Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on March 2, 2020, this:
The media and people generally went haywire trying to outguess each other about what Modi was actually planning to do if you do not take his words literally.
Or, if he was really giving up his accounts on Sunday, why was he doing so, considering he has a massive following on all those platforms.
The next day, on March 3rd, he explained the big mystery himself.
The accompanying visual explains that select entries get a chance to ‘take-over’ Modi’s social media accounts and share their thoughts & ideas with the world.
Coming from a person who hasn’t held a single press conference in the hesitation of being asked uncomfortable questions and spoiling his carefully cultivated image, this is quite a remarkable gimmick for Women’s Day.
Back in the early 2010s, during the time when Twitter was still figuring out itself, there used to be a few apps/websites that allowed people to sign up, to donate their Twitter handles/followers for a cause.
It used to work like this: you go to the site, sign up with your Twitter credentials (user ID and password) within a designated part of the site and the site pre-loads a tweet (for the cause) at a particular time.
If a million people sign up, a million tweets go out at the same time, offering a swarm effect.
Twitter’s developer policies eventually killed all those apps and services under the logic that they are gaming the Twitter system to swarm/spam on scale. But those were early attempts at take-overs of social handles.
It’s highly unlikely that Modi or his team will literally “hand over” the credentials of his accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to some women chosen through this exercise and let them write whatever they wish. There is no indication of that level of trust from his other activities, where even interactions are carefully planned and rehearsed in advance to ensure adherence to his narrative as it happens on Mann Ki Baat.
The few occasions where some posed an uncomfortable question, Modi has ended the ‘interaction’ under hilariously meme-worthy terms. One such occasion was “Chaliye Puducherry ko vanakkam” 🙂
What is more likely is that select content from the chosen few women would be collected in advance and shared all through the day on the 4 social platforms of Modi. Or, even if those women do get a chance to “take over” his social handles, it is more likely to be checked before each post is taken live through a panel/team and then posted after going through this filter.
Even if you ignore the angle of Modi’s reluctance of avoiding any impromptu question to him as a precursor to controlling the narrative, even from the point of view of national security, a take over of a powerful and influential person like the country’s Prime Minister is hardly likely.
From an idea perspective, this is an excellent digital marketing gimmick, and quite topical for the occasion. It is, in a way, simply pausing his ‘regular programming’ on his social handles and donating those channels’ immense reach for the day’s cause.
It also serves as an excellent misdirection to take the focus away from everything that is raging in terms of topicality in the country, given how novel and interesting this gimmick is.