Nothing humanizes a politician more than a well-placed Instagram filter of them doing everyday things. The Obamas know it, and closer to home, Shashi Tharoor (or at least his team) seems to have caught on.
Yesterday, we chanced upon an Instagram account with the username shashitharoor, and promptly reached out to a member of his campaign team, who confirmed that the account, which started out as an experiment, belongs to the MP and is indeed legitimate. It was only today that he finally acknowledged the account, tweeting it out to his 2.13 million Twitter followers:
I’m now on Instagram! http://t.co/x4Ak7duLqg
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) March 31, 2014
He hasn’t yet taken a selfie, but in the twenty-four hours for which the account has been live, there has been a steady outpouring of Valencia-tinted outtakes of the Congress MP as he goes about on the campaign trail in Thiruvananthapuram.
Here is a quick rundown of what we learnt from the thirty-four posts that are currently up on the account:
1 So far, there are mostly standard pictures of Tharoor in full politician-with-a-purpose mode, ranging from him captured mid-stride, surrounded by a posse of men looking equally purposeful, to staid black and white shots of him thoughtfully perusing a document.
2 There are also pictures of the MP kissing babies. Lots and lots of babies.
The frequency of this was not lost on Tharoor himself, who acknowledged (albeit a little defensively) it in a tweet:
Never sneer at politicians kissing babies. I do it a lot. But offering your baby is the greatest sign of trust in a political leader.
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) March 26, 2014
3 While Tharoor’s views on the clichéd trope of politician-kissing-baby may be decidedly old school, his social media proclivities are anything but, evident in the vintage photo he promptly posted of himself from his days as a student at St. Stephen’s.
Because if there’s anything the Internet loves, it’s a good throwback.
(Especially if there’s Seventies hair involved.)
4 More babies, one on each arm. Except this time, they happen to be his own. Throwback #2, uploaded soon after the first one, features a beaming Tharoor with his two infant sons.
Apart from some very public gaffes, Tharoor maintains a prolific social media presence, and was the first Indian politician to amass 100,000 followers on Twitter. Until he was overtaken by Narendra Modi in July 2013, Tharoor’s 2.13 million-strong Twitter following was the largest of any Indian politician.
These are early days, but could this be the beginning of a new social media romance for the Congressman?
Iva Dixit is a newly minted journalist-in-progress at Columbia Journalism School. Her interests include gaps of all kinds: culture, gender, wage and thigh. Ask her a question or tell her your story @ivadixit