Using twitter to get monsoon updates…

Anand Mahindra is using his social network to get monsoon updates:

When Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra wants to ascertain the progress of the South West monsoon, which drives rural demand for his automobile business, he doesn’t tune in to the weather bulletin. Instead, the social media-savvy businessman takes to Twitter and crowd-sources information direct from the grassroots. Last week, Mahindra tweeted: “Would like to get some direct feedback from twitterati around India about the monsoon’s progress. Good progress in sowing in your area?”

This 135-character tweet prompted a heavy downpour of responses from his 3.34 million Twitter followers around the country.

Enthused by the feedback, Mahindra tweeted the same day: “Thank you all. Appears that so far monsoon has been benevolent in most parts. Bihar, part of UP yet to see good rains.” He followed it up the next day: “So the accuracy of twitterati crowd-sourcing appears to be pretty good!”

The ‘monsoon progress report’ from his Twitter followers came from Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, West Bengal and Bihar. They gave a vivid picture of how the monsoon had played out so far: good, bad or indifferent.

For Mahindra, who has been active on Twitter since April 2009 and has put out 12,300 tweets so far, the social media platform is proving a useful barometer of the state of the monsoon. Which matters to him because apart from making tractors, the Mahindra group has a series of activities targeted at the farm economy such as distribution of branded seeds, micro-irrigation, supply of farm equipment and provision of crop care solutions.

In response to an e-mail from BusinessLine on why he chose Twitter to get the feedback, Mahindra replied: “Twitter gives me access to the views of millions of Indians across the country in different locations and circumstances. In the past, we have run weekly monsoon progress surveys amongst our customers (primarily farmers) and found that the predictions are typically much more pessimistic than the actual rainfall levels. I have seen that the Twitterati tends to express their views instantly, from all over the country and in a fairly accurate manner.”

Nice bit..

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