Jan 3, 2014

A new way to vote - Indian General Elections 2014 with social mobile apps

This entry was written for a contest organised by IndiBlogger and WeChat: here's the contest page

Ok, so everyone (above 18) can vote, and presumably everyone who can vote (at least in urban and semi-urban India) has a phone. Some of them also have smartphones with apps that can do everything from entertain you, to inform you, to keep you in touch with friends (on a second-by-second basis), and even show you pictures of cats doing Aarti with Alok Nath.

So how do you put this massive infrastructure to get people out to vote? For, if past records are any guide, voting in a General Election isn't necessarily always high in priority for people.

Here are some ideas on getting butts to booths:

1. Mobile+Social is a great way to show off your achievements. How about making the casting of a vote as an achievement worth bragging about? And even something that gets publicly commended? Here's one possibility:

- Let's say you go to an election booth to cast your vote. You get 'indelibly' inked on your finger.

- Now, get out, and take a pic of your finger with a mobile app. This sends it to a special a/c (say, a person/group on WeChat) or a twitter a/c or a FB page or an email id.

- Get a personalised autographed pic as a 'thank you' from your favourite film/sports star - people who have signed up to be election ambassadors. (Remember the BCCI-Sachin Tendulkar autographed digital picture). Perhaps even the Chief Election Commissioner or even the President of India!

- Now share that around on your network!

2. Mobile is a great way to get people banded together, to plan for a trip. Use a mobile app to find out when your friends are planning to go visit the polling booth. Or use it to get a lift to the polling booth from someone in your neighbourhood, in case you don't have easy accessibility to the location yourself. Use Mobile for Mobility!


3. Finally, sign up as a volunteer with the mobile app to help (gently) get people in your network out to vote. The app tells you who among your n/w is yet to go out to vote. Give them a call or message them on election day and see how you can get them to go and vote. You can even get a series of avatars in which to make this plea: for example, the Arnab Goswami avatar will help you ask: "the nation demands to know why you haven't yet voted!"

Ok now, go out there, and vote. That's the least you can do for yourself.