The group also tried brainwashing its employees that they must give up the personal handle and have one integrated account. It was in their interest, they were told. Nobody bought that, of course. The idea never took off.
On 19 September this year, the employees received another mail, according to which the handle should be in the correspondent’s name and have the brand’s acronym as the suffix. The mail also gave four legitimate combinations: First name and last name of the employee, plus brand acronym; last name and first name, plus brand acronym; first name and first alphabet of the last name, plus brand acronym and last name and first alphabet of the first name, plus bland acronym.
The email continued the bio “must mention the journalist’s affiliation and spell out that views expressed are personal”. Also, “it must mention some other things like his interests”.
The mail also stated the account should be linked to the official email address. If anyone wants to use his/her personal account for official purposes, one must “change the handle and bio to be in line with the company’s policy ”.
All this when it is official account. The original contract norms clearly mentioned that employees share the password to the official account and the firm posts stories/comments on the journalist’s behalf.
Plus the employees’ variable pay will also be linked to Twitter handle activity. Journalists have also been told to tweet at least two stories a day.
“It seems pretty harmless. It doesn’t matter much to me since I try to be regular on Twitter,” said one Times of India reporter. Another Economic Times journalist said things as they stand now didn’t seem too malicious.
A senior journalist said the move “is a result of some guys not being active on Twitter at all. One can’t afford not to be on social media if you are in the business of communication”.
An email seeking comment from the Times Group remains unanswered. The story will be updated if and when we receive a response.