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Three years counts as several lifetimes on social media. Twitter may have been the dominant platform mastered by then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016 but it likely will not be the way most voters learn about the crowded field of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.
Instead, Instagram – a photo platform focused more on storytelling through images– has become the place for Senator Elizabeth Warren to crack open a beer, for Beto O’Rourke to turn a trip to the dentist into a policy discussion and for Senator Kamala Harris to dance to Beyonce. Experts say candidates can dominate the social media game during the 2020 election by mastering tone, not platform.
”Instagram Stories has become a place where people can really weave together a lot of different types of content and engage with people that aren’t necessarily watching the day to day Twitter wars,” Alex Wall, the director of digital strategy for the Obama White House and for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, tells VOA. Wall – who is now a vice president of digital engagement at the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank – says candidates are seeking to imitate the way voters use these platforms in their daily lives, mixing sports, news, entertainment and friend updates all in one feed.
Twitter remains dominated by people who follow politics for a living – journalists, analysts and politicians themselves taking to the platform to engage with issues on a level most casual voters don’t have time to closely follow.
Instagram Live and Instagram Stories did not exist during the 2016 campaign, although Facebook Live did debut in April 2016. The spread of easily accessible live video – essentially a free broadcasting platform for anyone with a phone – could be a game changer for candidates at this early stage of the presidential campaign.
During the 2016 election, campaign social media posts outpaced campaign websites and emails as the lead source for voters seeking information on presidential candidates. 24% of all adults turned to social media posts, with voters aged 18-29 heading to social media in the largest numbers at 37%, according to a Pew Research study.
“The presidential candidates this cycle really know that they need to come across as genuine and relatable and not packaged or distant,” says Molly O’Rourke, the director of American University’s master’s program on political communication. “Social media is such a valuable tool for them to do that. It allows the candidates to communicate directly, kind of more informally, and in real time, it’s more like a conversation.”
Even though it is very early in the election cycle, some candidates are outpacing others. Mayor Pete Buttigieg has gained the most followers on Instagram of any of the 21 declared presidential candidates, likely thanks in part to the active social media presence of his husband and his dog. Senator Kamala Harris led the field in social media interactions, notching 16.5 million Facebook and Twitter interactions in a three-month span, according to an Axios analysis.
The early stages of the race benefit social media experimentation.
“We’re just still so far out from Iowa that we’re in a spot where candidates are trying to raise money, trying to develop some kind of lane, some kind of niche,” says Dave Karpf, Associate Professor of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University. “You have everyone playing around.”
Wall says the number one challenge for a digital strategist is to find a social media voice that is consistent with the candidate. The current level of informality and experimentation on social media may benefit the younger candidates who are more comfortable with the platforms. Cory Booker has been taking selfies with voters for years. Beto O’Rourke takes Facebook Live questions while driving to and from campaign stops.
“I don’t think Kamala, or Pete could use Instagram in quite the same way that you know, a Joe Biden or a Bernie Sanders,” says Wall. “They’re just very different ages, very different people and so finding a way to use the platform that is true to their voice, and true to who they are as a candidate is really key.” That is a striking difference from former President Obama or candidate Clinton, who both came of age politically in very different media environments.
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These much more social-media savvy candidates will also have to prove their worth in taking on President Trump. According to an August 2018 Pew Research survey, only 14% of Americans changed their views on an issue because of something they saw on social media. But Wall thinks the Democratic field will find success against Trump in 2020 by turning social media back to its intended purpose, as a forum for discussion.
“Trump has weaponized Twitter,” Wall says, noting that the Democratic field is already adept at using social media platforms for question and answer sessions with voters “The American people are really hungry for a dialogue on social media. That’s how you use social media. And I think with Trump, we’ve really lost that.” (VOA)
India is known for its pickles, popularly called 'Achaar', even across the world. But who thought about the idea of pickles in the first place? Apparently, the idea of making pickles first came from the ancient civilisation of Mesopotamia, where archaeologists have found evidence of cucumbers being soaked in vinegar. This was done to preserve it, but the practice has spread all over the world today, that pickles mean so much more than just preserved vegetables.
In India, the idea of pickle has nothing to do with preservation, rather pickle is a side dish that adds flavour and taste to almost anything. In Punjab, parathas are served with pickle; in the south, pickle and curd rice is a household favourite, and in Andhra, it is a staple, eaten with everything. The flavour profile of pickles in each state is naturally different, suited to each cuisine's taste. Pickles are soaked in oil and salt for at least a month, mixed with spices and stored all year round. Mango season is often synonymous with pickle season as a majority of Indians love mango pickle. In the coastal cities, pickles are even made out of fish and prawns.
