First government organisation to be on the site

The Department of Posts, one of India's oldest establishments, has become the first government organisation to be on the social networking site Twitter. Tilted ‘PostOfficeIndia,' the DoP's page already has around 200 followers, from both India and abroad, in less than two months of its operations.

As part of its new business strategy, the DoP wants to leverage this unique medium to promote its business, as is being done by leading food chains and other firms in the U.S. and Europe. Though some senior DoP officials are currently managing the web page, soon it plans to have a dedicated team of people to answer queries of followers and paste latest promotions and programmes of the department. It also plans to have sub-categories for various users such as business users, foreigners and have posts State and region-wise.

SMS tracking

It all began with the DoP posting information about new schemes for users. It posted links to its website telling users how they could calculate postage tariffs or know pin codes of their respective areas. Then recently, the DoP launched SMS tracking facility for Speed Post shipments and told people how they could make use of it.

Similarly, through Twitter, the DoP has already started an awareness campaign for India's biggest-ever stamp show that will be held in Delhi next February. It has also been sending messages to people who want to partner DoP in various projects or apply for some tender. Followers have also been making complaints and giving feedback about how to improve the functioning of the department.

Boon to philatelists

DoP's Twitter page is also proving to be a boon for those who pursue philately as a hobby, as it has been informing people about limited edition stamps that India Post issues from time to time. “Welcome to the amazing world of the great magician P.C. Sorcar” read a ‘tweet', asking people to get India Post's commemorative postage on the magician. Through another message – India Post greets you on Earth Day! Let's spare a thought for the future of the planet. Let's all join to put together sustainable lifestyles — it is trying to send social messages and connect with those on Twitter.

Senior DoP officials are excited by the initial response from its followers. “Wow, Indian Post is on twitter...that's great to hear” wrote one Indian follower, while a few foreign nationals have also shown interest in India Post's Twitter postings. The DoP has been taking special initiatives for foreigners. For instance, during the recent Pushkar festival in Rajasthan, which is very popular among foreigners, it informed tourists about the post office near the fair where special arrangements were made for sending mails and parcels, which received good response.

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Stamped to collectMay 10, 2010