Image courtesy the President’s Twitter account

On the occasion of the World Conference on Youth 2014, the President  Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa announced over social media he would have, and not for the first time, a Twitter Q&A on Thursday, 8th May at 11.30am. We archived the entire conversation, conducted under the hashtag #WCY2014MR.

At the end of the session, a data visualisation of the tweets posted to the President looked like this. The image shows that while many opted to ask the President a question by addressing him on Twitter (@presrajapaksa is a verified account) many others opted to just use the #WCY2014MR hashtag.

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Soon after the President concluded the Q&A session, a little over an hour after it began, the archive featured over 1,300 unique tweets, and a combined total, with retweets, of close to 3,000 tweets for the session.

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Revealingly, not a single one of the most retweeted questions during the session, posed to the President by three leading journalists in Sri Lanka, were answered.

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The questions were,

Not a single question we posed went answered either. In particular, we repeatedly asked the President, the father of Namal Rajapaksa MP and Rohitha Rajapaksa, how their reprehensible behaviour and utterances in public reflected on the values he, as the President, sought to inspire in youth.

The Republic Square has three key take away points from the Twitter Q&A.

Prophetically, gifted cartoonist Gihan de Chickera published this cartoon in today’s Daily Mirror newspaper. It is a perfect capture of today’s Twitter Q&A of a President who is more keen to engage on social media than in strengthening peace.


Access the data visualisation of the Twitter Q&A here. Don’t try this unless you have a pretty powerful computer.

To search through and read every single tweet in the #WCY2014MR session, click here.

Note that live data collection for the archive was stopped at 5.44pm on 8th May 2014.