Personalisation as a concept has always existed in politics but what is new is the mediation of new communication technology. Contemporary political candidates can connect directly with the electorate through social media platforms. The electorate was unsatisfied in the past with unidirectional communication through traditional media that did not allow them to ask questions or to share their own opinion. The social media allowed this interaction and the political candidates used this available popular space for self-promotion. This research looks at the ways in which online social media has affected the phenomenon of personalisation by studying the 2014 general elections in India. The data was collected through semi-structured personal interviews with political leaders and their social media strategy teams, while also studying their Twitter account feed over a period before the elections. The results show that for the first time in the history of Indian general elections, political leaders used social media channels such as Twitter successfully towards ‘personalisation’ in their political campaigns. Although, the proportion of active social media users among the voting population was relatively small, this group of voters had significant influence over the opinions of those who were not online, just by the power of information and connectivity. The results of this study will increase the understanding of the effect of social media in political campaigning, and also help new studies in understanding social media as a space, and the strategies that can be used especially by individuals and organisations to reach their target audience.
Personalisation, Media, Social Media, Politics, Elections, Campaigns, Digital, Identity, Leaders