How techies are logging in for the polls

With digital space playing a crucial role in influencing voters, many techies are working behind the scenes for the upcoming Lok Sabha election

March 28, 2019 05:00 pm | Updated 05:00 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Illustration: Sreejith R Kumar

Illustration: Sreejith R Kumar

Technopark is not immune to election fever. Now that campaigning is in full force for the Lok Sabha polls, techies with political leanings are burning the midnight oil to ensure that their candidate goes to Delhi.

Social media is where they are in full flow, creating digital content for the candidates on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and the like.

Jaseem Ambalangadan, along with two other IT employees, are handling social media promotions of candidates within and outside Kerala. Without divulging any details about the candidates or the political party he is working for and other members of his team, Jaseem says that they are generating social media content for eight candidates in the fray. “We manage their Facebook page, monitor the content that is being posted about them on different digital platforms, update information on Twitter and Instagram and also create Wikipedia content, if the candidate is new,” says Jaseem. A cameraman of the team travels with the candidates and posts videos and photographs.

Jaseem Ambalangadan

Jaseem Ambalangadan

Creating memes and trolls are all part of the work done by these teams for the candidates of their choice. This entails thorough knowledge about the current political scenario and good writing skills. “Also, since we are dealing with several candidates and handling a lot of Facebook pages, we have to be extremely careful about not mixing up facts or figures! If there are many Facebook accounts in a candidate’s name, we have to collate the number of likes in all those accounts for the official page,” he adds.

We caught up with several employees who are neck-deep in campaigning but they insist on staying behind the scenes. Dileep [name changed on request], a Congress supporter, says: “Besides posting comments about the Centre and the state governments, I am closely associated with All India Professionals’ Congress. A team of techies are contributing to the campaign by providing digital content in the form of Whatsapp videos, focussing on the candidate’s contribution in 15 categories,” he says.

App for the polls

Vineeth Chandran, Sarath Kumar, Kiran MR, Suvindas, Sajin Abdul Salam and Bijumon A have developed a mobile app for P Rajeev, CPI (M)’s candidate from Ernakulam constituency. The app lists the latest news about the candidate, his schedule and achievements, in addition to videos and photos from his campaign trail. Admitting his allegiance to the party, Vineeth says that they developed the app after getting a request from Rajeev’s team. “Digital platforms play their part in the election campaign, especially in a place like Ernakulam. It has its reach among young voters,” he adds.

Vineeth Chandran

Vineeth Chandran

Meanwhile, there are techies who exclusively edit [mobile] videos meant for various digital platforms. “We edit the footage and share it with our digital team who posts it. The videos can be about a particular project or an incident, and are meant to contest the allegations raised by the opposing candidate on that matter,” says another.

Concerted effort

Over 400 employees on the campus are working for BJP candidates. “The team is divided into two, with one focussed on research and the other on creating digital content. Research involves analysing the performance of the rival candidate and listing in detail what he has done and what he could have done, in matters related to the district. Many of us are sympathisers, while there is a core team who work day in and out to coordinate online campaigning. The statistics and figures are collated and provided to the core team. Some of them are on leave while some do it after their working hours,” says a BJP supporter.

The job is not easy as they have to be hooked to news channels and online platforms for hours together. According to Jaseem, the candidates do keep track of their activities.

“They keep a tab on the number of likes on their page and even call up late at night for follow-ups. While Facebook is more popular, young voters follow Instagram and Twitter. We are now posting Tiktok videos as well,” he says.

In addition, Technoparktoday, the online platform of techies, has already kicked off an election survey.

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