Even the few leaders who do have very active Twitter profiles have managed to get into trouble, thanks to their tweets! Take the case of Shashi Tharoor, whose tweets only ended up showing how out of touch he was with the larger Indian public. Infact, it was one tweet by Lalit Modi that cost both Lalit Modi and Shashi Tharoor their respective jobs! Omar Abdullah"s tweets have been controversial to say the least while Sushma Swaraj"s tweets in the past have created misunderstandings between her and her party colleagues.
In contrast to these cases, Narendra Modi"s Twitter record has been impeccable. His tweeting pattern is as simple as it can get - he tweets generally once a day on matters of policy, governance, thoughts and laurels his State Government periodically wins. These tweets are totally non-controversial and are written in very simple English that can be understood all the readers across the length and breadth of the country.
Narendra Modi comes closest to any Indian politician with a mass following online. The other figure now in politics who has higher followers, Mr. Shashi Tharoor.
Modi also has a sprawling online presence that is shown through his actively maintained website, which according to official sources draws over 500 e-mails to the Chief Minister on a daily basis. Modi takes these mails very seriously which range from opportunities in his home state to festival greetings. His site also offers a unique opportunity to share novel ideas that can be executed over a period of time.
Modi"s official Facebook page is a hit among netizens and his YouTube channel is a neat page containing all speeches by him under one banner.
Those subscribed to Modi"s website also receive regular e-mails keeping them abreast with news of Gujarat and his initiatives. An indication of his virtual presence lies in the fact that the social media initiatives of Shri Narendra Modi were recognized and awarded the India eGov 2.0 awards in 2010. He was the only politician who was conferred an accolade in this sector!
In a larger context, the takeaway value from this presence is immense. In a time when technology has become the cornerstone of human growth there is a need to embrace it and move ahead with it. The way Narendra Modi has used Twitter and his site to increase mass contact can be a source of learning for politicians to come. A day is not far when most work will be carried out through the net and in such a time one"s knowledge plus application of technology will be very helpful. Narendra Modi has taken the plunge early- it is now for the others to follow suit.