This is a part of a series where we pick data from the MTS Election Tracker, crunch numbers and build a graphical representation of them. We have used Konnect Social to track the data along with support from our knowledge partner,Social Rajneeti. Read other articles about Election tracker here.
Arvind Kejriwal came into the public view as a feisty volunteer of Team Anna (Anna Hazare). Pushing for the Jan Lokpal Bill, he soon began to view the political terrain of India with a more amorous sight. Despite Arnab Goswami’s tries at bringing to light his suggested hypocritical shift into politics, the man continues to enjoy quite the positive public opinion. He is definitely being sighted as a strong contender on the political battlefield.
He likes to call himself the common man and that has been his primary hook for grabbing the attention of media, public, peers and politicians. From the very start of his political career, if it may be termed so, he has raised havoc and chaos under the pretext or intention of exposing the many corrupt and dishonest beings in the government and political machinery. His claims have also been repeatedly questioned and he hasn’t always graced the audiences with a satisfactory response.
Nonetheless, the man does display some serious courage and zest for politics. Whether his political agenda makes a mark in the minds of the voters or not, is a story for another day. Let’s see if the common man is doing anything uncommon through his social media activities. Or whether he is making the most common mistake of ignoring the medium as a means for successful campaigning.
A Google search for Arvind Kejriwal will introduce you to the current activities and events surrounding the common man. Followed by his Facebook page, Wikipedia page and Twitter account. Other than the Aam Aadmi Party’s official website, Arvind Kejriwal shares most of his thoughts, party and policy-related information through his Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Some of the words that are being connected to the politician while being spoken of on the internet are seen in the image below. The varying sizes of the words represent the frequency in which those words are related to Arvind Kejriwal. Seeing that Arvind, AAP, Modi and Varansi are some of the words that are most related to him, one can safely say that there are relevant conversations going on around him.
The first thing that struck me on the Facebook page, was a smart name to choose, AapKaArvind. For a politician pushing his agenda using the image of an approachable common man is clever.
Arvind Kejriwal has a total of 5 million fans on Facebook. His cover picture with a Gandhi photo is eye-catching. His display picture is simple without frills. The ‘About’ paragraph on the page reads thus, “˜This is Arvind Kejriwal’s official page to talk about issues related to corruption, ineffective governance and solution to these problems in form of AAP.”
His page has tabs for Events, Donate to AAP and Invite Your Friends. Some of the posts are dedicated to declaring the donations made to AAP, in keeping with the party ideology of honesty and transparency. Arvind Kejriwal is one of three politicians participating in the 2014 General Elections to have a donate button on his Facebook page; the others being Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley, both belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The content on the page is generally of a revolutionary nature. The posts range from sharing information on the party candidates, connecting with followers, pointing out fallacies in competing party policies or bringing to light governance issues. Arvind Kejriwal also engages his fans through video or audio messages.
This is an exemplary post that was added as an immediate response to the common man being slapped once again in Delhi on the 8th of April, 2014. In my opinion, this is an excellent image building and management activity that reflects positively on his goals of being a social leader who interacts with the masses.
It is commendable that he uses two languages in the posts. It shows concern and the use of common sense to relate better with the variety of masses that he would like to address. The video is well timed and indirectly dismisses the said act of violence as an effort to tarnish his image.
In this video message he amply mentions the word “Aap” (You) and urges the masses to rise as one against corruption and governance frauds. He has received an assuring 33,136 shares and nearly 30,000 likes on the post within four hours of posting the update.
Needless to say, the posts are timely and remain relevant to the latest events in politics. The page is well maintained, the language is clean and grammatically sound. Arvind Kejriwal receives a sizeable response from his followers.
An update receives over 4,000 likes and 664 shares within three hours of being posted. Arvind Kejriwal takes a pot shot at the BJP as well as Congress government.
Arvind Kejriwal shares posts to share the amount of work that has been done by his party during his short stint as CM of Delhi
There are numerous posts similar to the one seen above that have listed multiple things that the party has managed to achieve. The page also displays short video content that works towards building a positive party image. However, they do not do so without expressing resounding confidence in AAP’s policies, ways and ideologies.
The Arvind Kejriwal Facebook page can be regarded that as a smug show-off to the people and crisp sarcasm directed at competing parties. There is more going on about the party on the page than the man alone.
In this video shared to promote the AAP manifesto, despite the obvious twang of South-Indian English in the speaker’s language, the video in my opinion is quite innovative and in-tune with the Aam Aadmi (common man) image owing to the simplicity of the graphics.
If we look at the metrics generated by his activities on the page it is interesting to see how he is the second most popular name on Facebook. Even though he does not come close to the fame and hype created around Narendra Modi, it is commendable that a man using simple techniques is making a mark among voters.
Despite giving a tough competition to Narendra Modi, the common man loses on engagement percentage, owing to the vast difference in the number of likes on the Facebook page. Arvind Kejriwal’s engagement as percent of fans is as low as 0.99%, standing in stark contrast to the 20.01% garnered by Modi and the highest 105.7% for Kapil Sibal.
Maybe the man needs to urge his followers to invite more people to like the page every now and then. Especially so, since he keeps referring to the lower economic status that he and his party come from. If that is to be believed then social media and the internet is his best tool to get in touch with his followers and prospective vote bank.
