Most of us have been appraised with the darker side of Twitter. More than a medium of communication, the social media service is known for bullying and trolling. While many actors and politicians have embraced the service with all its ills, some have been abandoning it given the constant abuse and lack of privacy concerns. India is no different—it commands for a marginal share of total Twitter accounts, but is the top market in terms of daily users—and the government here has found yet another use for the service.
People can tweet their problems to respective central departments for them to find a solution, over 7,500 handles of various ministries and departments handle 6-7 lakh citizen tweets per month. A Times of India report highlights that the track record of the ministry of external affairs and railways has been exceptional. While MEA has raised close to 11,000 requests since December 2016, railways has been handling 7,000 tweets on a daily basis. Even the ministry of commerce has been providing the service to 750 cases a month.
But as successful as the service has been, Twitter is still far from becoming a social governance platform. Although one can tweet her complaint using #DOTSeva or #BSNLSeva to the ministry or the minister, which will then be given a priority status and forwarded to the concerned department, there are still only a handful services available on the platform.
Until the state governments, the police or municipal corporations do not incorporate it into their models for fixing of water, electricity, and traffic management services—some like police services have been doing so with Facebook but rather unsuccessfully—Twitter Seva is not expected to witness much growth. Once successful it will also bear some results for Twitter, which is grappling with PR issues.