behaviour developed as a result of the introduction of Behaviour approach in
Study of political science. Political Scientists like David Easton, Karl
Deustsch, Theodore Adrono etc., were the key proponents of this school. They
based their study of politics on this new approach and criticized the
traditional approach. Behavioralist used empirical method to validate their
studies.1 Behavioralism, which was
one of the dominant approaches in the 1950s and ’60s, is the view that the
subject matter of political science should be limited to phenomena that are
independently observable and quantifiable. It assumes that political
institutions largely reflect underlying social forces and that the study of
politics should begin with society, culture, and public opinion. To this end,
behavioralists utilize the methodology of the social
sciences—primarily psychology—to establish statistical relationships between
independent variables (presumed causes) and dependent variables (presumed
example, a behavioralist might use detailed election data to support his
argument that the voter of certain area which is rural, tend to vote for
conservative politician where else that of another area, a rather more urban
setting, would vote for a liberal politician. This approach thus not only
considered the intuition behind an action but also relied on statistical data
to supplement their findings and validate them. One of the notable contribution
to behavrialist revolution was made by David Easton. He laid down characteristics
of Behaviour revolution :-31.
Regularities –That there exist uniformity of
behaviour amongst the individuals regarding the proposed subject or idea. It
regards that the individuals behave in an uniform manner towards a certain
Verification – It connotes to the ability to verify
the generalization. As behavrialist relied upon statistics, they were able to
verify their findings with the help of the data collected.3.
Techniques – Behavrialist use various methods
borrowed from other sciences to collect and interpret data in order to
eliminate every possible discrepancy in the results. They adopted a more
Quantification – Every data is tried to be represented
Values – Behaviouralists, unlike the trend in
earlier days when political behaviour was associated with normative ways ie., –
in perspective of values and norms, were cautious while analysing data as they
tend to keep values based judgement and empirical judgement different. 6.
Systematisation – It refers to the importance of
theory. This speaks of the importance behaviouralist gave to structure in their
research. Their research aimed at finding the truth or a general principle to
form part of a theory. 7.
Pure Science – Behaviouralist adopt the methods of
natural science in their research and thus attach great importance and pride to their
conclusion and on its efficiency and reliability. Further
Political Behaviour is influenced by Political Participation, Political culture
and Political Communication.4 To
understand how social media exerts its influence on political behaviour it is
important to understand what the thrusts of political behaviour are. 1. Political Culture – It refers to the state of political awareness in the society or
amongst the citizens. It is the state of awareness of citizens on political
issues and stakes. 2. Political Participation – it has to do with the involvement of citizens in the political
affairs of the country. Participation can be direct or indirect, or by
influencing the composition of the government, or policies that are made and
the practices that are instituted. 3. Political Communication – importance of political communication can be shown by the fact that
many state tend to regulate the media such as TV, radio, Social media and
concerned about the kind of information which is disseminated in their polity
regarding them. Political communication influences opinion on issues of
politics and has a major influence on political behaviour. EVOLUTION OF SOCIAL
MEDIA AS TOOL OF COMMUNICATION IN POLITICS What is Social media? Social media are
computer-related technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of
information, ideas and other forms of expression via virtual communities and
networks. They are interactive webpages and provides user-generated content. Social
media links the profile of users with each other to facilitate the development
of online social network.5 Social
Media has rapidly grown in importance as a forum for political activism in its
different forms. Social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube
provide new ways to stimulate citizen engagement in political life, where
elections and electoral campaigns have a central role.Personal
communication via social media brings politicians and parties closer to their
potential voters. It allows politicians to communicate faster and reach
citizens in a more targeted manner and vice versa, without the intermediate
role of mass media. Reactions, feedback, conversations and debates are
generated online as well as support and participation for offline events.
Messages posted to personal networks are multiplied when shared, which allow
new audiences to be reached.Prior to the
advent of technological platforms political actions and politics excluded a
large mass of population. Thus there was little or no participation on the part
of individuals in politics. With the development of telecommunication and
internet people have been included in the political processes, and in the
politics of the country. They are now able to discuss, create activist group, and
organize demonstration at a larger scale. Social media has enabled them to
reach to a wide array of audience in a short duration. This allows for
efficient and more spontaneous communication amongst the citizens. Also it
makes the state more accountable and its activities more transparent.Social media has
proved to be ubiquitous and most efficient mode of dissemination of
information. In the case of Philipine President who was ousted due to mass
protest mainly organized through text messaging in 2001 marks one of the
earliest interjection of social media and political behaviour, thus affecting
the politics. Later in 2004, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Estrada was
forced to quit his office due to mass protest organized swiftly under aegis of
social media and text messaging. These were the times when SNSs were still on
the rise as the now prominent SNSs like facebook and Twitter were started in
2004 & 2006 respectively. It was the 2008
US presidential elections that saw massive usage of SNSs in which Barack Obama
was quick to gain an upper hand. It can’t be denied that massive popularity of
Obama during the elections on internet helped him win the elections. Political
institutes have been quick to understand the role that social media can play. That
is why in the second decade many nations have reformed their old laws regarding
print media and social media. Later on in Iran in 2009, social media played a
pivotal role in the Presidential elections that saw the return of Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad to office for the second consecutive term. Anonymity of identity on
internet played crucial role in its popularity. Platforms such as twitter and
blogs coupled with their widespread base and ability to remain anonymous
allowed them organize protest and activist groups. Although the protest didn’t
bear fruit it rather led to more stringent laws on social media in Iran.
