Faced with Narendra Modi's first-mover advantage on social media, Congress is getting its act together by organising the first-of-its-kind workshop at New Delhi on Thursday to train spokespersons on twitter, facebook and other interactive internet sites.
The workshop will have some 300 participants, including five representatives from each state, at a time when BJP has already turned pro-active on social media with the Gujarat Chief Minister being seen as the moving spirit behind the initiative. Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari and Union Minister Shashi Tharoor will be training the participants on the "dos and don'ts" of micro blogging.
Several other experts have also been invited for the workshop to speak on how political parties globally have used social media to communicate with people. The AICC will also have a Cell on Digital Media under young MP Deepender Hooda which will be part of the Communication Department headed by party General Secretary Ajay Maken.
The initiative on social media got a boost with Rahul Gandhi taking centre stage in restructuring the organisation. Though the digital penetration in India is limited compared to the west, social media is being seen as an effective tool to reach out to the young ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
The social media becomes more important when 65 per cent of the population of the country is below 35. There is also talk that Congress will soon hold training sessions for "IT cells" to be formed in the states, localising the party's microblogging response even further.
Interestingly, Tharoor, who is among those having highest followers in the country on Twitter, had earlier landed himself in problem with the leadership on some of his tweets which had created controversy.