The Indian Achaar Image credit: Photo by Rahat Hossen on Unsplash
In other cultures, the pickling process has more to do with preservation. Cold countries, where temperatures drop to very low levels, pickle their vegetables in brine, vinegar, or salt. Sweden is famous for pickled herring, because fishing all year round is hard with all the snow and ice. The German Sauerkraut, originally composed of rice, cabbage, and wine, is now made using salt instead of wine. This gives it a sour flavour that is characteristic of the beloved German delicacy.
In Korea, kimchi is the national delicacy. It is a pickle that is made from pickled cabbages with a distinct mix of spices. Kimchi is made with various core ingredients, and is gaining popularity these days with the Korean Wave hitting the globe. It is a practice that represents the Korean winters, which are too harsh to grow anything. The Kimchi business is one of the largest in Korea, while the individual family recipes are also well-preserved as it is believed that each is unique in its own way.
The pickles made from dill and vinegar are most famous in America. It was introduced to the Americans by the Jewish immigrants. Dill pickles are best paired with sandwiches.
Keywords: Pickles, Culture, Brine, Vinegar, Preserves
It is impossible to detail the history of bookbinding without understanding the need for it. A very useful, and yet simple invention, spiral coils that hold books together and allow mobile access to the user came about just before WWII, but much before that, paper underwent a massive change in production technique.
Beginning in China, paper was made of bamboo sticks slit open and flattened. In Egypt, papyrus was made from the reeds that grew in the Nile. In India, long, rectangular strips of palm leaves were stitched together to form legible documents. When monasteries were established, scrolls came into being. Parchment paper, or animal hide, also known as vellum, were used to copy out texts periodically to preserve them. Prior to all this, clay tablets were used to record important events, and in some cases, rock edicts were made.
But all this changed with the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg. Paper became the medium by which inscriptions, announcements, and almost everything was made. Once paper became so accessible, printing began in full scale. Newspapers and the Bible were printed every day.
Metal coils were used before the world war Image credit: Photo by Dan Bucko on Unsplash
With wads of paper, something had to be done about keeping them together. Bookbinding began as a booming business. First, the pages were just sewn together. A special sewing machine was invented just for books. When this did not suit all book types, the process of punching and binding began. Holes were punched in books, and they were tied together.
Much later, an adhesive thermoplastic strip became available by which book pages were stuck together. They sold in this format for a long time. Ideas began to flow in for notebooks when people discovered that they could attach pieces of paper together. A machine was invented that drew lines. This made it easier for people who wrote a lot.
After a while, when people got used to having their books a certain way, The Spiral Binding Company opened in 1932, which changed the way bookbinding was done. Books could now be bound by coil and this was not only economical, but also convenient, because pages could easily be turned without breaking the bind. The original spiral bind coil was made of metal, but when supplies were rationed during WWII, they were made from plastic. This trend has remained to the present day, where spiral bound books are preferred to the other kinds of binding except in cases of publishing and official documentation.
Keywords: Spiral Binding, WWII, Paper, Books, Printing
By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe
To keep the value and quality of what you offer, whether it's a romantic breakfast in bed or a royal wedding gift that will be remembered for years. The concept of gift-giving has taken on a number of shapes in today's society. Devina Singhania, the Founder of 'LE JAHAAN', a local home and decor accessories company, explains how the gifting paradigm has shifted.
Q: What do consumers expect from the gifting business and packaging designers these days?
A: Today's consumers are expecting more minimal sustainable products, designs and mediums. They are now more conscious about how their purchase affects the environment. Considering this shift in consumer buying, it's extremely important for companies to increase their commitments to responsible business practices and design products that are meant to be reused or recycled.
Today's consumers are expecting more minimal sustainable products, designs and mediums. | Photo by Superkitina on Unsplash
Q: The practice of self-gifting is being driven by millennials. What are your thoughts on the subject?
A: I absolutely agree with this. Millennials are so creative and expressive. They are more into personalized products with which they can tell the world something about themselves. We are often hired by millennials to monogram and personalize products for them. They truly believe it's the best way to stand out from the crowd and establish a signature style and we couldn't agree more.
We are often hired by millennials to monogram and personalize products for them. | Photo by freestocks on Unsplash
Q: What impact do colour trends have on gift designs and packaging?
A: 'Le Jahaan' has always been very influenced by colour and trends and we hope to continue this association with colour even while we break through to more sustainable products and collections.
'Le Jahaan' has always been very influenced by colour and trends | Photo by freestocks on Unsplash
Q: What has changed as a result of the pandemic in terms of how we commemorate special occasions and the gift-giving tradition?
A: It's smaller in quantity but more luxurious and thought through.
Q: What giving trends should one keep an eye on in 2022?
A: Consumers, including millennials and members of Generation Z, are especially concerned with sustainability. So, the trend is definitely to go green with eco-friendly.
Q: How does Le Jahaan keep its clients coming back?
A: Our products speak for themselves. We make small batches with exceptional quality with a personal touch.
(Article originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: gifts, le jahaan, festive, millennials, sustainable, gen z, paradigm, gifting