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Ahead of 2019, Twitter is offering India and its politicians a platter of tools to go viral

PW Bureau

On his maiden trip to India, Dorsey is expected to offer the social media team of political parties tools used in the 2016 US presidential elections New Delhi: Twitter Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jack Dorsey’s maiden trip to India is a clear indication of the micro-blogging site’s aspiration to emerge as the biggest campaign manager for political parties in the 2019 General Elections as he is reaching out to political leaders across the spectrum and promising to deploy tools that could make them go viral. Dorsey arrived in India on November 10 and met Congress president Rahul Gandhi and senior party leaders such as Randeep Singh Surjewala, social media head Divya Spandana and Nikhil Alva on November 12. He is slated to meet many more leaders, government officials, police officers and civic body officials during his six-day-long trip.

What’s on the agenda?

The agenda of these meetings is to help the authorities figure out how to deliver governance through Twitter. The launch of #PowerOf18 initiative by Twitter is in line with this agenda and aims at encouraging Indian youth to contribute to public debate and participate in civic engagement in the elections. This will also help the social-media giant chalk out its next stage of expansion.

What’s on offer by Twitter?

Dorsey is expected to offer the social media team of political parties in India all the tools Twitter used in the 2016 US presidential elections. Sources within the company said that Twitter is planning to hire many social media experts to assist political parties in their online outreach. Workshops might also be conducted for student wings of these parties. Twitter’s BlueRoom initiative might feature interviews with leaders of political parties and student unions, as well as political commentators. Another feature being offered by the social media platform is electoral badges — used widely in the 2016 US elections — to volunteers. “Twitter plans to design and bring out a series of new labels that will appear on the profiles and tweets of candidates. This branding exercise which will help create a unique profile of a candidate,” said a source close to the company. Twitter is also believed to be engaged in discussions with political parties to create more verified accounts of various candidates so that parties can understand how social media influencers work, how they can make tweets trend and the types of profiles a candidate should have to increase the number of their followers. Twitter will also create specific emoticons and hashtag for political parties.

India a priority market for Twitter

Twitter, which counts India as its priority markets, has a number of Indian politicians who use the platform to engage with the people of the country. Senior leaders of almost all the national political parties are quite active on Twitter and this is something that the platform is trying to leverage ahead of the 2019 elections.