India Witnesses First Social Media Prime Minister in Narendra Modi

India got its first social media prime minister in Narendra Modi.  The three time chief minister of Gujarat will soon sworn as the 15th prime minister of India after his landslide victory trouncing the ruling United Progressive Alliance led by Congress. During the general election 2014, Narendra Modi became the second most-liked politician on Facebook behind only  Barack Obama, president of United States of America. Obama is also popularly called “first Social Media President of USA”.

Modi’s tweet proclaiming the victory of the Bharitya Janta Party(BJP) is testament to the fact that people are connecting with political leaders online.  The tweet  has become the most retweeted tweet from India in Twitter’s history. Till May 18, 2014, it has received 68,750  retweets and had been favourited 29,000 times.


Maximum RT and Favourited  tweet in India till now.  Pic: Twitter

Maximum RT and Favourited tweet in India till now.
Pic: Twitter

This was the first social media election for 1.2 billion strong India with the advent of Social Media giants in India, namely Facebook and Twitter, whose users run into million from urban areas to rural areas. Modi  from Bhartiya Janta Party gets the credit for first initiator on social media platforms when most of the politicians were busy ridiculing the emerging social media tools as “waste of time” and impersonal way to connect to masses. Even, Lalu Prasad Yadav, former chief minister of Bihar, known for his rustic behaviour fell for Twitter. He is now an active twitter user keeping intact his humour on the micro blogging site.  Earlier, he had criticized the use of social media.  In run up to the elections,  Facebook, the US based social media giant came up with  dedicated  Facebook ELECTION TRACKER to monitor political conversation on elections in India.

According to Facebook, “From the day elections were announced to the day polling ended, 29 million people conducted 227 million interactions (posts, comments, shares, and likes) regarding the elections on Facebook. In addition, 13 million people conducted 75 million interactions regarding  Narendra Modi.”

 Modi has 14.3 million fans — The Fastest-Growing Number on FACEBOOK  and  4,158,031 followers on TWITTER , the micro blogging site

In India,  814 million were eligible voters, and the interest in this year election was palpable — a record breaking 66% voter turn -out.In few of the parliamentary constituencies in Gujarat,  the voter turnout  crossed 70 %.  There is no denying to the fact that people, young & old are  turning to popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to talk  & engage on politics. In India, Facebook already had relatively high penetration in India, with 100 million active users.  According to published article in Quartz “On April 30—the day that 89 of India’s 543 constituencies went to the polls—696,000 election-related tweets were sentSince Jan1, the breakdown of tweets for the various national candidates/parties has been 34% for Narendra Modi or his Bharatiya Janata Party, 27% for Arvind Kejriwal or the Aam Admi Party, 4% for Rahul Gandhi or the Indian National Congress.”

The Facebook Election Tracker sums up the story well for elections in India- BJP and Narendra Modi tops the chart, while congress stood at last behind the newbie Aam Aadmi Party, on the last day of the elections.

BJP and Modi tops the chart, congress at the bottom.  Credit: India Tracker/Facebook India

BJP and Modi tops the chart, congress at the bottom.
Credit: India Tracker/Facebook India

The general elections 2014  reemphasized the fact that do not  underestimate the power of a tweet or a post in this globally wireless connected world! Modi landslide victory has proved all the social media critics wrong, especially his political opponents who we were more critical of his communication strategy of using social media extensively.

Social networking giant #Facebook said “29 million people in India have made 227 million interactions through posts, comments, shares, and likes about the elections from the day they were announced.

General Elections 2014 on Facebook  Credit : FacebookIndia

General Elections 2014 on Facebook
Credit : FacebookIndia

Rahul Gandhi, scion of Gandhi family and the face of Indian National Congress (INC) during general elections has no social media presence. Despite the fact that, he  is the young face of  Congress.

Today youth in India is social media mobile & savvy. They are tweeting, posting, sharing  from everything under the Sun.This time, youths were very much part of this elections and they participated in a big way.  They are vociferously demanding for a better future, jobs and amenities.During Modi’s victory speech in Vadodara, the parliamentary constituency from where Modi won by a margin of over 5 lakh votes, he gave due credit to role of social media in spreading the message  of ab ki baar Modi sarkaar far and wide”

Narendra Modi respecting the power of social media in his victory speech has stated that- “Due to social media, lies & false promises of several leaders could not go beyond the podiums of their rallies! More power to social media ,”

It is yet to be seen how social media euphoria translates into real work on ground level.  This will be watched closely by online & offline !


