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KMDI Speaker Series – Social Media and New Political Imperatives in the Global South: The Case of Narendra Modi
February 1 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pmFree
What can social media do for politicians in the Global South, where a relatively small share of the population uses social media? To answer this, I explore the landscape of social media use by politicians in various parts of the world, and specifically examine that of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi, one of the most followed political leaders on social media, reserves most of his communications output to online media, independently influencing the mainstream media without direct communication with professional journalists. In this talk I discuss the origins of his online engagement, and analyze specific outreach strategies including celebrity tweets, followbacks, subject selection, and channel differentiation. I situate Modi’s use of social media and branding as a techno-savvy leader within notions of aspiration and technological citizenry in India. In conclusion, I propose that Modi’s case offers us a useful study into the rapidly evolving multi-channel social media output of politicians, as well as a unique view into the representational politics of technological expertise.
About Our Speaker
Dr. Joyojeet Pal is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information where his recent work examines the use of social media in political communication in the Global South. In the past decade, he has worked on several topics in Information and Communications Technology and Development (ICTD) including on role of aspiration in the demand for technology goods, and on accessibility in the Global South. He has also researched and produced the feature documentary, “For the Love of a Man” based on the religious, political, and economic origins of fandom and cult of personality around Indian film stars.