Twitter is now part of the 'optics' for India's Cabinet Ministers

Reading Time: 3 minutes

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar joined Twitter a couple of years ago, but he posted his first tweet only a day after becoming a Minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new Cabinet.
“My first tweet. Thank you all for the best wishes! Honoured to be given this responsibility. Proud to follow on (sic) the footsteps of @SushmaSwaraj ji,” Jaishankar tweeted on May 31.
Of the nearly 70 tweets he has posted so far on the micro-blogging platform, all of them are in English, except the one posted on June 2 in which he assured the people of the country that the Central government had no intention to impose any language.
Jaishankar posted that tweet (pictured below) in Tamil, showing very well that he was fully aware of the audience he was addressing, and also how fast he was learning to use Twitter as part of the “optics”, just as any other politician would do.

Twitter.Indian Link
One of these is not like the others

If Jaishankar, a diplomat-turned-administrator, took just a couple of days to master the platform, it is not difficult to imagine how a seasoned politician would use it. And make no mistake, all of them are on Twitter, following in PM Modi’s social media footsteps.
An analysis of the tweets by the Cabinet Ministers shows that Hindi and English have emerged as the dominant language of communication on the platform.
Depending on the message they want to convey, the ministers sometimes resort to using other regional languages.
However, some ministers like Thawar Chand Gehlot, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment; Mahendra Nath Pandey, Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship; Giriraj Singh, Union Minister for Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries; and Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution appear to be more fond of tweeting in Hindi.
But with language translation tools now readily available, no one seems to be complaining about the use of Hindi or other regional languages by a Cabinet Minister.
“Given the ease of translation within Twitter or other platforms, I don’t see an issue with politicians using whatever their language of choice is, as long as it aligns with their intended audience or the statement they want to make. Political communications are much about the optics,” says leading tech policy and media consultant Prasanto K. Roy.
“However, given the sensitivity in southern and eastern India to the imposition of Hindi, for someone aiming at a national plus global audience, English does make more sense in India, unless there’s a specific point the person is trying to make through his choice of Hindi as a language on Twitter”.
Language, however, is not the only tool that the ministers are carefully choosing to score a point on Twitter.
Some are even taking a keen interest on the kind of images displayed on their Twitter page.
Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani, for example, chose to display a message about Savitribai Phule, known as the first female teacher in India and a crusader against caste and patriarchy, in an apparent attempt to earn the goodwill of the marginalised sections of the population.
Twitter1.Indian Link
Be it language or images, clearly, Twitter is fast becoming the medium of choice for Indian ministers.

- Advertisement -

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -


Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

  Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...

Ep 8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s...

  To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic death...
- Advertisement -

Latest News

TiE at Nazaarey wines

TiE Melbourne: developing conscious entrepreneurs

  When Prakash Gupta and his wife Seema migrated to Australia in 2000 as skilled professionals, they were in search of job opportunities. They felt...
b'desh art org qagoma

South Asian artists in QAGOMA’s Asia Pacific Triennial

  In the 10th edition of QAGOMA's Asia Pacific Triennial (APT10), the exhibition hopes to look to the future of art and the world we...

Saahil Bhargava pays homage to Aussie rock band Karnivool

  Fresh off his debut EP released back in August, LA-based singer-songwriter Saahil Bhargava has unveiled what he’s dubbed an “homage” to one of Australia’s...
argyle street parramatta

Police investigate armed robbery at Parramatta jewellery store

  NSW Police are appealing for assistance to locate a vehicle following an armed robbery at a jewellery store at Parramatta. At around 2:35 PM on...
pratham girls

#LightALife: Pratham Australia raises $20k this Diwali

  It started off with a simple concept: for every $20 donation, a diya was lit this Diwali. And for every 25 diyas, adding up...