Best Pratice on Social Media-Curate Well

Content that inspires, amuses, informs or assists people.

Content that inspires, amuses, informs or assists people.


“The best practice is to curate valuable content. This means content that inspires, amuses, informs, or assists people. Other than cheating by buying followers, it’s the only way to do this.”

10 Simple Things to Plan for Successful TweetChat

1. #Hashtag

– Choose wisely. Register Hashtags on  Or  and share the link for participants to register. Use it in all your  online communications materials be it graphic or text.


2. Duration, Time & Day

-Select date &  time carefully. Choose after  traditional  working hours  of 10am-6pm.  Tweet chat  works well on Weekends. If it is an official chat for an organisation/brand it can be very well be accommodated into working hours.  The  duration can be of minimum 30 minutes and max an hour.


Tweetchat by Lawtoons


3. Topic

– Find a topical issues based on your brand/cause/organisation need & requirement.  The topic should evince interest among the social media users & participants.


4. Confirm Participants Or Panelists in Advance

-Make a list of invited participants or panelists in advance( twitter handle & 14 0 characters intro.). Get prior confirmation of their presence.  Look for subject experts  who has good social media presence.  If they are regular user of Twitter, then it is icing on the cake. Share the questions in advance with them so, they are better prepared.


5. Promotion of Tweet Chat  Through FB/Twitter/Web

-Design  Facebook event page with graphics with 5w and 1h (Why, What, Where, When, Who and How) . Also,  design  cover page of twitter in advance. Invite your friends & colleges. Schedule regular tweets in run up to the tweet chat through official twitter handle.  Identify twitter handles relevant to topic and DM them or mention them in your tweets and request for RT. If the panelists are on Facebook, tag them on event graphic with relevant information.  The website can create a separate page  with full information and relevant links.Create e-mailers for participation and sharing the news.


Tweet Chat - TheMeruki



6. Tweet Chat Moderator

– The role of tweet chat moderator is  just like  a virtual anchor who facilities the tweet chat conversation. Appreciate comments and add inputs to make the chat engaging. RT interesting Tweets. Also, share relevant facts & figure during the session. He /She must be social media savvy.


7. Tools to be Used

– Tweet Deck ( is must use for Tweet chat session. Moderator can handle multiple accounts on a single go. It gives you flexibility to have a separate column for Hashtags. You can easily monitor what participants are saying. It  also helpful in scheduling tweets in advance.


8. Thank You Shout for Supporters !

– Do not miss thanking each & everyone who participated in the tweet chat. Design a lovely graphics or publicly  acknowledge their support.  It does add positive value and long time engagement with the social media users.


9. Documentation

– Storify it. (  Create an account on storify and make a tweet chat storyboard like Q1 and selected  answers from different panelists on Q1.

– use Or to analysis the impact of tweet chat on analysis.

– It can be converted into a PDF and can be shared on official website.  Share it with all the participants.

Examples, Check :


 10. Enjoy.

– Makes good connection, lot of insights and it does amplify & spread your reach online.


Can Modi Do a Barack Obama in General Elections 2014 ?

Social media in India is an evolving trend, and this general elections result might start a new discourse for elections to come. However, it will be interesting to wait and watch, whether the popular online sentiments, and the millions likes, thousands of share and million tweets can translates into REAL VOTES .

A comparative analysis of USA President Barack Obama and BJP Prime Minister candidate, Narendra Modi in General Elections 2014


General Elections 2014 in India, A Litmus Test for Social Media

This  General Elections 2014  in India is going to be a litmus test for Social Media too, other than the traditional political rhetoric .  The expansion  & reach of social media platforms have grown phenomenally in last five years in India.  In  General Elections, held in year  2009,  social media has no influence & reach . In  General Election in 2014, social media is buzzword among politicians and electorate alike.  For many of the electoral battle in urban  India,  Face book likes and Tweets  will be a deciding factor in winning or losing of a candidate.

General Elections 2014- A social Media Litmus test

According to a report published in April 2013 by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and the Mumbai-based Iris Knowledge Foundation, Face book users will “wield a tremendous influence” over the results of the polls in 160 social media sensitive constituencies of India’s 543 parliamentary  constituencies.

