It is appropriate – 2009 was the year when the world Tweet-ed away to glory. The number-of-twitter-followers rank list became more important than the Forbes billionaires list.
Shashi Tharoor – India’s self-made political celebrity (unlike the other undeserving inheritors) – tweeted about every minute of his itinerary. Earlier in 2009, he was elected to the Parliament and appointed Minister of State for External Affairs. Tharoor knew he had some real work to do. And unlike a celebrity son, he probably does not have the leverage or the budget to roam the countryside and dine in the modest homes of awe-struck ‘poor’ hosts. If Tharoor had a 30-hour day, we knew all about it, if he had an interesting meeting, we knew it. We also knew what he liked/disliked about cricket and bollywood. Every now and then, there would be a tweet that testified his Keralite roots. Last September, the prodigal politic, tweeted in resignation “cattle class out of solidarity with all our holy cows” after he was censured publicly for flying business class and enjoying the luxury of five-star hotels.
In 2006, Tharoor was on the verge of becoming the Secretary General of the UN. So he surely is a diplomat of indisputable caliber and charm. But Holy Cow! We all know who those cows are. Tharoor survived the ensuing row. I am actually incredibly impressed he survived it in a political party which doesn’t hesitate in prostrating in front of the holy cows and collectively, think nothing of sacrificing dissidents regularly at their holy altar. I had thought the axe was about to come down on him, after indignant outbursts by party loyalists.
No harm done…Tharoor kept tweeting (I sent him a tweet to commiserate his plight and to congratulate him for maintaining the humour – praise the Twitter-Lord!). Meanwhile, the incident provided for some hearty laughs
Last week, Tharoor did it again – just when Indian authorities were red-faced in trying to explain how David Headley roamed the country with a tourist visa wantonly plotting terror strikes, and our policymakers responded by calling for tighter visa issuance procedures. Tharoor tweeted “Is all that worth it just in the hope of making it difficult for a future Headley to recce? R we going 2allow terrorists 2make us less welcoming?” and that “the 26/11 terrorists “had no visas” to enter India”. Ouch! That must have hurt. All hell broke loose. His senior minister censured him and earlier today, asserted his authority. The opposition jumped at their chance. Meanwhile, his 550,000 tweety followers stand firm in their support for their hero.
But overall, it was interesting to see that there was lesser heat generated this time – after all, this time, Tharoor had merely commented on a vital security issue, and not about a ‘holy cow’. Did someone say 2009 was the year of Twitter? Wonder what 2010 will bring?
About me – After months of unsuccessful attempts at trying to fit into the Twitter world, I finally deleted my account last night 😦