Congress looking for social media head: Here are top contenders
Congress has finally woken up from its slumber, or so it seems. The party, which was decimated in the Lok Sabha polls, has launched a hunt for its social media head. The post was previously held by actor-turned-politician Divya Spandana (alias Ramya) but she resigned, for (un)known reasons, after the debacle. With the post vacant for weeks, Congress is now looking to close it.
It was in 2009 when Congress started its social media journey. A couple of influencers ran pro-Congress communities/groups on the now-defunct website Orkut. Between June and October 2013, Congress launched its Facebook and Twitter pages. That time, former Rohtak MP Deepender Hooda was announced as the party's social media head in 2012. The party now has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
In the last couple of years, Congress' social media game improved drastically. The tweets became funnier, crispier, and the party managed to corner BJP on more than one occasion. However, with Divya's resignation, Congress' social media is now back to square one. This vacuum in social media forced KC Venugopal, General Secretary in-charge of the organization, to "meet" some probable candidates.
Evidently, Congress has shortlisted four people for the job. One of the top contenders is Nikhil Alva, who has been managing Rahul Gandhi's accounts since 2017. Delhi-based Alva has been credited for soaring Rahul's Twitter followers from 2.5 million to 10.5 million. Another candidate is Pawan Khera, party's national spokesperson, who has been handling its social media accounts for weeks now.
The third contender for the post is a man named Rohan Gupta, who handled social media campaign for Congress during Gujarat Assembly elections when the party won 77 out of 182 seats. Srivatsa YB, who handled social media for Karnataka Congress and is currently part of Youth Congress' election team, is the fourth contender. Interestingly, none of them have spoken about the post.
According to HT, Congress thought it was high time to appoint a social media head at the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The party's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages have 5.4 million, 5.6 million, and 5,42,000 followers respectively. After Divya's exit, her team is still a part of Congress but they are working without any leader, much like the party.
So how important are social media accounts for political parties? A lot. Abin Theepura, a communications expert who helped parties during campaign, said, "Just as they consume news, party supporters and sympathizers also seek relevant content or information online. So, it's very important to get the messaging strategy spot on and ensure that the right message is delivered on the right digital platform."
Congress desperately needs a makeover and the "right" social media head might do that. But before that, the party has to decide Rahul's successor. If "interim president" Sonia Gandhi handles Congress for long, it will only confirm that the party isn't serious about revamping itself.