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Monday, Oct 18, 2021
Outlook.com

Among The Followers

Twitter is fickle and fun. But don’t confuse it with the real world.

Among The Followers
Illustration by Sorit
Among The Followers
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Those who live by the tweet, die by the tweet. For some months now, Shashi Tharoor has been a Twitter phenomenon, tweeting several times a day to over seven lakh followers. Though the tweets have often got him into trouble (‘cattle class’, the visa issue etc), Tharoor has been unrepentant.

A few weeks ago—before the sweat equity controversy broke—he explained his position to me in an interview for CNBC. The advantage with Twitter, he suggested, was that it allowed him to reach over seven lakh people whenever he wanted, without relying on the filter of the media. His Twitter audience, he pointed out gently, was much greater than the number of people who would watch our interview. (True).

At the time, many peopled regarded Tharoor’s Twitter following with awe. Twitter was the voice of a young, enthusiastic middle class, happy to have its say on a variety of issues and unburdened by the pressures of literacy. (You can use telegraphese on Twitter because tweets can only be 140 characters...

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