Kapil Ohri

Anna Hazare: Hero even in the virtual world

afaqs! measures the scale of Hazare's 13-day movement on leading social networks.

After analysing the power of Anna Hazare on social media during the first two days of his fast, afaqs! re-explored Facebook and Twitter on August 29 - this time, to measure the overall scale of the 'India Against Corruption' (IAC) movement from August 16 (the day when Anna was arrested) to August 28 (when Anna broke his fast).

The official Facebook page of India Against Corruption (Facebook.com/IndiaCOR), with 2.8 lakh fans on August 15, witnessed a huge addition of 2.13 lakh fans in just 13 days, and reached 5.01 lakh on August 28. Of that, more than 53,000 fans joined Facebook.com/IndiaCOR on August 16. (The figures are sourced from the Facebook page analytics tool, Buzzref.com).

Anna Hazare: Hero even in the virtual world
Interestingly, the fan base on Facebook.com/IndiaCOR saw a higher rise this time (August) as compared to April 2011, the month when Anna first fasted for his anti-corruption movement. According to Buzzref.com, about 50,000 people joined Facebook.com/IndiaCOR from April to July this year. (Separate figures for April are not available).

The level of interaction also increased significantly on the official IAC Facebook page. In April, the IAC page observed 385 messages, 0.9 lakh 'likes' and 28,000 comments. The month of August, on the other hand, gauged 314 messages, 1.9 lakh 'likes' and 37,000 comments, as per Buzzref.com data.

It's important to note that apart from the official IAC Facebook page, more than 150 other pages (created unofficially in support of Anna) also exist. Considering the vast involvement, it could well be assumed that the activities on these pages must also have skyrocketed during the 13-day movement.

One such instance is the increase in the number of fans on an unofficial Facebook page, titled 'Join Anna Hazare's fast To Bring the Jan Lokpal Bill' (Facebook.com/joinanna) from 38,000 (on August 17) to about 59,600 (on August 29).

Twitter, too, reflected widespread participation of people in Anna's anti-corruption movement.

Messages related to the movement dominated Twitter conversations throughout the fasting period. People consistently talked about Anna Hazare, Jan Lokpal, Ramlila Maidan (the centre of Anna's fast), Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal on the micro-blogging site. More than 1.7 lakh tweets mentioned 'Anna Hazare', 1.5 lakh tweets mentioned 'Jan Lokpal' and 32,000 tweets referred 'Ramlila Maidan' during August 16-27.

Interestingly, the above keywords and other topics associated with the movement became part of Twitter's India Trending list a number of times, in the 13 days. On August 17, eight out of 10 and on August 27, seven out 10 Trending Topics on Twitter (India) mentioned Anna Hazare's movement.

Hashtag '#isupportannahazare', with more than 8,000 tweets, was the top Trending Topic on Twitter (India) on August 17. Other keywords like 'Anna Hazare', 'Jan Lokpal' and 'Ramlila Maidan' also remained part of the Trending Topics list of Twitter (India) at various points in time during Anna's fasting period.

Not just the masses, even Anna's team seemed to be active on Twitter via IAC's official account (Twitter.com/Janlokpal; @Janlokpal) throughout the movement. They posted more than 2,100 messages (approximately 1,500 in the 13 days on @Janlokpal) in August, compared to 1,150 in April.

The impact of these messages could be ascertained from the fact that the Klout score of @Janlokpal jumped from 68 to 80 in 13 days. Klout.com determines the influential power of a Twitter handle. The number of followers increased from 35,000 on August 15 to 1.09 lakh on Aug 28.

Anna Hazare: Hero even in the virtual world
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