Can't Handle It? Twitter controversy by Shaili Chopra

Can't Handle It? Twitter controversy by Shaili Chopra

It tells you how important social media is for national interest and diplomacy when there is big fight over a twitter handle. And it makes global headlines. I believe first Manmohan’s PMO wasn’t keen to give up the official handle with the then @PMOIndia wanting to save all the interactions and tweets of the time. For posterity sake, one supposes there are emotional attachments involved. On a lighter note though, it’s funny how the twitter handle has become sticky – like the ‘kursi’ itself. No one wants to leave. Power is after all addictive. Even on twitter.


As if that tug of war wasn’t over, a solution has been found which itself has powered a summer storm in Delhi. BJP is livid that the former PM’s tweets etc will now be housed next door in a twitter handle called @PMOIndiaArchives. Understandably the new party in power doesn’t want a neighbour like this.


The BJP claims in an interview that “outgoing team PM Office has wrongly renamed Twitter handle of @PMOIndia against laws & accepted global norms of handover of digital assets.” The old PMO account had 1.24 million followers and so the BJP is upset they would now have to start from scratch given that old PMO tweets and interactions are now on different handle all together with those followers. As a social media analyst, I look at this in two ways. One, ideally a @PMOIndia handle and its followers must remain with whoever is in office because at the end of the day the @PMOIndia handle is being followed for tweets by the PM of the country. In which case, it would be par for the course for the handle to simply change the picture from Manmohan Singh to the next PM. The other way to look at this is, that BJP needn’t crib about 1.24 million followers for Narendra Modi has three times than at 4.02 million – almost all of who (if not more) will now start to follow him.


From a technicality point of view, the interesting part about renaming the previous PMO twitter handle (the one under Dr Manmohan Singh) as @PMOIndiaArchives is that it will set a strange precedent. So when Modi retires from PMO then what will they do with the stuff accumulated by the PM’s office on twitter? Will they called it @PMOIndiaArchive1 or @PMOIndiaArchive2 anon? Or is the plan to put all archiving (incase of all PMs) in future on to the new archival handle. And then who will be responsible for the archives? The nation? The outgoing PMO?


If all this wasn’t bad enough to handle, for a week I understand the @PMOIndia handle will show an egg on its picture. With thousands of followers, following this egg. For now our next Prime Minister looks like an egg. It would have been simple for a statement to be issued either by @PMOIndia or by Twitter India explaining things. Ideally the new @PMOIndia should have been assigned on 26th when Modi takes charge (so we don’t seen an egg all these days) or a statement should have been issued to keep the handle out of circulation until the announcement was done next Monday. If nothing else, then the microblogging site may as well have put Modi’s face since it’s announced that he is PM-elect if they must have the account active at all. While it’s always in favour of social media to have a controversy make headlines and ‘trend’ this one flashpoint seems unnecessary and silly for the world to see in full social media display.

5 Responses to Can’t ‘handle it?’ – Twitter controversy over PMO handle

  1. Naazneen Bedi says:

    Another example of the unnecessary paper work (read twitter accounts)to confuse people ,and for which our bureaucracy is so famaous….

  2. Vel says:


    Clear analysis. Kudos.

    Now, the PMO will remove the chair,tableclips,teacups,etc etc.. from MMS office /residence and put in Tashkhanu. And,when the new PM enters the office he will happiy sit in the floor. :-)

  3. Priyamvada says:

    Perfect take.Congress can treasure it. With the kind of followers and popularity Mr. Modi commands right now the new handle will get them all.

  4. Subhash Vaid says:

    Twitter handle of PMOIndia can have Mr Modi picture as PM designate. And profile can be updated on May 26,,,,, to The Prime Minister of India

  5. Amitabha Bhattacharya says:

    Very well analysed. Parting shots by the wounded tiger &
    “much ado about nothing”..!!

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