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Social Networking For Political Campaigning! [Lagarde’s Social Media Use]

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With Facebook and Twitter going mainstream in the past 2 years, numerous use cases have emerged for these social networking platforms. User Engagement, Website Traffic, Business Marketing, Customer Care, Activism etc. are some of these use cases that have thrived on these platforms. Mr. Obama (his team) used these platforms extensively during his presidential campaign to good effect and there emerged a untested use case: Campaigning. Political Campaigning at that!

Social Media

French Finance minister Lagarde is trying to set another example for social networking being used as a tool for garnering support for candidature for the much coveted post of IMF chief. Lagarde has decided to reach out to a mass audience and answer any questions on Facebook & Twitter for one hour tomorrow.

It is noteworthy that Lagarde has been very keen on strengthening her candidature for the post by trying to drum up support from India and China. However, I shall not delve into that too much and keep the focus on my thoughts on her team’s decision to use social networking.

The basic premise looks promising. IMF is a global body and with Facebook, Twitter she gains visibility to a truly global audience which no other medium could possibly provide.

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Use of a public platform for answering questions from audiences could also hint that she is qualified for the job and has what it takes to represent an institution which effects all nations. Apart from that, the use of these Web 2.0 platforms could also help in giving out a "in-with-the-times" attitude.

Even though I am no social media expert (as if there is one), I think the initiative lacks substance except for may be garnering some publicity and positive press buzz.

Here are my reasons for being skeptical:

  • Even though the MD position in IMF is a hugely important position, I am not sure how it is closely connected with the mass audience. So, I am not sure how many users on these social networking platforms would engage barring media folks. Will the impact of the initiative be powerful enough?
  • The twitter presence seems to be set up primarily for the IMF campaign itself. Now there is nothing new or wrong about it, but I personally think that presence on these platforms would augur well with a long term usage / engagement with audience. All 70 tweets are related to IMF in one way or the other.

Lagarde has been rather keen for the position and her desire for this post has come out really strong in the media. But then, I am not going to make any comment on the same since the post of MD, IMF is really really huge.

It will be interesting to see how the Q&A goes on Facebook / Twitter and whether it makes a positive impact in her bid to become the chief of IMF?

What are your thoughts on her team’s initiative of leveraging social networking platforms in the build-up to her candidature?

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