The 2014 Lok Sabha elections start from today and social networks are leaving no opportunity to mint from the biggest event of democracy. With Google and Facebook doing some amazing integration, Twitter isn’t behind.
The 140 character network, which has been a hit among politicians, is also an online battle ground between rival parties. The ease of the medium has struck a chord among politicians like Narendra Modi, Arvind Kejriwal, Shashi Tharoor, Shushma Swaraj, among others. But, at the same time we have seen the madness for trending hashtags by political parties and their supporters.
Headlines Today #YourVote2014
While Twitter today is a platform for conversation and controversy, media channels are trying to leverage these qualities for the ongoing elections. India Today Group’s Twitter debate show #YourVote2014 on “Headlines Today” is a brilliant example.
The show is now in its 4th week, airing on its flagship news outlet @HeadlinesToday. #YourVote2014 gives Twitter users in India a first-of-its-kind chance to participate and determine the outcome of a live debate using Tweets, writes Twitter India on its blog.
Speaking with us during the Frrole story, Aroon Purie, Editor-in-Chief at India Today Group had shared that from the very beginning of 2014 Headlines Today was having internal conversations on creating a unique, engaging and credible ‘second screen’ experience for viewers.
“We wanted a show that would do two things: one, thrown open the national debate beyond the walls of Delhi’s television studios. Two, enable genuine two-way conversation and feedback between India’s leaders and its citizens with cutting-edge technology. #YourVote2014 was a direct result of these conversations.”
Detailing more about the #YourVote2014 initiative, Purie adds that each week, HT invites three political leaders to participate in a live prime-time debate. As they debate on air, HT viewers are encouraged to tweet their reactions, comments and questions using the #YourVote2014 hashtag and the relevant guest’s name.
While the interaction is going on, Frrole, which was introduced by Twitter India to HT for this program, tracks the hashtag and performs a sentiment analysis for each guest named in the tweets. Frrole then sends sentiment scores for each guest in real time, which HT displays periodically on the screen.
Concurrently, HT’s in-house software development team is also working closely with Frrole to ensure the data that is obtained translates perfectly into on-air graphics. Frrole also helps in filtering out abusive tweets so that only the best quality comments & questions go on air. These are put straight to the guests for their reactions.
“This way, not only does the audience decide who wins the debate, but they also decide what direction the debate will take; and it all happens in real time thanks to Frrole’s algorithms,” Purie states.
Every week #YourVote2014 has witnessed an overwhelming response from Twitter users with the debate trending across India. Mumbai, with a voice share of 27%, leads the cities that have tweeted the most during #YourVote2014, Delhi is a close second at 23%, with Bangalore following suit at 20%.
The show has embraced many Twitter best practices, including on-air calls to action, hashtags on screen, anchor mentions, guest retweets and a live Twitter feed that completes the circle on a comprehensive, immersive second-screen experience.
Meanwhile Headlines Today Twitter account has gone private for some time now and Election Express has emerged. A talking bus brings live action from the ground to your television sets while updating about the election buzz on Twitter.
The Twitter account that remains to be gender neutral, is a high tech one. A sneak peek can be seen in the below Vine video:
— Raheel Khursheed (@Raheelk) April 6, 2014
Times Of India polling day reminder
Times Of India, the leading media site has started a new initiative with #DanceofDemocracy which is asking citizens to step out and vote. Users on Twitter can tweet to @timesofindia with their city’s name to get their polling related information.
— Times of India (@timesofindia) April 7, 2014
Once you tweet, you receive a tweet for setting a polling day reminder in your calendar with a link of a widget provided by Shopreply. On click of the link you can add the date to your calendar.
The automated app takes your Twitter location and matches with its database to provide the polling date for the respective city. It would have been great had the app provided relevant polling booth details too.
Times Now election analysis
Times Now news channel has entered into a tie up with Twitter for a unique arrangement for the elections, wherein the real time sentiments of the citizens and voters will be analysed and trends will be monitored from tweets and Twitter feeds.
Though the deal is yet to be made public, Exchange4Media has reported after getting a tip from its industry sources. The integration could be an exciting one considering this year the elections are trying to be social and Twitter plays a big role. We would know more once the integration is made public.
Social media might not pull voters from across the country to the ballot boxes since the internet penetration in the country is less than 13% and adoption of social media is still not in double digits. But Twitter definitely has turned into a platform of conversation and debate between political parties and voters along with other mediums.