Booths, Brickbats, Brands and Bollywood: Social media in the 2019 Indian General Elections

In this presentation, we consider the role of social media in the Indian 2019 general elections. Using a mix of collected data on social media use by politicians and open discussion on peoples’ experience with social media in the election cycle, we examine celebrity engagement, online attacks, booth agent interactions, and brand management by politicians. We consider the impacts of these on democratic discourse in India as well as other parts of the global south where politicians increasingly use social media as an alternative to direct engagement with the professional mainstream media.