Similarly Belarus email campaign which was protesting against the second term
of President Aleksandr Lukashenko, when the protest were crushed, he adopted a
strict policy towards social media. Similarly ill-fated was the 2010 Red Shirt
Uprising in Thailand. SOCIAL MEDIA IN INDIAN POLITICS General election
in 2014 conducted to constitute the 16th lok sabha witnessed a
prolific use of social media in the election. Platform like Facebook, twitter,
Youtube were used for general awareness both by government and political
parties to promote voting, marketing/promotion of their propaganda.6 Social media was
used for –1.
General Awareness – Social media platforms were used to make public about party and
their candidate, it was used to share their profile manifesto and view. Several
NGO’s used it to popularize the importance of voting and encouraging voting.
Google introduced “Google Election Tracker”, and Pledge to Vote campaign.
Facebook also started an election tracker “Facebook election tracker”and
started a Talk series which featured some famous politicians. Thus, as evident
social media was used to promote and spread awareness about elections and
political parties. 2.
Marketing – According to ASSOCHAM, less than 10% of total marketing budget of
all political parties was utilised in social media based marketing. Also, new
innovative methods were used by PR’s of Political parties to grasp the
advantage via social media sites. Features like real time conversation to many
people aided in garnering such popularity of politicians in such a short span.
It is estimated that As many as
70% first time voters (12 crore) of the age group between 18-23 years were believed
to be using social media platforms.7
And hence to capture thissignificant chunk of the voters, political
parties geared up their efforts to fit themselves into the communication habits
of such people.3.
Poll Prediction and Trend
analysis – Search
Engine Optimization (SEO) is also a quite popular technique that is generally
used by the corporate people. In this technique a person or an organization can
improve their chances of getting reflected as the top search result in Google.
Many times it is done through some algorithm, however in this election paid marketing
(known as content marketing) were used more. This method has been used adopted
with few modifications to stimulate exit poll results based on the trends. It
even involved some running a virtual election and where every user was asked to
cast their virtual vote.8
media has had an intense amount of effect on Indian Politics and has also
affected the political culture. This has certainly led to a new age of
political communication and for politics in general. Most government now tend
to remain active on social media and SNSs to maintain their popularity. Various
political institutes use social media to promote their idea and propaganda.All these events
have demonstrated the far reaching impact of social media on politics. Social
media in all these events has been used to achieve Political communication.
This is achieved as opinions, views, ideas are shared and propagated around a
large audience, thus enables a political issue to reach many people who might
participate in that matter. It increases participation in either direct or
indirect way. Participation is achieved by allowing individuals to vote which
is largely formed on the basis of political culture which is synthesized using
political communication thus, social media creates a ripple across various
factor that govern the political behaviour. Social media
though important may not really play a decisive role. As many analyst argue
that social media did play an important role in communicating but did not play
a decisive role. It rather acted as a catalyst.9
Although later on in a survey by a Dubai government related office, on the
basis of the analysis of growth rate on Facebook and Twitter, changes in
traffic, and demographic conclusion, it was concluded by the authors of the
report that social media played a vital role in mobilization, empowerment,
shaping opinions and influencing change during the Arab Spring.10 It can though
largely be said that social media is much of a megaphone. Its impact on
Political Communication, Political Knowledge and Political Culture is not
uniform. It casts a huge influence on Political communication which is then
reflected as political behaviour. A study by United Stated of Peace based on
short URL links from Tunasia, Bahrain, Egypt and Libya gathered data which
later on showed that social media helped in spreading information outside
region and not much else.11 On the basis of
such events following is a list of the ways in which politics has changed
politics; behaviour and politics – 1.
Direct Contact – Social media allows for a direct contact with large audience at a
particular time, this allows the political actors to interact by circumventing
the traditional paid and print media.2.
Advertising – Various political institutes use social media to advertise that too
without any cost. Especially political parties for the purpose of campaign.
This allows them to use the large subscriber base of these established
Fundraising – Some campaigns use social media for the purpose of raising large
amounts. It allows institutes to gather support and seek financial aid in form
Controversial – Social media often causes controversy, due to the absence of any
nodal regulating authority to filter the content which is published on the
social media. 5.
Feedback – Social
media allows for receiving feedback, which can be used to form policies,
feedback allows for the political institutes to better cater to the needs of
1Guy, James John (2000-08-01). People, Politics and
Government: A Canadian Perspective. Pearson Education Canada.
2 Sofroniou, Andrews
(2017). Political System Norms and Laws.
3 Riemer, Neal (1997). The New World of Politics: An Introduction to
Political Science. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-939693-41-0.
4 Alan, B. (1965) Modern’
Politics and Government, London, Macmillan Press.
5 Obar, Jonathan A.; Wildman, Steve (2015). “Social media
definition and the governance challenge: An introduction to the special
issue”. Telecommunications policy. 39 (9): 745–750.
6 Kemp, Simon (2014).
“Social, Digital and Mobile in India”.
7 Social media and
Loksabha Elections: A report by IAMAI available on http://www.esocialsciences.org/General/A2013412184534_19.pdf (last visited : 20/1/2018).
8 A case study on
Strategy and tactics behind creation of brand Narendra Modi by Shamni Pandey,
9 Stepanova, Eketerina.
(2011) “The role of Information Communication technologies in the “Arab
10 Salem, Fadi; Mourtada, Racha (May 2011). “Civil
Movements: The Impact of Facebook and Twitter”.
Sean, Henry Farrell, Marc Lynch, John Sides, and Deen Freelon. “Blogs
and Bullets II: New Media Peaceworks:
United States Institute for Peace. July 2012.