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Trendspotting: Governments across the globe take to Twitter with fresh vigour

11-August-2015
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Trendspotting: Governments across the globe take to Twitter with fresh vigour

Social media is increasingly becoming a platform for real-time and transparent news announcements for government. Social media is transitioning from being just a platform for addressing grievances to using the mediums as a tool to deal with controversial situations effectively.

Modi’s Twitter push

Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a historic peace deal with Nagaland live on Twitter. Just a few minutes before the accord was announced, the Prime Minister had tweeted about a significant declaration last Monday evening sending all media houses into a tizzy.

The deal was signed at 7 Race Course Road in the presence of Home Minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah, and was streamed live on YouTube, with a redirection from PM’s Twitter post.

Later, Prime Minister Modi took to Twitter to communicate that he had spoken to former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Nagaland Governor PB Acharya and state Chief Minister TR Zeliang after signing the deal. The PMO twitter handle further tweeted that PM Modi had also spoken to political leaders across party lines, including CPIM's Sitaram Yechury, BSP chief Mayawati, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Global bandwagon

Similarly, the White House launched a Twitter account last month announcing the Iran Nuclear Deal, in an effort to sell the recently concluded nuclear accord. “Tweet us your questions, and we’ll set the record straight,” said the account’s page.

Two hours after its first tweet, the account had 4,394 followers.

In a continued debate over the deal, President Obama took to Twitter last week to rebut Republican opponents and argue in favor of his Iran nuclear deal.

In another scandalous social media incident, Venezuelan President Nicolas set social media abuzz. According a report by Associated Press, “A closer look suggests that the government is artificially inflating its social media influence and distorting its popularity. Independent analysts who ran tests at the request of AP found the government was benefiting from networks of fake accounts.” Anti-U.S. campaigns such #ObamaYankeeGoHome and #ObamaRepealTheExecutiveOrder, which denounced U.S. sanctions on members of Maduro's administration were heavily trending on Twitter last week.

Meanwhile, the anti ‘social’ governments trend too…

Even as a lot of global governments are hopping on to the social media bandwagon, there are a few that are openly against the platform.

Most recently, the government of Turkey prohibited access to the social media sites like Twitter and YouTube in order to suppress videos and images on the recent terrorist bombing in a Turkish border town of Suruç which took the life of 32 people.

However, the move of Turkey's President, Tayyip Erdogan, did not go down well with netizens. Twitter backlash in a form of #TwitterBlockInTurkey immediately started trending.

That said, it is clear that social, or anti-social, governments cannot escape this form of media. Most are accepting it with open arms, and the ones that are not, are being subjected to scrutiny.

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