We're empowering not only institutions but society too: Twitter India head

Taranjeet Singh, Country Director of Twitter
As micro-blogging platform Twitter completes its 12th anniversary, it is looking at bringing more India-first innovations to its users in the country, similar to what rival Facebook has done over the past few years. India continues to be one of the fastest growing markets for Twitter, says Taranjeet Singh, Country Director of Twitter, in an interview with Samreen Ahmad.

How has Twitter’s journey in India been so far?

Today what happens across the world, happens on Twitter first. Users come on the platform to find out what’s happening in politics, sports, business and entertainment. India is one of the key markets, which is growing rapidly. We continue to see momentum both from the audience and brand partners.

What according to you have been some of the key milestones for Twitter in India?

Twitter Seva has been a huge milestone for us. It was launched as a product to help government bodies at a customer care level. We have worked across nine government establishments, including ministries of finance and commerce. The Uttar Pradesh police is on Twitter. We took onboard almost 2,500 police stations across the state on our platform, where people can reach out to officials with their grievances and also file complaints. We are empowering not only the institutions of this country but also the society at large.

Where does India stand in terms of user base on Twitter and how has growth been?

India is one of our fastest growing markets. It has been phenomenal. We have been seeing great growth globally. Last five quarters have witnessed high double-digit user base growth and India is a major contributor to it.

What has been the response after doubling the tweet limit to 280 characters?

Now people have an opportunity to express themselves more. The kind of features that have been launched like Twitter thread and bookmark are also making a lot of difference. People are spending more time on the platform because of these subtle changes. Our effort is to also ensure that we have the right content on the platform. Last year we launched in-stream video advertising under which we tied up with premium partners across the country. We announced 35 content partnerships in Singapore to bring exclusive video and live original programming, live games and events to the platform, of which 13 were from India.

Any India-specific initiatives coming from Twitter?  

We are seeking to raise awareness regarding blood donations for which we have launched an initiative called #BloodMatters, aimed at bridging the gap between the donor and recipient in India. Twitter Seva (a forum to capture citizens' grievances) was first introduced in India, a model which other countries later followed. We also have activated several chatbot solutions for our brands.

What will Twitter look like in the next 12 years?

We will continue to make our services as relevant as possible. We want to ensure that we provide the best products and content whether it is for the users or for our partners.