 The two popular social media platforms, Face book, with over 90 million users  and twitter, a micro blogging site, has over 33 million  users in India. With less than two day to  go for General Elections 2014,  one of the big question remains how much social media  will influence the outcome of  elections in India ?

 Young & social media active voters in India 

General elections in India are BIG but this time it is also YOUNG.  According to Election  Commission of India,  the total electorate  is approx.  814.5 million compared to 713 million in 2009. This  marks an increase of more than 100 million electorate.

There has been a remarkable increase in the enrollment of electors in the age group of 18 to 19  years. Over 23 million electors are in this age group. Electors in the age group of 18 to 19 years now constitute 2.88% of total electors, against 0.75% in 2009.

So, there is major push from political parties to “Catch them Young”  voters,  and what better place than social media platforms.  According to  We are Social, over 213 million  Indians  are using the internet,  17  per cent of total population and approx 94  percent of these are on Face book, 78 per cent on Google plus,  and 67 per cent on Twitter. The Mobile internet penetration  has reached  to 11  per cent. The  young populace  are spending over 2 hours and 26 minutes  on an average on social media.

Political Parties Hitching to Social Media Bandwagon

The main two political parties- Bharitya Janta Party(BJP), the first mover on social media platform,  &  Congress  have invested highly in social media promotions & outreach in a bid to capture  the mind space of the voters. Also, Aam Aadmi Party with its unique social media strategy is making inroads to garner online attention. They are making the best use of social media platforms to woo urban & young voters active on social media platforms  from innovative  online promotion, to tweet chat, Google + hangouts, Facebook live, dedicated You Tube channels  to  WhatsApp, a mobile messenger service.

BJP’s prime ministerial candidate  Narendra Modi’s (NaMo  on social Media)  takes the lead in social media popularity chart, followed by former union minister Shashi Tharoor,  who was among the first to be active on social media platforms.   Now, there is a mad rush among  politicians to hitch the bandwagon of social media before it is too late.  Even, veteran leaders   Mulayam Singh Yadav  of Samajwadi Party and Lalu Prasad Yadav  of  Rashtriya Janta Dal , who once detested “Computer” and “English Language”  have bitten by the social media bug.

Today, young voters are social media active. They  are  voicing their opinion and canvassing for their popular leaders on social media platforms and influencing decisions within  their contacts,  household with a close reach to information on their laptops or on mobile handsets.

 Election Comission of India Gearing Up For Social Media 

Election Commission of India sensing the power  & impact of social media has already  issued  strict guidelines for using social media platforms  by political parties.  This is for the  first time, Election commission will keeping a close eye on the expenditure incurred on social media promotion.Mobile and internet technology is changing the face of election observation, too. ECI will also be live streaming the voting from selected polling stations in the country.


Social media in India is an evolving trend, and this general elections result might start a new discourse  for elections to come. However, it will be interesting to wait and watch, whether the popular  online sentiments, and the millions likes, thousands of share and  million tweets can translates into REAL VOTES  .


-Kumar Manish (@kumarmanish9)

** The article can be republished with due credit to  its original author.


India fairs poor in Internet Freedom, says Transparency Report of Google

India, second country in the globe  to lead in the top 10 countries requesting user information from January to June 2013 from search engine giant, Google. However, USA tops the list with 10,981 requests followed by India with 2,691 requests  to Google. This  was revealed by  Transparency Report published by  search engine giant Google.

According to the Google, out of the total request, 64 per cent requests were provided with desired information.


According to  the report since 2010, “requests from governments for user information have increased by more than 100 percent. This comes as usage of our services continues to grow, but also as more governments have made requests than ever before. And these numbers only include the requests we’re allowed to publish.”

This very much highlights Government of India steps to curtail the Internet freedom with draconian law and also keeping a watch over internet to monitor users in India. However,  the nature of requests from the government of India to Google has not been categorized whether the requests are  political in nature, regarding national security or for any other issues.

By year 2014, India will have 243 million internet users, surpassing  USA which has the second largest internet base in the world, according to the I-Cube 2013 report, released by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International

At present, China leads with more than 300 million internet users while the US has an estimated 207 million internet users. (Source: TOI)

The  “draconian”  section 69 of the 2008 Information Technology (Amendment) Act, empowers the Indian government to direct any Internet service to block, intercept, monitor, or decrypt “any information through any computer resource.”

