Sam Pitroda might have changed telecom, but he has no clue about Twitter.
To begin with, Twitter is not a great ‘medium’ for a press conference.
Consider our sense of a traditional press conference:
1. Host speaks, presents, shares data, etc.
2. Attendees are allowed to ask questions.
3. Moderator decides which questions will be answered and who (from among those present from the host team) will answer.
Most importantly, there is no limit to the length of the questions being asked nor to the length of the answers.
If this is our conventional understanding, Sam Pitroda’s conference was a big let down.
First, the press conference was announced for 3.30 PM. However, at about 3.25 PM, Mr Pitroda invited his followers to visit YouTube and watch the briefing. If you came in at the appointed time, you could well have missed the tweet directing you to YouTube.
Next, one was unsure what the format would be – and the beginning of the ‘conference’ didn’t help matters. The first ten minutes were a monologue (much as in a traditional press conference), with Mr Pitroda holding forth on a slew of topics, all of which certainly came under the umbrella theme ‘Democratisation of Information.’
No one was clear what to do during this monologue. Some felt they could send in questions – even beyond what Pitroda was talking about – and they did. Some felt they should wait for Pitroda to finish talking – and they waited.
And Pitroda finished his ‘presentation’ and began answering questions. Except, sadly, he wasn’t too familiar with Twitter. In many instances, rather than hit the ‘reply’ button, Pitroda chose to type in the name of the questioner – with the result that we could see no connection, often, between the answer that Pitroda gave us and the question that was originally asked.
In a nutshell:
a) The theme was too broad to generate a meaningful conversation.
b) Sam Pitroda’s team has no clue how hashtags work.
c) Sam Pitroda has no clue how Twitter works.
d) The Youtube video should have been put up earlier, with viewers getting a clear idea of what would be discussed and what kind of questions would be answered.
e) The theme should have been sharp and defined. For example, “How 250,000 panchayats will benefit from broadband connectivity. There was no need to deal with the motherhood of the ‘democratisation of information’ in a 45 minute Twitter ‘conference’.
Finally, Mr Pitroda, there is no need to post photos of today’s Twitter meet.
By the way, where are the photos?