Video Editor: Abhishek SharmaWhile Pakistan prepares for what is being touted as one of its dirtiest elections in years on 25 July, courtesy of Pakistani journalist Gul Bukhari, there’s a new player taking the front seat this time around - social media.Social media is playing a pivotal role in this year’s elections and is being used by candidates and their parties extensively for campaigning purposes. Most of these parties have hired professional social media influencers and managers to help boost their social media campaigns.Social media is going to play a major role in the choices that people will be making on election day. It seems that most of the political parties are also investing in them. Also, you have to see the link that social media has with mainstream media. Social media also has this thing you don’t have to be a professional journalist or reporter to actually report on events that are going one. So I think absolutely it can and it will shape the election.Omar R Quraishi, journalistSome of the key reasons why social media is being used so extensively is because it lets them reach out to a large mass of people in a more intimate matter. The youth of Pakistan claim that they can connect to the leaders better and better understand their messages, which is much tougher in a rally.This also makes social media a medium of easy propaganda.It’s a free media. It is also a level playing field. I cannot compete with political parties who can arrange rallies of 50,000 people. The idea isn’t ‘do I have 50,000 followers?’. The idea is ‘do I have resources to cater to those 50,000 people?’ It’s a different scenario. So with free media, I get to put my message across to people. Jibran Nasir, independent candidate, KarachiLocal surveys have concluded that social media activity of candidates is directly propotional to their likeliness to win the elections. This is also because almost 40 percent of the voters this year are the youth, who are very active social media users.While there have been a lot of speculations about how influential social media has been for Pakistan’s political landscape, it will only be post elections that one can be sure whether it was a game changer or not.(With inputs from AP.) We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated. The Quint is now available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, Click here to join.