May 22, 2015

@Modi, #Modi and #纳伦德拉莫迪#

Narendra Modi is one of the most social media savvy political leaders in the world, no doubt. And if we thought he would continue with that, we were proved wrong; he is doing it better and in more innovative ways!

Before his China visit, Modi opened an account with the Chinese microblogging site Weibo and the account now has got over 31 million hits.

Fond of taking selfies in iconic places and with people as well as world leaders, Modi took a selfie with Chinese premier Li. Western media is hailing it as one of the most power-packed selfie.
The power-packed selfie

But Modi and controversies go together. A great orator in Hindi, he addresses Indian diaspora whenever he goes abroad. He is able to immediately create an emotional bond with them, with his anecdotes and all. When talking of his achievements, he does not spare his opponents home. This time, when he addressed Indian-origin people in Seoul, he said, there was a time when Indians felt they’d committed a sin in their past life and so they had to take birth in India… and left it to settle abroad… now intelligent people from all walks of life are eager to come back and settle there for even lesser incomes.

This remark of Modi has rattled opposition parties in India, especially the Congress. On Twitter, a hashtag #ModiInsultsIndia is making rounds, blaming Modi for talking domestic politics abroad, insulting Indians and demeaning the position of Prime Minister.

@Modi is discreet too

Despite what his opponents say, Modi’s reach and influence keep growing on social media. We saw this observation on a paper and checked for ourselves: It is true that during his China, Mongolia and South Korea visit, Modi’s Twitter and Weibo accounts did not have the same tweets. On Weibo, the intention seems to be to connect with Chinese people and Indians knowing Chinese on an emotional platform; on Twitter, everything (social, political, financial-economic, diplomatic and emotional-personal) goes as the audience is global.


Extracts of Pal's study on Modi's tweets
Then, there is this study made by a Michigan University teacher, Joyojeet Pal, on tweeting by Modi. Pal analyses how Modi has managed to make his banal political tweets viral. He concludes that the strategies adopted by him for social media have helped him reach his audience directly and align with the modern Indian youth.

We keep discussing politicians' use of social media; you can visit our last take, which was on Modi and Shibu Soren.