Friday, February 10, 2012

Australian PM Julia Gillard’s use of Twitter a lesson for Indian politicians, diplomats

Australian PM Julia Gillard with Manmohan Singh (File Photo)
AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Julia Gillard is now following babu blogger on Twitter. Surprised? One of the most prominent global leaders using social media to reach millions of active users around the world, Gillard’s way of using the micro-blogging site is an experiment in itself. Like a film star or a footballer making fans ultra-happy by writing autographs, Gillard has been wooing people across the globe by following over one lakh users in the micro-blogging site. And that is probably a lesson for the growing breed of Indian politicians, bureaucrats, diplomats and even PMO who have ventured into this exciting 140-character world of Twitter. Till a few days ago, @PMOindia, the official account of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had followed just one account: Indian Diplomacy, the official Twitter account of public diplomacy division of ministry of external affairs. Till February 9, it followed six more including Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, British Prime Minister David Cameron’s office, The White House, African Union and United Nations. No doubt, the Indian PM has managed over 42,000 followers in Twitter, but his office has not really been able to create any fan club on the net.
Also, none of the Tweets is what Dr Manmohan Singh himself posts. It was made clear from day one that it was not Singh’s personal account but of his office, meaning PMO. And that’s precisely why the Tweets lack any personal touch and read more like short excerpts of press releases. Here too Julia Gillard’s use of Twitter can be of help. If she Tweets herself, you can differentiate it from the rest because of her signature JG there. Maybe Indian PM does the same.
Twitter is used by a number of Indian politicians like Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, Union ministers Sachin Pilot, Ajay Maken, Milind Deora, MP Naveen Jindal and Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh. Among Indian diplomats using Twitter are former foreign secretary and India’s ambassador to US Nirupama Rao, India’s ambassador to South Korea Vishnu Prakash, MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin, 2005 batch IFS Sumit Seth to name a few. Some of them should follow the Gillard model of using Twitter to reach out to the maximum number of people and create unorganized fan clubs. Interestingly, Nirupama Rao who follows 135 people including her diplomat colleagues, journalists, foreign who's and who, has not followed PMO’s new Twitter venture (till February 9 night). Any reason?

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