Rahul Gandhi has been on a roll since coming back from his long sabbatical and one of the first things the Congress scion has initiated is finally coming on to Twitter with an official account. The Congress Vice President’s handle, @OfficeofRG; has accumulated more than 41,000 followers within a day, a number sure to grow as news of his presence on Twitter spreads.
But the question is whether Gandhi is a little too late to the party? The Congress’ dismal performance in the Lok Sabha elections was in contrast to a thumping victory by the BJP in almost every state; a major reason for this was attributed to the digital savvy leadership which actively took to platforms like Twitter to connect with the electorate. This hasn’t changed even post their victory. Whether it is Narendra Modi tweeting about building relationships with our South Asian neighbours or Foreign Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj responding to calls for help received on Twitter, the ruling party has been quite proactive on the platform.
“Better late than never!” said Sanjay Mehta, Co-founder and CEO of Social Wavelength. “Anyway Twitter is a medium for the future. Having said that, you cannot make up for lost time. So he has to ensure that he is active and connects with the Twitterati as quickly as possible.”
Another potential issue facing Gandhi is that he quite infamous for saying things that lead to ridicule. Twitter users are equally infamous for being quite ruthless when it comes to faux pas. How this plays out will be interesting for the casual observer.
“There will be people in charge managing the account so there will be some control on what goes out. It will not be impulsive. There is a learning cycle to any platform and being the head of the opposition everything he does will be watched so he needs to get over the learning curve quickly,” added Mehta.
So far there have just been a couple of tweets from Rahul Gandhi’s official handle and it has just been about his schedule or his recent speeches. It will be interesting to see whether Gandhi brings a more personal touch to his Twitter presence, something that leaders like Shashi Tharoor or Omar Abdullah excel at doing. This could be the one way he ensures that overtakes his more veteran peers.