Shashi Tharoor gives a lecture on Social Media at UNESCO Headquarters
Shashi Tharoor, member of the Indian Parliament, former Minister of State for External Affairs of India, who previously served as Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information and Senior Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, spoke about communication and social media in a changing global landscape at UNESCO Headquarters on 7 June 2011.
UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for External Relations and Public Information, Eric Falt introduced Mr Tharoor under whose leadership he worked in the UN before joining UNESCO in 2010.
Observing the effect of social media on current world affairs, Mr Tharoor noted that certain countries go as far as employing cyber police and blocking searches that threaten to disrupt governments' politics. The impact of instant news is incontrollable and can easily undermine and discredit the official versions. 4 billion people worldwide use mobile phones and get messages out before the mainstream media. "They shade light where the officials would prefer darkness," stressed Mr Tharoor.
Mr Tharoor mentioned that he was one of the first leaders in India to use Twitter to interact with the million or so people who follow him online. He tweets information that the media would prefer to ignore and his tweet about a young woman who had had both legs amputated saw offers of help come pouring in.
"Social media is here to stay and we need to live with this. Simply put, we will not be able to live without it. So let's make the most of it," said Mr Tharoor.