Amidst an ongoing tussle between the Government of India and micro-blogging platform Twitter, an Indian alternative- Koo has been the center point of discussion for the last few months. A few of the Indian Ministers and Parliamentarians have already made their accounts on Koo after the platform gained significance under the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative launched last year. But the major attention to the social media platform came recently, after the Union Government and Twitter had a few problems on issues related to the platform denying compliance to India’s new IT Rules 2021. Since Koo and Twitter are very similar in their format and functioning, it is important to take a glance at the similarities and distinct features they offer to its user.
Founded by Jack Dorsey in 2006, Twitter is a microblogging platform known for its short and crisp format of messages within a word limit of 280 words. These short messages or posts are popularly known as “tweets”. Users who have signed up on the platform can follow other people, like tweets, share them and retweet. The platform, founded almost 15 years ago, is hugely popular throughout the world and is used actively by leaders and celebrities across the world to convey important messages and make announcements.
On the other hand, there is Koo – an Indian microblogging platform which is based in Bengaluru and was co-founded 15 months ago, in March 2020, by Indian entrepreneurs Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidwatka. The platform is loosely based on how its American competition Twitter works. Like Twitter, Koo is also available for both Android and IoS users. The app provides its users with an option to ‘Koo’, which means to tweet but within an expanded word limit of up to 400 characters. Apart from this, there are a lot of other similarities between both these apps which include the use of hashtags, trending section, the option to post multimedia files, option to follow, verified tick, option to direct message and much more. Fun fact: even the logos of both the apps are inspired by a bird.
At the first sight of both the platforms, a normal user can easily make out that the platforms are quite similar when it comes to the UI and overall format. The most noticeable difference for a normal user would be the color scheme of the app, which is blue in the case of Twitter, and yellow for Koo. But if someone goes into the details, they would find that there are a few changes that make Koo, a little different from Twitter.
Koo, which is a ‘Made in India and Made for India’ platform is now being seen as an alternative to Twitter, since it is providing everything that the “bird app” is providing its users, plus a few more localized features exclusively for Indian netizens. One such feature is the support of the local languages of India on the platform. Currently, the homegrown app provides support for 8 Indian languages including Hindi, English, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bangla and Gujarati, and it also promises to bring support for more Indian languages including Malayalam, Oriya, Punjabi and Assamese in the coming days.
On the other hand, Twitter also supports Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Urdu, Tamil, Bengali and Kannada languages on its platform.
Koo provides a word limit of 400 characters for its users to “Koo”, whereas this word limit in Twitter is still capped at 280 characters.
Also, the Koo app has divided the home page into 3 sections, namely – feed, people and trending, a thing which adds a different touch to the overall UI of the platform. The feed on Koo also works differently because the app lists the posts chronologically which means that recent posts appear on top. Twitter, on the other hand, uses a different algorithm to list tweets, where some posts are shown according to chronological order and some others are pushed in between based on the user’s following and the engagement. Twitteratis are also often shown tweets liked by people they follow, on their home feed.
Despite all the differences between the microblogging platforms, the biggest one would still be in terms of the audience as well as the reach of the platform, where if we compare closely, Twitter is the clear winner at the moment, with a far bigger global reach than Koo. Twitter’s user base at the moment is very diverse because of its global presence, whereas Koo, which has just started 15 months ago, is on the right track, but it definitely needs to push itself a little more in order to attract a common Indian user to its platform other than the political leaders and personalities. Well, the app has recently raised funds of 30 million dollars, which could provide a significant boost to its growth prospects in the country, in the coming months