Social Media as a Platform for Incessant Political Communication: A Case Study of Modi’s “Clean India” Campaign
The 2014 elections were dubbed the first “social media election” in India, when more than 56 million election-related tweets were posted during the campaign. Despite his landslide victory, Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to be in incessant political campaign mode on social media, launching the “Clean India” mission in late 2014 among other development-oriented initiatives. This research examines the effectiveness of social media as a platform for continuous dialogue with citizens in modern politics and its implications for the mainstream news media in India. The article uses the theoretical framework of agenda building in the digital age to outline the results of an empirical study that includes a social network analysis to profile Modi’s Twitter followers and the key influencers in the Clean India campaign. The study analyzes year-long Twitter data in relation to the Clean India mission to identify common terms and trends, relationships between supporters of this campaign on Twitter, crossover between social media and the Indian mainstream news media, and the news media’s response to the changed political landscape.