New Delhi: Subramanian Swamy is the most interactive politician on Twitter according to a study conducted by Dentsu owned digital agency Webchutney. With an average of six original tweets a day, Swamy makes effective use of language to incite Twitter users to engage with him making him rank highest on the response rate.
The study, conducted in the month of February, ranks 50 leaders on the basis of their expertise in using Twitter as a medium to engage voters. The ranking is done on the basis of political index calculated on five factors including followership, engagement rate, response rate, original activity, and amplification. According to the findings, leaders who scored big on the rankings have replied to citizens, used local language to converse, liked responses that resonated with their line of thinking, clarified comments on dubious reports and followed citizens back.
Narendra Modi, the most followed politician in India, emerged as the second most interactive leader on Twitter who makes the broadest use of languages covering English, Hindi, and international languages. Use of Hindi, in particular, spiked towards the last week of February, as campaigning ramped up. Close to 78% of all his tweets contain media — photos, videos, links, at a rate higher than 95% leaders on the Political Index. Narendra Modi’s lower than expected position is because of the paradox of scale. He has used Twitter to further amplify his celebrity position and the influence of his Twitter account, this comes at the cost of directly relating to the audience, especially as election campaigning has started.
Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi whose overall engagement rate is 65% higher than Modi’s occupies the third spot as he tweets in different languages and talks about a range of issues concerning common public and women.
The fourth spot is occupied by minister of textiles Smriti Irani – the most followed women leaders on Twitter in India - with 9 million followers. The report stated that as a television celebrity, Irani brings in a massive wave of her personal clout to the political agenda in many ways. Averaging 25 tweets a day, close to 80% are retweets of other members of the BJP, Irani serves as a valuable amplifier of information for the agenda set by the BJP. Her media includes stories of winning women in the textile sector, propelled by government initiatives.
Devendra Fadnavis – the lone chief minister in the top ranks, despite having low followership on Twitter has managed to grab the fifth position owing to highest Twitter activity averaging 27 tweets a day. He plays a crucial role in establishing Maharashtra as an important battleground for national politics with over half his tweets over the period representing retweets.
Around 90% of all his tweets contain some media, dominated by photos and videos, followed by links. Video content is 46% of all media posted. Fadnavis liberally tags BJP leaders to ensure attention oscillates between regional and national politics. Threaded tweets are used to chain clips from his rallies and press conferences.
Among key leaders featured in the list include Arvind Kejriwal (13), Yogi Adityanath (14) and Akhilesh Yadav (15), Mamata Banerjee (34) and Raj Thackeray (45) among others.
Regional leaders ended up forming close to 40% of all users on the Political Index with leaders such as Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu – ranked at 24th spot – whose 40% tweets are in local languages.
All of 29 years old, Tejashwi Yadav (28) leads the pack with an indexed score exceeding Nitish Kumar (43), his opposition in Bihar when it comes to young leaders on the ranking. Following him, is K. T. Rama Rao (35), Sachin Pilot (36) and Anurag Thakur (37) and Aaditya Thackeray (41), each serving a different audience on Twitter.
“The index is a hard look at the myriad strategies being used to build personal brands for our politicians. There are standout examples of ministers who have gone to great lengths to ensure they are well represented on the platform. They’ve reaped the benefits of a cohesive social media approach, and also sought advantages in the field amongst voters in the ongoing elections. We want this index to be seen as a forward-looking indicator of how future politics will be fought, and where the most potent competition stands right now," said Sidharth Rao, chief executive and co-founder, Dentsu Webchutney.