On Twitter, the severe Kejriwal seems to don a more commonplace persona. He doesn’t respond to tweets often but makes sure that his presence is felt. The man is a frequent tweeter and talks about nearly the same things as his Facebook page.
He also tweets outbursts directed at what he finds disturbing in his immediate environment. But never is the context any other than him and his political exploits, if I may call them so.
On 8th April he tweeted about being slapped once again in Delhi. He questioned the activity in the light of unnecessary violence rather than condemning it directly. His immediate and transparent attitude towards sharing information about self, makes him believable and real.
The language on Twitter is obviously Indian English and he freely uses short-forms and messaging lingo on Twitter to take optimal advantage of the character limit of the platform. He makes sure to announce politically correct updates like declaring received donations from fans, followers, voters and well-wishers.
The man uses his re-tweets to point fingers at competing candidates and parties and on rare and apparent occasions he directs his words against them.
Arvind Kejriwal receives a variable number of mentions on Twitter. However, one can see that he manages to stay in circulation of the written word. Although Narendra Modi gives him a close competition, Arvind Kejriwal continues to be mentioned on the platform. I wonder if he is genuinely making a stir amongst Indians or whether he is stirring them silly.
The graph displays the number of times each politician was mentioned by Twitter users, between 1st April 2014 and 6th April 2014.
Arvind Kejriwal’s fame on Twitter stands in stark contrast to the belief that one must tweet more to be tweeted about more. We can see below that Arvind Kejriwalâ€™s tweets have reduced over the past week. However, it has made no difference to the rate at which he gets mentioned on the platform.
The graph displays the tweeting activity on each of the politicians’ twitter accounts, in the past week.
Arvind Kejriwal might not have an account or page on Google+ but he sure seems to be famous on the platform. If you search for Arvind Kejriwal without using any filters then you will find that over 250 pages or accounts use his name. I believe Arvind Kejriwal could gain a large following on Google+ which he or his social media team are ignoring.
And I would once again like to mention the fact that the party needs to exploit all free and mass communication tools available to them.
In the last seven days, Arvind Kejriwal has received a whopping 8,306 mentions on Twitter. Although the performance is dulled by the 20,220 mentions received by Narendra Modi. The MTS #ElectionTracker2014 is tracking a total of 15 politicians and their social media accounts. Arvind Kejriwal is second to the star performer of the tracker, NaMo. Although, I must mention that the difference between Kejriwal and Modi is vast and glaring.
Despite the hype around Arvind Kejriwal and his actions, it is surprising to see that a majority share of the followers sentiment pie belongs to the ones holding a neutral opinion. We will take a look at how and why the sentiment gets affected with a reference to discussions, articles and news reports shared about him, online.
Going by the graph below, one can safely draw a conclusion that on the 4th of April 2014, Arvind Kejriwal indulged in some action that did not sit well with his online and offline observers, fans or followers. On the 4th of April, Arvind Kejriwal was allegedly attacked/slapped by a possible candidate of BJP. While there are some reports that claim that a certain Mr. Udit Raj of the North-West Delhi candidature may have been involved, there are also reports dated 3rd, 4th and 5th April that speak of an AAP candidate having slapped the AAP leader.
Keeping the ambiguity going, some of the news headlines read thus,
On the day the news of Arvind being attacked was released, the social networks went abuzz with the information. Just like no event is spared jest or mockery, neither was this.
Surprisingly, Arvind Kejriwal was riding on a lot of positive opinion just a day before. On the 3rd of April, 2014 his graph is lusher than on other days.
With a total of 54 positive articles found on Arvind Kejriwal, 3rd April, 2014 surely looks like the day he enjoyed a positive public opinion. ,
Performance on websites
In addition to tracking the performance of politicians and parties on social media platforms, the MTS Election Tracker 2014 also shows performance of the names and organisations across websites. In the political purview, these websites happen to be news sites. What’s even more interesting is the sentiment attached with website statistics. Going by the graph, The Times of India scores high on displaying negative sentiment with 15 news items but also displays the highest positive sentiment with 12 news items published in the past week about the AAP leader.
The lowest number of disagreeable literature on the “˜Aam Aadmi Kejriwal” is found on ibnlive.in.com with just four negative news items in the past week.
The graph displays the negative, positive and neutral sentiment as reflected by the news on the website.
In conclusion, I believe that Arvind Kejriwal uses his Facebook and Twitter accounts to educate his followers and make his party and party members look good. He also uses the platform to formulate ideologies and concepts of honesty, albeit in a smug fashion. The man uses his accounts with civility fitting of a public figure.
Arvind Kejriwal has extensively used social media to shape his identity and image. The 2014 general elections has seen a political drama set in the backdrop of 3 major political parties competing against each other and fighting a cut throat battle. In such a scenario where there is a deep difference in the pockets of these parties, the Aam Aadmi Party leader has sustained his campaigning using Social Media.
He uses a very conversational tone in his tweets and posts. His communication is consistent and drives has a clear message of achieving Swaraj on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals. His strategy of being personal in tweets is indeed striking the right chord with his followers. Though there are lots of mixed sentiments projected on social media, trends like #IStandWithArvind, #Unite4AAP have trended after incidents of slapping. However, these sentiments keep varying with days and are mostly positive. No doubt his popularity is hitting high with the masses.
Overall, Arvind Kejriwal has stolen the fame on social media with a high number of mentions, addressing the users being one of them and utilizing the power of digital media with interesting videos as well as party updates.