White House losing Twitter war to India’s Narendra Modi


Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Vadodara, India. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Although he has only been India's prime minister for about a month, Narendra Modi  has already beaten the White House -- on Twitter.

@NarendraModi's Twitter account has reached 5 million followers, beating out the @WhiteHouse account of 4.98 million followers, making him the fourth-most-followed leader in the world.

Even though having a huge amount of Twitter followers in a country that has a median age of 26 with 200 million active Web users seems natural, this is still a significant milestone. In 2009, there was only one Indian politician on Twitter -- Shashi Tharoor, who then had only 6,000 followers according to NDTV. Now, he has more than two million followers and is the second-most followed politician, behind Modi.

Dubbed “India’s first social media election” by CNN -- Twitter, Facebook and Google played a huge role in the new prime minister’s campaign. On Holi, a Hindu festival which took place in April, he sent his followers Direct Messages on Twitter, wishing them a happy holiday. Beyond that, he used GoogleHangouts and holograms during campaign appearances.

In 2013, 20 million Indian election-related conversations took place on Twitter. Modi, unlike his opponent Rahul \Gandhi, used Twitter relentlessly, and yes -- he posted a selfie.

His victory tweet became the most retweeted one in Indian history, though not as popular as Obama's.

 

He still has ways to go to beat @BarackObama, President Obama's campaign account, which has more than 43 million followers.

Swati G. Sharma is a digital editor for the World and National Security and previously worked for the Opinions section. Before this, she covered news and nightlife for The Boston Globe. Originally from California. Interests include politics, traveling, Bollywood and hot sauce.
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