Business leaders tweet less post-lockdown, focus on coronavirus drops3 min read . Updated: 29 Dec 2020, 08:57 AM IST
- Most of the 20 business leaders whose Twitter activity is tracked by Mint now tweet less often than the lockdown days. But Indian leaders remain different from global ones in certain traits
Top business leaders in India as well as the world tweet less often now than they did during the hard lockdown period of March to June, a deep dive into their Twitter activity shows. Tweets about the coronavirus appear less frequently on these businesspersons’ timelines than they did during the lockdown.
But Indian business leaders differ from their global peers in certain ways. As we found in a similar analysis in July, Indians on the list are still more active on Twitter, get less traction, comment on a far wider range of topics, but shy away from taking positions on polarizing matters of socio-political significance.
The latest analysis covers 13,233 tweets and retweets by a set of 10 Indian and 10 global business leaders in the five-month period from 25 June to 24 November. The Twitter activity of these 20 leaders is tracked by Mint’s Business Twitter Dashboard every Wednesday.
The study in July, when the dashboard was launched, had covered tweets of these 20 individuals during the three-month period of 25 March to 24 June, a period characterised by lockdowns of different hues across the world. At that time, a point of commonality between top Indian and global businesspersons was the prominent mindspace the coronavirus occupied.
The post-lockdown decline in Twitter activity can be observed across the board in both sets of business leaders. The number of average tweets per day fell for 16 of the 20 persons. Anand Mahindra and Harsh Mariwala were the two exceptions in the Indian set, and Michael Bloomberg and Hans Vestberg in the global set.
Even the traction that tweets by business leaders received fell as compared to the lockdown period. For the global set, the average retweets per tweet fell 22%. For the Indian set, it declined by 28%.
The other notable change was what these individuals were tweeting about. During the lockdown period, the coronavirus accounted for 20% of the tweets by Indian leaders and 24% of global leaders. In the post-lockdown period though, this fell to 13% for Indian leaders and 18% for global ones.
During the post-lockdown period, as the narrative shifted from disease to recovery, a greater share of the tweets of Indian leaders dwelled on government policies. But most of these tweets were of the nature of general observation or they merely amplified policy decisions, rather than serving as a critique of the government’s performance and response.
For example, none of the 10 Indian businesspersons made a mention of the 24% drop in India’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the June-ended quarter. None provided a critique of the various components of the stimulus package announced by the Centre.
Global leaders, meanwhile, did not dwell much on government policies, whether during the lockdown or after. Instead, they focused on their own companies in their tweets, as they had done in the period of our previous analysis. As many as 75% of Sundar Pichai’s tweets were related to Google, the tech giant he heads. Similarly, 48% of Tim Cook’s tweets were about Apple, and 42% of Elon Musk’s tweets were about Tesla and SpaceX.
In comparison, Anand Mahindra, who is fairly prolific and diversified in his Twitter activity, mentioned Mahindra companies in only about 29% of his tweets. For others such as Uday Kotak and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the focus on their own companies was even lower, preferring as they did to talk about the coronavirus.
Nine of the 10 global leaders in our list are Americans, and some of them also dwelled on significant socio-political events that transpired during this period in the US. This included the election of Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden as the next president of the US. Or, Kamala Harris becoming the first woman vice-president. Or, the deaths of John Lewis, a black civil rights activist and politician, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman judge in the US Supreme Court who wrote some seminal judgments.
Some of these mentions were also among the tweets that received the maximum retweets. In general, the most retweeted tweets for Indian businesspersons covered a topic of lesser significance in a larger socio-political context. And this strand of thought extended to the overall discourse they initiated and shaped on Twitter.
For all their standing, Indian business leaders are still tentative when it comes to taking positions on important socio-political issues, where they run the risk of inviting criticism from the public and retribution from the establishment. This was the case six months ago. This remains the case now.
This is the first of a two-part series on the Twitter activity of prominent personalities this year. www.howindialives.com is a database and search engine for public data