This is part of a series where we pick data from the MTS Election Tracker, crunch numbers and build a graphical representation from 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.
Smriti Irani, better known as Tulsi Mihir Virani for the better part of her life, is now a hot topic for different reasons among the political and TV buffs of India. After portraying the many hues of a woman in myriad familial roles in the ever-so-famous ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahi Thi’, Smriti Irani finally started her political career in 2003 by joining the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP).
All of Smriti Irani’s online properties; which amount to two; are impeccably matched and makes one think that she is really keen on using social media for some serious and sincere marketing/campaigning. Her cover pictures are impeccably matched with her display pictures. The visual effect of her accounts are glaringly pro-BJP. Well they better be, considering she belongs to the party and is also the all India Vice-President.
I like how the cover images are carefully crafted to look correct on each of the platforms. Smriti Irani has created quite a buzz on Google+, with #SmritiIrani, but there is no supporting page or community on the platform. It is also interesting to see how she features in quite a few posts with #RahulGandhi on Google+. Maybe, we can take that as a sign of her prowess against her chief competitor.
Having said that, what is even more interesting to see is the Word Cloud as presented by the MTS Election Tracker 2014.
A showcase of all the popular keywords that people are using in their social conversations about Smriti Irani
Smriti Irani’s Facebook page has posts that are populated with two hashtags #AmethiFacts and #Smriti4Amethi. Both the hashtags are doing well and are being used by quite a few pages, accounts and users other than Smriti Irani or her party-related accounts.
Accounts using #AmethiFacts used by Smriti Irani for campaigning on social media.
Smriti Irani receives words of appreciation from a new fan using #Smriti4Amethi
Going by the comments that we have looked at till now, Smriti Irani sure seems to be creating a stir among Indians. However, she is no Narendra Modi or Arvind Kejriwal and thus, falls short of creating as wide a buzz as these almost-celeb-like politicians. It is rather ironic that a celebrity-turned-politician has to compete with a crusader and a common man. Her 415k fans on Facebook are not enough to make a mark on the graph.
Total number of fans each politician has on his/her Facebook page.
There is much that can be discussed here but I believe it is best left to the ardent and expert political critics to express their fair share about this phenomenon.
However, if we were to see the percentage of her fans that are engaged on Facebook then the picture would be very different. Her interaction level, represented as a percentage of her fans on Facebook, is flattering and more. She manages to give a healthy competition to the other politicos on the tracker.
Her engagement as % of fans is a doting 34.64%, as compared to the 26.59% of Narendra Modi, who, of course, belongs to the same party.
On Twitter, Smriti Irani is much revered. Just like Google+, she receives a lot of traction from fans and followers owing to her perceptively weak opponent Rahul Gandhi. She has a total of 236K followers but that isn’t enough to feature in the list of the top 5 politicians on the tracker, namely Narendra Modi, Shashi Tharoor, Arvind Kejriwal, Sushma Swaraj and Omar Abdullah
Although, Smriti Irani does feature as a close 6th by this graph that represents activities relevant to the period of this review.
Like a good politician, she takes care to keep her content secular. She uses the oldest trick in the book – that of sending festive wishes.
She also makes an effort to create awareness about her competing constituency Amethi by tweets like these –
There is also another handle dedicated strictly to her activities in Amethi called @smriti4amethi. Her private account is fast to retweet and share the content on a wider base since the @smriti4amethi handle has only 651 followers.
Then, as the polling draws closer she is also catering to taking pot-shots at the easy target Rahul Gandhi
She is quite the crusader online but will her prowess materialise as results on nomination? That remains to be witnessed by the nation.
If we were to delve into some metrics to slap numbers on her perceived fame and reach then the picture isn’t that pretty but neither is it bad enough to be outright dismissive.
(The blue bars to the extreme left of all the clusters represent the mentions received by Smriti Irani)
The graph represents the mentions that she has received in the period of this review. She is no competition to the popular use of the name Arvind Kejriwal on the micro-blogging platform.However, she does manage to get her fair share of mentions and fame.
When we come to the amount of tweeting the star politico has done in the past few days the picture isn’t very different from the previous one.
(The blue bars to the extreme left of all the clusters represent tweets by Smriti Irani)
Her activity shows a considerable spike in activity on the 16th of April, maybe the pressure for receiving ample votes seems to be getting the better of her. Even then her tweets are not irrelevant, they are a good mix of retweets, Amethi facts and pot-shots at Rahul Gandhi.
Sentiment Analysis is where we observe the general sentiment shared by users, fans and followers through the conversation being held around the politician. Owing to the recent comments made by Mulayam Singh Yadav regarding rape, the general positive sentiment around politicians belonging to BJP, Congress and AAP has dipped.
The pie chart above is a clear indication of how severely the positive sentiment has dipped. Smriti Irani usually enjoy a positive sentiment ranging on low margin of the pie.
If we were to observe the sentiment by date then it is shocking to see that Smriti Irani’s negative sentiment spiked the most on the day of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s blunder being made public.
Some of the ‘scandalous’ (read publicity-bringing) news surrounding the womanly icon of Free India are about her questioning Priyanka Vadra (Gandhi), challenging Rahul Gandhi and taking digs at Rahul Gandhi. It seems that none of negative publicity comes from poor policy agendas or manifestos. That could mean only two things, either she is doing a good job of announcing such crucial details or she isn’t at all indulging in the nuances of political campaigning.
In conclusion, Smriti Irani has a strong hold on her online properties. Who is to know, maybe her experience in publicising herself as an actress has come in handy while campaigning as a well-heard-of contestant.
What India would really be interested in knowing is her capabilities as a politician. Will she be the lapse into the same old formula of making promises and then developing amnesia? Or will she be just like the good bahu of Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahi Thi, taking tough decisions, making amends and most importantly, keeping promises.
Smriti Irani is a politician with a social media image as crisp as that of Sushma Swaraj’s sarees. Nowhere does she let her celebrity status creep in between of her political repertoire and that is rather commendable.
Her approach to social media is warm, informative and firm; it rarely trickles to taunting. She is not seen taking regular digs at other politicians with an exception of Rahul Gandhi who is a direct competition at her Amethi candidature.
Starting out as a surprise in the Indian political scenario she has come a long way from talking about women’s issues to making focused efforts on social media for gaining voter populace for her Amethi candidature.
Whether or not her consistent effort will come in handy is something time will tell. After all it is not just INC competing against her but AAP as well.
Main Partner – MTS