The ministry of external affairs now tweets@Indiandiplomacy

The external affairs ministry has also succumbed to the charms of the little bird. It has created a Twitter account and got several followers already.

In probably the first effort by a government ministry to harness the new age internet tools, the Twitter account was created on Thursday, which initially had only two posts. But through word of mouth, it got scores of followers.

A Facebook account is also being planned as is the launch of a new web portal by the public diplomacy division of the external affairs ministry, an official told IANS.

However, officials were not keen to publicise the effort, and termed it still a “work in progress”.

They said the new web portal would be “interactive” through the links to social networking sites, but refused to give further details.

The ministry’s publicity division had so far been involved in organizing seminars on aspects of foreign policy in different parts of the city, with a view to take the foreign policy-making process closer to the people.

While several government departments and ministries have had comprehensive websites, they have been all wary of using social networking tools. There is one notable exception — Delhi Traffic Police’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. It was launched two month ago and has become a runaway success.

The use of Facebook and Twitter for public diplomacy is not a new phenomenon, especially with the U.S. and Britain even having created a code on the usage of this tool.

It has also become the subject of academic treatises and discourses on what has been termed “public diplomacy 2.0”.