Social media may swing four to five per cent votes in the coming Lok Sabha elections, making it a key factor in constituencies with thin victory margin, IT industry veteran, TV Mohandas Pai, said today.
Youngsters, particulary first time voters, are very heavy on social media, which is the primary channel of information for most of them, the former Chief Financial Officer of software major, Infosys Ltd, said.
"Social media may swing 4-5 per cent of the votes, that's my view", Mr Pai said.
Forty to 50 per cent of young voters could be swayed by social media because for most of them it's the primary channel of information, he claimed. "Young people don't watch TV, they watch videos, they go
to YouTube, they go to social media, they don't read newspapers, they are influenced by what they see on social media, not on print, not on TV", Mr Pai said.
To influence young voters, political parties should find out what motivates them, what are the emotions they have, what they like, where they go and what's that they look forward to, he said.
"Messages should be based on their interest. Messages should be targetted as a group. The messages have to be positive, about bright future and optimistic," he added.
Mr Pai said young people are very interested to know how India was treated globally. "They have aspirations of working abroad. Stories about what the government has done to gain respect for India would be very good."
Asked which party he thought was ahead of the race on use of social media to influence voters, he said it's the BJP, adding, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's image among young people is "very, very strong".
Mr Pai claimed that the Congress President Rahul Gandhi is not vibing with young people because he is "speaking the language of the 1990s".