(The room is located in the main quad, across the road from Stanford Oval).
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has almost 15 million followers on Twitter and over almost 30 million “likes” on Facebook, making him among the most followed politicians on social media. With a mix of ‘feel good’ messages, shout-outs to other celebrities, well-timed ritualized responses, as well as a careful strategy of ‘followbacks’ for a small selection of his most active followers, Modi grew his following dramatically since 2013. This talk looks at ways in which Twitter is used as part of a larger brand management exercise through which Modi has emphasized different issues at various phases of his political evolution.
Joyojeet examines four specific phases, during each of which, the focus of his social media message evolved based on electoral or post-election needs. While Twitter helped Modi circumvent the mainstream media and directly reach a significant constituency of listeners, he also examines how social media was central to Modi's image shaping as a technology-savvy leader who represents pan-Indian aspirations of modernity, away from Modi’s own past image in the popular media as a divisive communal politician.
Joyojeet Pal is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan's School of Information where his work focuses on user experience and accessibility in low and middle-income countries. His recent research looks at the use of social media in political communication in India, specifically on the role of political branding online in India. He is one of the technical collaborators on the Unfinished Sentences project examining oral histories of the El Salvador civil war, and leads the Colombia Digital Culture project at the University of Michigan. He researched and produced the award-winning documentary, "For the Love of a Man" based on the fan following of South Indian film star Rajnikanth.
Note: Those of you attending this talk may be interested in a related event, "Why India Matters", a talk by Richard Verma, 25th US Ambassador to India.