Interview: How the @DNA Newspaper Account is managed on Twitter


The Daily News and Analysis (DNA) is a fairly popular daily English newspaper published in India. They were also one of the first newspapers to actively interact with users on Twitter. We caught up with @Chupchap, one of the guys behind the account, to find out how it is managed and their future plans.

1. I know you started the @DNA account after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. How did you convince the decision making authorities to go in favour?

At the time, the DNA blogs were ‘under construction’, so I thought of starting a Twitter account as well. I initially created an account with the name @DNAIndia, as @DNA was not available, and started posting news updates. I informed the Resident Editor only when the account had 200 followers.

2. You have been very progressive, interacting with fellow tweeters, even retweeting the competition! Do you have any guidelines in place to run the account? If yes, what are those?

Unlike the competition, we use Twitter like a normal person would. Regarding retweeting the competition, does it make such a big difference? We are on Twitter to disseminate news, not to sell it. So if let’s say @IBNLive or @HeadlinesIndia post a breaking news story, we think there is nothing wrong in retweeting them. Plus DNA – the newspaper is more about analysis, than just breaking news.

I was working with @BangaloreMirror before, and there we used to to reply to tweeps (@manuscrypts’ idea) and I thought that was the right thing to do. I  followed the same concept with the @DNA account as well.

3. Is there anyone else who monitors the account?

Monitor? No. Post tweets? Yes.

4. Since there is no link in most of your tweets, how do you measure the ‘call to action’ success of your message?

We did not use any links at all in the beginning, and relied on follower count to judge success. But we always felt that it’s not an indication of the effectiveness of an account or a way to measure the quality of a tweet. I didn’t want @DNA to be another source for breaking news. There are enough twitter accounts devoted for the same. So I decided to go for the ‘news as and when it is reported’ model. We started posting links later on, after a lot of people requested us to post links for better understanding of certain stories.

5. What are your success metrics for the @DNA account and how do you measure them?

We don’t actively measured the success of the @DNA account. However, we have a larger following than most Twitter accounts of other traditional media houses in India. Recently we started using to link to stories on our site. We found that, on an average, most stories get a minimum of 120 clicks without retweets. In case people retweet, the numbers double and at times even quadruple. Clicks and views are also what matter to us, apart from retweets or follower count.

As of now, the number of clicks can be calculated but not views. Having said that,  Reuters had a story recently on how Twitter will roll out analytics for ‘paid accounts’. Now, that’s something to look forward to! 

6. What are the things you generally Tweet about on the account, apart from news and replying to folks?

In the beginning it used to be just news. Now we post links to our blog entries, editorial and opinion pieces as well.

7. Since you don’t use automated services like TwitterFeed to feed data into the account, how do you decide what needs to go out and what doesn’t?

That’s a tricky one. I keep scanning the wires and if I find something interesting, I post it. We have noticed that metro-specific news and political news are more popular in terms of replies, retweets, and clicks. Even really quirky stories get lots of responses. It’s like Digg in that way.

8. How much time do you spend on the @DNA account daily?

We used to spend a lot of time in the beginning, because we were doing a lot of polls on how we should tweet, what we should tweet, etc. Now it’s down to an hour at max, as we have a basic understanding of Twitter and our follower base.

9. Do you plan to open separate accounts for catering to regional readers in say Mumbai or Bangalore? What are your future plans for the account?

No separate accounts in the immediate future. Not until the other journalists working here volunteer to Tweet on the account. If I have to do it alone, I will have to compromise on my work – the real one – the one I get paid to do. 🙂

10. Anything else you may like to add?

Nothing much, I just hope that all the journos at DNA join Twitter. That way, we can give a Twitter by-line for stories written by them. It’s a little far fetched as of now, but an idea nevertheless. 🙂

We hope you gained some insights into how a corporate twitter account can be managed. However, since this is not the only way to do it, we have a few more such interviews lined up for the future. Do let us know what you think in the comments and feel free to ask questions.



  1. I am opinionated…

    I love the work the news tweeters bring to twitter… I sincerely appreciate it!!!

    its a boon in some ways…

    good insight Asfaq!!! Thanks!! i can see that the journalistic keeda in you is still around!!! Great work!! 🙂

  2. Thanks Srini!

    Btw, its interesting to see that enthusiasts start monitoring and taking control of their favourite brands even before the brands themselves ‘get it’. The enthusiasts then pass on authority once they have a sizeable authority in the community. I find this to be similar in other social networks too.

    It is increasingly becoming clear that the next brand property of yours on the net will not be under your ownership. It was be someone who may or may not do things correctly for your brands.

    Which is why, it is high time that brands start getting into the act.

    Also, apart from the guys who are tweeting on the account, the @DNA guys don’t have anyone actively monitoring the account. This to me quite cool for a company that publishes content in the print media.

    I also, didnt think that they would check their RT and click numbers. Its great to know that they dont want this to be the permanent metric. Kudos.

    Also, a really big hand needs to go to @ChupChap for agreeing to do this interview! 🙂


  3. They have not devised any metric for measuring their success? Why is the goal of running the account?

  4. Thanks for insight. What I really wanted to know was do they have plans for Monetizing even their twitter feeds? If yes, how?

  5. That’s a question worth asking. Maybe I will include it in the next interview!

  6. @Mukul
    It’s not like we don’t have a metric, it’s just that those metrics are not good enough.
    Metrics keep changing depending on technology available. The best metric would be to figure out how many people read a tweet, but there is no way to figure that out. (like in case of ad sense or a blog post) So the only way , as I see it, to measure the quality of a tweet are things like number of clicks, RTs, number of followers an account has etc. Each of these metrics has its own short-falls and that’s the problem with measuring the success of an account!

  7. @chupchap Since you are a news source, it would be a good idea to measure the number of ‘mentions’ and RTs you get in the day.

    Another way might be to measure the number of positive and negative tweets talking of the brand and ranking them on the basis of the person’s engagement level, so that you find out the ‘potential reach’ of that tweet?

  8. @DNA: you guys can use url shortening services that allow you to track the number of clicks. At the same time see how many ppl are talking / mentioning about DNA on twitter as well as other social media / blogs / websites. Accordingly you can measure how well your tweets / campaigns perform. I wish you guys good luck.

    Good Coverage @Asfaq. Looking forward to more such interviews.

    – Kenroy (@k3n13)

  9. Kenroy: They already use to track clicks. However, it would be more meaningful (like Chupchap says)to figure out how many people read a tweet and how they actioned it.

  10. @Asfaq
    Yes we do watch out for RTs and other mentions online. The problem is that not all tweets are RT material. And tracking mentions, the way we do it as of now, takes a lot of time as DNA as another meaning too =D Nevertheless we do it, we even tried to solve a few distribution issues in Bangalore based in tweets like, “Am not getting DNA at home”

  11. @Kenroy Rodricks
    Thank you =D Ya we use we also keep tracking blogs (via google blogsearch and wordpress tags)

  12. You can measure success (traffic) through analytics or even better if you have google analytics.

  13. @Anonymous
    The account is managed by journalists and IT dept is not involved =P =D

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