Twitter: Home to India's Emerging Culture

Twitter in India is as much about the superstars of politics, film and sports as it is about an emerging new culture: Ordinary people with extraordinary ideas. Young people with big dreams, writers, blood donors, police commissioners and politicians are all using Twitter to have their voices heard.

The #RiseWithTwitter event shed light on this unique set of mission-based users who are redefining the digital pulse of the country using Twitter: A police commissioner who alleviates citizens’ problems, a stand-up comic who wants to entertain all day, an artist who wants to create, a philanthropist who wishes to seek aid, or a city-based service that provides motorists with up-to-date traffic alerts. Connections and conversations are possible instantly.

#RiseWithTwitter was a celebration of this emerging culture on Twitter of users who have boldly adopted technology to fill a need, to provide a service, to provide safety, to be vigilant, or simply to entertain. These voices and their stories on Twitter have changed forever how people act and react. A series of panel discussions at the event threw open this conversation where individuals, institutions, and brands spoke about their Twitter Story.

Times Now and ET Now news president and editor in chief Arnab Goswami who himself has stayed away from Twitter talked about the role of digital medium in media and journalism and the future of Digital media. He also mentioned on how this is the right time for Social Media as the response of people are becoming quicker and more relevant.

Further adding “The story about Lalit Modi scandal on the television has seen a million impression since the news came out and it has led a new hashtag trend #lalitgate. We wanted to give a name not some scandal but a phrase that could catch up with the viewer’s so we coined lalitgate. Wherever I am going, people are only talking about one thing these days and that is #lalitgate and they are talking about the phrase, which has become a hashtag. I think that is phenomenal and showing how television and digital can work in a complementary fashion.”

Even though  digital is growing in a fast pace but he still believes that its television which gets him 5 times more audience than digital. ‘We are still six years away from digital explosion’.

Goswami further cautioned people by saying “One should neither overestimate nor underestimate the digital platform. Because overestimating it would make people feel that only on the digital platform they have a say, while underestimating it would mean brands and people would not use digital at all and, therefore, stay away from the benefits of it.”

The next Panel discussion was on 'Engaging a mobile, global audience' moderated by Anant Goenka columnist with the Indian Express. The panel here consisted of business journalist, moderator and golf specialist Shaili Chopra; Manan Mehta, VP, Marketing at Yash Raj Films, and Abu Mathen from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).  Mathen talked about the distruption that happened in there platform leading to a need for a platform for the spokesperson which led MEA to become the first government ministry to have a Twitter account in 2009. Mehta spoke about the role of the digital medium to talk to the mass influencers and having an opportunity to grow and reach a wider audience. Chopra, meanwhile, brought out the interesting topic of credibility and trust in user generated content, how it helps a lot in storytelling and in grasping the happening in the industry that one is in.

The next panel discussion was on the ‘Mobile Microphone’ which was moderated by Sachin Kalbag (Mid-day). The Panel here consisted of MN Reddy, Bangalore Police Commissioner, Henry Jenkins, Professor of Communication, Journalism and Cinematic Arts, USC and Sunil Chetri Bengaluru FC Captain. While MN Reddy talked about how Twitter has opened a platform for them to connect to the masses becoming the police officers for the common public. Sunil Chetri pointed about the fan following and every loss and every win has to be answered to the masses and how every word has to be rechecked again and again before tweeting it.

Another panel discussion focussed on ‘Humanising brands’. The panellists included Shivnath Thukral, Group President, Corporate Branding & Strategic Initiatives, Essar Group, and Deepali Naair, Chief Marketing Officer, Mahindra Holidays. Nitish Tipnis, Director – Marketing & Sales, Hover Automotive India (Nissan India’s Sales & Marketing partner) was the moderator.

According to the panel while discussing about humanising brand they believed it has to come across as a person and not just another brand. It should be able to connect to the masses. Thukral talked about the B2B brand and how they can also have decent conversations with its followers. Tipnis pointed out how digital has shaped today’s consumer and helped the market in understanding the need and demand of the consumers. He also pointed out one of the most important point on how social media has become a platform where people don’t think twice before lamenting on it. According to Naair brands in recent time has started investing a good amount on digital platform so for the producty to reach the consumers.

On talking about the Growth and evolution that Twitter has gone through the many years in India Taranjeet Singh stressed on how the growth in India has been phenomenal and has helped in transcending a lot of business too. ‘In the coming future we are looking for more evolved conversation on Twitter.’

Twitter has an approx of 600 active brands on its platform. When asked whether brands had started using Twitter in the way they should, Singh replied, “Yes, some brands have understood and started using Twitter really well, but there are a few that are still trying, testing and experimenting with the platform. We are also trying to make Twitter more accessible from the sales and servicing perspective to most clients.”








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