2012 is fast approaching. Everything is changing fast, at the speed of light and politics is no exception. Gone are the days when political parties and candidates used to communicate with their potential voters only through public gatherings, because now is the time of Social media.
What we have seen in the previous couple of years is a real change in the way politics are done in Pakistan. Now presence of almost all the major parties and its candidates can be observed on twitter, Facebook and Youtube. What it shows is a change in the mindset of the political parties. there is a complete paradigm shift in politics, now the political parties realize that the voter in Pakistan is far more politically aware than let’s say what they were a couple of decades back.
Use of social media in politics is not unprecedented, the recent uprising in the Arab world started from the social media and perhaps the same is happening in Pakistan. Although the movement and uprising, in Pakistan, might not be as troublesome as it was in the Arab world. A common perception was that advocates of various issues and causes on the social media would hardly do anything for the same issues on the ground, but recent developments proved otherwise.
Couple of months back PTI and Imran Khan launched a social media movement Jaag Utho, which means Wake up, on various platforms like Facebook, Youtube and Twitter. The basic purpose of starting this movement was to interact with and mobilize the youth of Pakistan, and PTI is very successful in achieving its goal. The recent public gatherings of PTI in Lahore and Karachi clearly show the penetration Imran Khan and his party has achieved, to a great deal, through the social media. What social media does is, it leverages interaction, and that’s what PTI has done. It has interacted successfully with the public and especially with the youth of Pakistan. It shows the start of a new phenomenon, Politics 2.0 which means that now politics would be done online through social media, instead of spending billions on promotions and demonstrations fewer bucks would be spent on social media to achieve greater results.
Others are also following in the footsteps of PTI in launching their own social media movements and that clearly shows the power of social media. After the successful public gathering in Lahore and Karachi compelled the Sharifs and Co. to start taking the social media seriously and not overrule its role. The current trend would bring almost all the parties to follow and that would do one thing, only concise and clear messages would bring in more followers. So in the coming future, for the projection of ideas, we would see the parties giving more importance to the social media and more money would be spent on online political activities.