Social media should not be ignored: Tharoor

New Delhi, Aug 23 (IANS) Social media shouldn't be ignored, says tech-savvy Human Resource Development Minister Shashi Tharoor, who believes that politicians have now come to realise the importance of social networking.

Recalling the time when he was criticised for using Twitter and even lost his job as minister of state for external affairs, Tharoor said: "When I started with Twitter four years ago, everyone was critical of me as being in the political space it was not a serious thing for a politician to do."

But things have changed.

"BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) president of that day, Mr. Venkaiah Naidu even said, 'too much tweeting will lead to quitting'. Then what happened, his own party later took to it.

"Sushma Swaraj is on Twitter, Mr. Modi (Narendra Modi) has been celebrating the fact that he has overtaken me with the largest number of followers on Twitter.

"So, no politician want to turn away from an audience of even 100 people, so who is going to turn away from an audience that has number in millions. You should seize that audience," he added.

The Congress MP from Thiruvanathapuram, who has served as UN undersecretary-general in charge of public information and who recently launched a new social networking website, Flatparty.com, feels social media shouldn't be ignored at all.

He feels that it will take an interesting turn once fourth generation (4G) service, a high-speed mobile telephone technology, which will result in faster data transmission speeds and call connectivity, will come into existence.

"Social media shouldn't be ignored. There are 10-12 percent of people who are using Internet. 70 percent of the Indian citizens have mobile phones in their hand. When there will be a convergence of the two, when 4G will replace 3G, then people will not have trouble to go on the net and it won't be so expensive also.

"So I think, social media will become very important in the future and we should be involved in it since the beginning," said Tharoor, who has also served as spokesperson for the UN secretary general.

(Aditi Chandra can be contacted at aditi.c@ians.in)

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