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Thursday, Apr 14, 2011
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TIRUCHI: The exuberance of the young population in exercising their franchise has been ricocheting off the ‘walls' on Facebook, reflecting not only in the high turnout but on social media sites as well. Whether it was egging on friends and colleagues to vote, or announcing on cyber space that they have ‘done the duty', Facebook statuses, You Tube videos, tweets and text messages were redolent with election talk on poll day.
While one of the ‘Tiruchi pages on Facebook' dedicated to the city urged citizens to ‘vote for better person for a better tomorrow', the most popular page with more than 3000 followers hosted a countdown of sorts, ‘Just one more hour left; go, go, go and vote'.
Status updates ran the whole gamut, from moderate campaigning to creating awareness, sandwiching a range of emotions in between. While engineering student Srihari Sankaran's status read, ‘Don't talk to me if you don't vote today', others like Nirmala appealed to friends to ‘shed laziness', go out and vote.
Updates also reflected excitement of first-time voters, experience of waiting in long queues but asserting it was worth it and allusions to ‘blue' fingers.
While there were instances of rooting for a particular party, most of the campaigning veered towards ‘voting' per se. Anti-incumbency sentiments did not spare the social network either with ‘vote for change' being echoed significantly .
The ‘49 0 option' curried favour with a section of youth, with posts foisting it as the ‘preferred symbol'. Students like Michael Raja, among those who endorsed the option on social media, were candid in asserting, “I didn't feel any candidate was worth voting for. So, I used Facebook to share my views, as it was the easiest and fastest way to communicate.”
The role of the visual medium cannot be denied, with a flurry of videos gaining popularity on You Tube. Videos employed stirring music, striking visuals, firebrand speeches and even ‘zoo zoos'- introduced by a leading mobile operator, in stimulating youth to use their rights. Phone networks have also been busy with students goading friends to participate in the democratic process.
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