With the microblogging site emerging as a key platform for information dissemination, many central banks are active on Twitter, especially in these times of economic uncertainties amid the coronavirus pandemic.
An analysis of official Twitter accounts of major central banks shows that RBI has the maximum number of followers.
As of Thursday morning, RBI’s Twitter handle has 7.45 lakh followers. On April 20 alone, the handle saw 1.31 lakh new followers, according to an official with the central bank, who attributes the massive spike to an ongoing campaign.
Since March 2019, the count of followers has more than doubled from just about 3,42,000 to over 7,50,000 to data, the official said.
The RBI created its Twitter account in January 2012.
Closely behind RBI is the Bank Indonesia, the central bank of the East Asian nation, with 7.15 lakh followers. At the third spot is Banco de Mexico — the apex bank of Mexico — with 7.11 lakh followers on the microblogging site.
RBI also created a Twitter account ‘RBI Says’ and also started a Facebook page with the same name in early April. At that time, it also launched a safety campaign advising people to remain healthy and safe by not going to bank branches as the nation was put under a lockdown to help contain the spread of coronavirus infections.
During the ongoing seven-week lockdown that began from March 25, the number of followers has increased by more than 1.5 lakh, the official said.
In March 2019, RBI was at the sixth position among major central banks and at the fourth place before the lockdown in terms of followers, the official added.
The RBI campaign featuring cine star Amitabh Bachchan to drive public awareness about going digital and keeping safe distance in times of the coronavirus pandemic, has also helped increase the number of followers, as per the official.
In comparison, the world’s most powerful central bank — the US Federal Reserve — has only about 6.17 lakh followers for its Twitter account created in March 2009.
The Frankfurt-headquartered European Central Bank, the second most powerful monetary authority in the world, has 5.55 lakh followers. This account was created in October 2009.
The Bank of Japan, which created its Twitter account in October 2011, has 27,100 followers, while Bank of England has around 3.03 lakh followers on its account created in January 2009, as per the data.
Personally, Das has 1.11 lakh followers. He joined Twitter in January 2015, when he was in the government.
After the coronavirus pandemic battered the markets and economy, Das on March 27 unleashed a monetary policy bazooka with trillions of rupees in fresh liquidity support along with a 75 basis points repo rate cut and nudged all to promote digital transaction.
“The pandemic is upon us but this too shall pass. We need to remain careful and take all precautions. I leave you with this comforting thought. Stay clean. Stay safe. Go digital,” Das had said.
His ‘go digital’ call was significant as social distancing is being reiterated as one of the good practices to avoid spreading of coronavirus infections.
Ever since Das was air-dashed to fill the vacuum created by the sudden resignation of his media-shy predecessor Urjit Patel in December 2018, RBI has been emphasising on simplify banking and its workings to the youth, by aggressively tapping social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
There is a need to take to these popular social media platforms to reach the youth as a part of its mass media awareness programmes, RBI said in its annual report released in August 2019.