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Facebook facelift for Foreign Ministry

india Updated: Sep 05, 2010 01:58 IST
Jayanth Jacob

The ministry of external affairs is getting itself a digital makeover and moving up the Internet’s pecking order to web 2.0 — interactive, integrated and, ministry mandarins are hoping, interesting.

At its core are social networking sites. Shedding its conservative sarkari mindset, the MEA’s website will integrate itself to Facebook, Youtube, blog sites along with e-publishing and webcasts.

It’s already on Twitter — despite the irony that the MEA lost a minister of state partly due to his devotion to that micro-blogging site. The MEA’s twitter site does follow Tharoor, though. The initiatives are being taken by the ministry’s Public Diplomacy (PD) division.

PD’s twitter account already has 2,400 plus followers. And as of now, the tweets are information-bases, updating the press releases and speeches. But the division is also responding to comments from followers on issues varying from China to Pakistan to passport through direct messages.

"We have to move from ‘need to know’ basis to ‘need to share the positive works we do,” says Navdeep Suri, joint secretary (PD).

The ministry plans to put documentaries of India’s work abroad — Afghanistan, for example — on youtube, foreign policy lectures as webcasts and texts for referral and feedback.