The ministry has taken gingerly steps to set up a Facebook page, an official blog and a Twitter handle. It has been stumped by the response. Within months, its Facebook page had more than 1,20,000 views and 1,500 users visit the government’s official blog daily, according to government data. Among them was a Paris-based researcher wanting information on his subject.
Although many Indian politicians use social media, the government itself had not leveraged its potential. Yet, research shows that social media is more persuasive than television ads. Nearly 100 million Indians, more than Germany’s population, use the Internet. Of this, the 40 million who have broadband and are most active on social media.
A key hook will be to break important government news simultaneously on these sites first. A less-than-apparent aim is to connect to a growing class of disenchanted urban youth, ahead of a general election.
The government blog site has a rich historical fare: users can hear Gandhi and Nehru speak, download old film posters or access rare documents, some of them pulled out of the state-run All India Radio and Doordarshan’s archives.