the CSD (Centrul pentru Studiul Democratiei):
Guest lecture by Dr. Joyojeet Pal, University of Michigan, May 30, room T1, FSPAC 2.
Title: Social Media and Political Brand Building: The Case of Narendra Modi
Much recent research has examined the role of social media in elections, particularly in Western nations where the use of major social media is fairly widespread in the population. Today, in over 30 low- and middle-income countries, both the head of government and primary opposition leader have significant social media campaigns. In this talk, we explore the factors that make social media an attractive form of outreach for political leaders in the Global South, examining the case of one of the most successful social media campaigns – that of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. With over 18 million followers on Twitter and over 32 million “likes” on Facebook, Modi has a means of directly reaching the citizenry or addressing the mainstream media through social media channels. His rise on social media offers an important example on political brand management. Using a qualitative analysis of his tweets, we discuss specific outreach strategies and how these have evolved over time. 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.
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.