FM's hit Hangout raises UPA's social media hopes
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The phenomenal response to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's first Google+ Hangout last August seems to have broken the UPA government's initial reluctance to join the social media forum.
The government's successful debut on March 4 ó the Hangout with finance minister P Chidambaram after the Budget ó has emboldened it to go the whole hog for such events, with a galaxy of central ministers in line. Roads minister CP Joshi will be the next one to Hangout on road safety on March 29. External affairs minister Salman Khurshid, communications minister Kapil Sibal, HRD state minister Shashi Tharoor and even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may do Hangouts soon.
Google+ Hangouts are places used to facilitate group video chat (with a maximum of 10 people participating in a single Hangout at any point in time). However, anyone on the web could join the Hangout if they happen to possess the unique URL of the Hangout.
For Chidambaram's 62-minute Hangout, there were over 38,200 online views on YouTube on March 4 at 8 pm. This, despite Google India getting only a couple of days to publicise it. The event was cut live by most major English and Hindi news channels, taking the combined reach to over 5 million in real time, according to a Google India insider.
Modi's two-hour Google Hangout had generated over 82,000 online views on YouTube and the Google India team is pitching for yet another Hangout with Modi.
"Normally, we take three-four weeks for organising Google+ Hangouts. For the finance minister's Hangout, we got only around 10 days. The online response to the event is still being collated. Since there were multiple online destinations for the event, I gather the online views would be in high double-digit thousands," said Naman Pugalia, a public policy and government affairs analyst with Google India.
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