With the advancement of technology and the increasing power of social networking sites, political parties in Pakistan have begun to take baby steps in making their presence felt online.
The goal of such web politicking is to engage with an estimated 20 million local internet users (a potential vote bank of well-educated, young Pakistanis) as well as to establish the image of the party and provide a touch point for those seeking information. Unfortunately, according to research conducted by The Express Tribune, despite the Pakistani penchant for politics, the web presence of political parties have yet to attain any of the above.
Official website: insaf.pk
PTI has an average of 140,678 monthly visitors, with 506,438 monthly page views. Its traffic is mainly drawn from Pakistan followed by the United Kingdom and the United States.
The PTI website has an up-to-date articles and press release section, but what really attracts the large number of users are its forums. The forums give users a place to talk about trending topics and various issues, with a total number of 39,783 registered users. The PTI website also features a blog section, where office bearers write about current issues and the party. The website also has a paid user section for added content. PTI also has a decent Facebook following with 13,255 people on its official fan page.
Top tweeter @Imrankhanpti Followers 25,109
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz
Official website: pmln.org.pk
The N version of the Muslim League has the most basic website around. It features news reports, press releases, a photo section, leadership list and the party manifesto. It lacks videos, and engaging content, which explains why the site only draws in an average of 98 users per day, with 45 per cent of visitors only viewing one page on every visit. The most annoying design feature of the website is the fact that every hotlink opens a new window or tab. The party presence on social networking sites is minimal.
Top tweeter @CMShahbaz Followers 2,733
All Pakistan Muslim League
Official website: pasdar-e-pakistan.org
While PTI has managed to draw users to its website, Pervez Mushaaraf has managed to do the same without the need for a website. The official website of Pasdar-e-Pakistan (pre-APML) hardly manages to draw 25 users every day, but the Musharraf fan page on Facebook has over 300,000 fans, with an average of 500 to 600 comments and over 1,000 likes on every status update or pictures put up.
Now Musharraf has gotten the art of social networking figured out, he interacts with his fans, infact he even launched his political party on the basis of 300,000 people who want him back. Considering the fact that there are 2,460,480 Facebook users, that is fairly impressive.
Now Musharraf uses a solid strategy of interacting with his. He is always updating his status with past achievements, putting up memorable pictures and one of the best features he has is where fans can ask questions and they are answered via a video.
Top tweeter @PMPakistan Followers 5,214
Muttahida Qaumi Movement
Official website: mqm.org
The MQM has a strong online following which can be seen across multiple official and unofficial Facebook pages and groups and on the website which does moderately well. The site averages around 631 users per day, with 79 per cent of the users coming from Pakistan. The site is heavily reliant on text, video and pictures that promote the party and its leadership. Some sections of the site are multilingual, catering to a wider local audience. In terms of rich content, the site features addresses by party leaders, party songs, letters to activists, poetry, polls and a ‘Study Circle’ section. The site updates frequently with videos, news and interviews.
Top tweeter @Mayorkamal Followers 1,090
Pakistan Peoples Party
Official website: ppp.org.pk
The PPP website ranks abysmally low in terms of traffic. With an average of 3,000 users every month, the party is clearly not interested in engaging users. The website is subpar, with a basic leadership section, office bearers, party history and so on. Nothing that would make you want to go back and visit the website. The audio and video section (with some broken links) is probably the only attractive feature on the site. The PPP does not have a very significant official or unofficial presence on social networking websites.
Top tweeter @SalmaanTaseer Followers 3,875
Published in The Express Tribune, October 8th, 2010.