In April 2011 the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India,  issued new guidelines for “intermediaries” (such as internet service providers, website hosting service providers, search engines and online payment sites), under which Internet companies are expected to remove content that regulators deem “grossly harmful,” ”harassing,” or “ethnically objectionable” within 36 hours. Failure to comply could land companies with fines or possible jail time.




Dial “*325#” on Mobile to access free of cost Political Candidate history

Now,  access political candidate fighting election with push of a call on your mobile phone free of cost.  In run up to upcoming general elections in India, New Delhi based Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and  Facebook, social media giant have joined hands to provide citizens up-to-date candidates’ information on the mobile phone in an easy and an accessible way. 

The information will be available on upcoming state assembly elections and Parliamentary (Lok Sabha) Elections to help  voters make an informed choice.Voters In India will now be able to access election candidates’ criminal, financial, educational, professional etc. information directly on their mobile via Facebook using Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD). USSD is a technology that helps people access facebook on phones without Internet. USSD is a technology that all GSM phones (over 90% of all phones today) across prices and complexity are equipped with. USSD allows text experiences on phones that are richer than SMS and cheaper for the user than mobile Internet.

How to access the information on election candidates for free-

Access to information has never been simpler, faster and cheaper — all users have to do is dial *325# from their mobile to access Facebook and select the election menu (option 6) or directly dial *325*35# to access the election menu for no charge.

According to a press release issued by ADR, Voters will be able to know the poll worthiness of candidates — their educational, criminal and financial information — at their fingertips and choose wisely. Simply voting in an uninformed manner is not enough, citizens need to make an informed choice.

The great Indian Tamasha of Politics

The press release quotes Ankhi Das, Director of Public Policy, Facebook India, said, “Over 82 million Indian citizens access Facebook regularly, and an increasing number of users access the platform on mobile. Our goal is to enable citizens to get involved in issues of governance. We are delighted to collaborate with ADR on this important initiative.”

The USSD election feature will allow citizens to access information more easily and will enable them to make an informed choice. 

-with inputs from ADR press release.

Gandhi’s tryst with Twitter to celebrate his144th birth Anniversary

Twitter, the Social media giant, with over 200 million users*  will meet the global icon of non-violence and truth, Mahatma Gandhi on his 144th birth anniversary celebrated in India on October 2.

The Planning Commission  of India has organized a first ever global Twitter conference to discuss the life and message of Mahatma Gandhi, popularly called “Father of the Nation” in India  to mark his  birth anniversary celebrations. The Twitter Conference will start on 2nd October at 7 PM Indian Standard Time and use #Gandhi

This seems to be new and positive trend to bring alive the teachings & philosophy of individuals in 140 characters who with their values & priniciples had changed the discourse of human history.

1st global Twitter conference on  Gandhi

Recently, on August 28, 2013,  on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech many thronged to Twitter to pay homage to the speech and the Kings legacy by using the #ihaveadream.  King’s speech was delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial monument in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 28, 1963.  The speech is credited with helping ‘spur passage of sweeping civil rights laws’ in United States of America. King was also greatly influenced by the life and works of  Gandhiji.

Sam Pitroda, Chairman National Innovation Council and the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations (PIII) to Improve Governance and Public Services, will lead it from his official Twitter handle @pitrodasam. Pitroda has more than 11 lakh followers on twitter handle. Already, this unique initiative to amplify the power of Gandhiji’s message is gaining ground on the virtual world.

The one hour conference is expected to join by popular twitter users from diverse field to share their opinion & thoughts on the life of Mahatama Gandhi. It is yet to be seen who al from the illustrious twitter users in India participate in this one hour conference.

PIII has also created a Facebook event – Twitter Conference on Mahatma Gandhi . The conference  saw 253 virtual registration for participation. And the, tweet mentioning about the conference posted by  Pitroda got retweeted 163 times and 49 favourited (till 5pm,Oct.2,2013)

Three simple steps to participate in the Twitter Conference

  1. The Twitter Conference will start on 2nd October at 7 PM IST. You can follow the conference on @pitrodasam
  2. Log in to your Twitter account to ask a question or to retweet interesting tweets.
  3. Please ask your question by addressing @pitrodasam and by using Hash Tag: #Gandhi

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Be the part of the change.