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A year after Shashi Tharoor left the ministry, Twittermania is back in South Block. Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao was the first to step into Tharoor's shoes by taking to Twitter in a big way to make announcements and clarifications. The MEA website even had an icon for "FS on Twitter". This past week, MEA spokesperson Vishnu Prakash joined the "tweeple" community. The buzz is that there will be more senior officials who could be joining the Twitter gang. The MEA is clearly enamoured with the social network model of diplomacy, even with the restrictions on wordage. The MEA website has now replaced "FS on Twitter", with "MEA on Twitter", suggesting a larger role for Tweeting bureaucrats. That could also be linked to the fact that Rao now has 6,000 followers, nowhere near Tharoor's record but surprisingly substantial. The new digital diplomacy is said to have originated with the Public Diplomacy Division headed by Joint Secretary Navdeep Surie and assisted by young diplomat (a geek) Abhay Kumar, who have already won awards for their efforts. It remains to be seen whether the Twitter revolution survives Rao's retirement later this year.
Twitter may be all the rage but there are hidden dangers as the BJP is finding out. Hardly had the storm created by Sushma Swaraj's remarks in her micro blogging account on the P J Thomas fiasco abated when a new problem has arisen in the form of an anonymous Twitter account — BJPInsider. It has become a hot topic of discussion in party circles and is causing much concern because of its explosive contents. The anonymous Tweeter has made very serious allegations against a top BJP leader in the context of the Public Accounts Committee's scrutiny of the CAG report on 2G spectrum licence allocation. The BJP leadership is literally all atwitter.
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