Tweets of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as also that of seven state chief ministers and some government departments, can now reach mobile users free of cost through SMSes following the launch of a new ‘Twitter Samvad’ service today.
The initiative, as part of the government’s Digital India campaign, was launched here today by Twitter’s Global CEO Dick Costolo, who is in India on his maiden trip and met the Prime Minister to discuss various areas of collaboration.
Modi also tweeted about the service, saying: “Lets deepen our connect! Give a missed call on 011 3006 3006 & get my Tweets on your mobile as SMS.”
The micro-blogging network said that the new service has already been joined by 16 Twitter handles, including that of Modi, the External Affairs Ministry, Bangalore City Police and Chief Ministers of Gujarat, Karnataka, Telangana, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar.
The service is powered by ZipDial, which was recently acquired by Twitter.
“This can eventually give every political leader and every government organisation a mobile microphone to connect with each Indian,” Twitter’s Market Director, India and Southeast Asia, Rishi Jaitly told reporters here.
“Based on Indian technological innovation, Twitter Samvad is dedicated and specially built for the largest democracy of the world,” Costolo said.
He added that similar initiatives have been taken across the world and cited an example from Japan, where Twitter was used to reach out to people during natural catastrophe.
Through Twitter Samvad, everyday a set of curated tweets will be delivered from the government and leaders’ accounts to mobile users across the country as SMS.
Any one with a mobile phone, with our without a data plan, can register for the service by giving a missed call to a unique number for each of the partners.
“Twitter Samvad can also be used during the time of emergency with the ability to deliver live updates by government bodies, including time-sensitive information like law and order situations as well as details about any rescue efforts,” he said.