Shashi Tharoor twitter account crosses 10,000 followers

Monday, June 29, 2009

NEW DELHI - “Minister Twitter - that is how the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister of Foreign Trade Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi greeted Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor on a Dubai stopover last week.

In Dubai my old friend Sheikha Lubna, UAE foreign trade minister, hosted a friendly lunch at which she greeted me as ‘Minister Twitter’! he tweeted June 24.

The title was apt as Tharoor collected over 10,000 followers on his account (@shashitharoor) - the micro blog social networking tool, which is the current internet flavour.

Tharoor had started his twitter account during this electoral campaign in Thiruvananthapuram, but the number of ‘followers’ - or people who have subscribed to his account to get his updates instantly - grew by leaps and bounds only after he got elected and became a minister.

As per a twitter tabulation website, Twitterholic, Tharoor’s account has the largest following of any account based in New Delhi.

But, he still has a long way to go compared to politicians in the western hemisphere - US President Barack Obama (@barackobama) has nearly 16 lakh followers, with even the mayor of an American city, San Francisco, Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom), having over 6.3 lakh followers.

But, among Indian politicians he continues to be unique. The only other ‘competition’ is from fellow congress MP from Kannur, K. Sudhakaran (@ksudhakaranMP), who has also been tweeting frequently.

The popularity of Tharoor’s twitter could also be attributed to his constancy to tweet - with even a foreign trip not breaking up his habit.

No Blackberry functionality in Yemen! A few quick updates during a short break at a PC, Tharoor apologised after a relatively long twitter silence after he reached Yemen for the meeting of council of ministers of the Indian Ocean rim countries.

After Michael Jackson’s death, he even tweeted about his meeting with the King of Pop when he was working in United Nations.

Met MJ once in my UN hat. Musical genius, but distinctly odd (like Mozart?) Wanted to be a UN goodwill ambassador but we cldn’t recommend, Tharoor had said last Friday.

Twitter has even become a source for queries on India’s foreign policy, with users regularly bombarding him with questions on India’s position on Australian attacks, Pakistan and even the state of regional passport centres.

March 5, 2010: 4:10 am

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