In a recently-published list the TIME magazine has ranked Narendra Modi as one of the most influential individuals on the web world. It has also used the word “Internet star” to describe the Indian Prime Minister and praised the way he uses social media in order to deal with issues of diplomatic importance. In the list entitled ‘The 30 Most Influential People on the Internet’, TIME has also mentioned how Modi had tweeted about his visit to Pakistan. Incidentally, the announcement happened on 25 December. In that tweet Modi said he would fly to Lahore to wish Nawaz Sharif on the occasion of his sixty-sixth birthday.
Coming from a person of the stature of the Prime Minister of India it was unconventional to say the least. One also needs to consider the regional rivalry between both the neighbours ever since independence. Mention must also be made of the way he wooed Indian voters during his run up to become India’s Prime Minister before the parliamentary elections of 2014. Incidentally, this is the second straight year that he has been nominated for this honour. The list, however, does not have any rankings as such, thus perhaps stopping short of implying who is better than whom in terms of global online influence.
Who else are there on the list?
One of the major names on the list is Donald Trump who is in the race to become the next US President. Also on the list are Kim Kardashian, an American celebrity, Kanye West, her husband and a rapper, JK Rowling, Caitlyn Jenner, an erstwhile US Olympian who recently transformed from a man to a lady, and last but not the least, Cristiano Ronaldo.
How was the judgment done?
This is the second time that TIME has attempted to make a list of the most influential people on the internet. For this purpose they have admittedly looked into the global impact made by the concerned individuals on various social media platforms. They have also looked at their ability to be newsworthy. The magazine has said that Modi is the leader of India – the biggest democracy in the world. Modi has at least 18 million people following him on Twitter and a minimum of 32 million likes on his Facebook page.
Praise for Modi
The magazine has also praised the way Modi uses social medial platforms for announcements. According to TIME, this is what separates him from so many of his contemporaries. However, it has also acknowledged the mistake that Modi made with respect to Ashraf Ghani, the incumbent President of Afghanistan.
The Ghani faux pas
Modi had wished the Afghan President happy birthday on Twitter in February. However, he corrected the Prime Minister of India and stated that his birthday was on 19 May. TIME delved on how the tweet garnered headlines for less-than-palatable reasons. Incidentally, Modi was thanked for the tweet. In 2015 too, Modi was on TIME’s yearly list of the 100 most influential people across the globe. At that time Barack Obama had even written a profile, effusive in his praise.
Lilly Singh, an Indian-origin vlogger (video blogger) from Canada, is also part of the list this year. TIME has said that she is on her way to becoming one of the biggest YouTube phenomena. Off-screen too she has become quite an influential individual.
Trump, a Presidential candidate, according to TIME, has changed the very definition of ways in which social media is used by political candidates. Trump has faced plenty of criticism for the comments and tweets – some of which are often rather insulting – but still has around seven million followers on Twitter. The list includes a certain Hillary Rodham Clinton as well.