The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Consulate in Hyderabad, India officially launched our social media platforms at an "Online to Offline" event hosted in coordination with a popular mall in the city and featuring Consul General Katherine Dhanani. The launch showed the public that the consulate does more than process visas and gave the public an opportunity to meet American officers in person. The newest and youngest American mission in the world, U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad, leverages social media to interact with Indian audiences by actively posting content about the United States, India, and the Indo-U.S. relationship.
In March 2011, we officially launched our social media platforms. We chose to hold our "Online to Offline" event at GVK One -- a popular, centrally-located mall, where we could engage the Saturday afternoon crowds. Consulate Hyderabad partnered with the mall, because they are reaching out to the same audience -- young and tech-savvy Indians. GVK One is also active on Facebook and Twitter, and they jumped at the chance to partner with Consulate Hyderabad and Facebook India on this unique event.
Consul General (CG) Dhanani spoke about the changing nature of diplomacy and expressed her excitement that the U.S government is using social media to reach new and younger audiences. Numerous people were interested to hear that the CG has her own blog. Those who already follow the CG's blog were excited to meet the CG in person.
Eight television channels covered the launch, and their reporting was broadcast during prime time news. Seven daily newspapers also published articles.
Since the offline event, the Consulate's Twitter account is adding new members every day. Our Facebook page has approximately 3,000 fans today. The most valuable feedback we have received so far has been on our Facebook wall. Here are a few of the comments we have received:
Prabhakar V. -- It's really good to have transparency of your Consulate through FB. I heartily congratulate you.Venkatesh C. -- I respect your event at GVK One Mall. I and my organization are always there to help American Interests in Hyderabad. If you need help do let me know.Srigopal B. -- Yes the event was very great. I am also always there for you. Anything their do let me know. Thanks for such a nice event. I was the lucky to get token number 21 and get a bag.Muzammil K. -- Good job done by US consulate and Facebook it was great and enjoyable event.
Social media is an effective tool of diplomacy, as it allows us to communicate with people we may not be able to reach through traditional methods of communication. However, it is also important to recognize the importance of making connections in person. By actually getting out and meeting people face-to-face, we showed the people of Hyderabad how serious we are about our relationship with them. We want to engage them online and offline.
For more information on this article, contact Priya Dharmavarapu at DharmavarapuVPP@state.gov.