Why Diplomat Nirupama Rao works on undiplomatic Twitter

Why is Nirupama Rao so effective on Twitter? She's getting the basics right.


The Indian Express reports today in their 'Delhi Confidential' section that the Indian Ambassador to the United States, Nirupama Rao's Twitter account is the only one worth its salt among our ambassador and diplomacy presence on social media. The articles cites a study conducted by the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication of the George Washington University that measured not just the number of followers of an account but their influence as well.

 Why Diplomat Nirupama Rao works on undiplomatic Twitter

A screengrab of Nirupama Rao's Twitter ID

Qualitatively these could be some reasons, though basic, that work for the Ambassador to the US.

1) Unlike the PMO's handle this one talks. Her views on issues as well as her responses are clear even if not edgy.

2) She distributes: articles that she has written across the media, articles she has liked, tweets of others - again there's personality behind the distribution.

3) Her own activity is not just announced through bland text, but images, meeting details and more.

4) And you do get to know more about her, than just work - music, cinema tastes et al

While Diplomats are being encouraged worldwide to engage more with global and local audiences, Twitter is probably the medium that is least diplomatic.

It is perhaps therefore an enormous challenge for diplomats to be present on Twitter and be true to what they do. The screw-ups can become disproportionate and there have been enough examples of that. Within the constraints of the amount of information that diplomats can release and how they can release it, it is a slippery slope. The skill likely lies in making press release-worthy material more exciting than it could ever be!

Ambassador Rao, certainly does well on that count.


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