Disclaimer: #HitsYouWhereItMatters is a tag line of Hits FM 91.2 – we sincerely hope they do not mind us using their line.
The importance of Twitter can never be undermined – it is one of the most influential social media platforms (Sorry Instagrammers). Sincerely though, we are not lying – presidential/prime ministerial campaigns have been won and protests have gained popularity/solidarity off the platform.
It is no wonder then US Ambassador Randy Berry resorted to the platform. His hashtag #CloseWhereItCounts is gaining popularity by the day, and is a no-nonsense hashtag – he drives the point home – that “US and Nepal have been friends for a long time.”
He introduced the campaign on April 1, 2019, with this tweet:
After being in Nepal for more than 6 months and seeing all the incredible work of my @USEmbassyNepal team, it has made me reflect on the US-Nepal relationship & the definition of neighbor & partner. The US may be geographically far away frm #Nepal, but we are #CloseWhereItCounts. pic.twitter.com/gY6bqndtBz
— Ambassador Randy Berry (@USAmbNepal) April 1, 2019
His second tweet on the subject hinted us where the campaign was hitting – bypassing the government to directly reach out to the Target Audience.
— Ambassador Randy Berry (@USAmbNepal) April 3, 2019
And then, the stories continued – he has shared beautiful stories of America’s association with Nepal since seven decades to the embassy’s current involvements in various #sociopolitical programs in Nepal. Just recently, he shared pictures of him playing cricket with the Nepalese cricket team – and guess what? He was sporting Nepal’s national jersey with the words ‘Rajdut Berry’ inscribed on the back.
Things like these, ‘him directly reaching out to the general population’ has helped his hashtag generate an immense mileage. Take the word ‘Rajdut Berry’ for instance, it instantly gets a Nepalese to associate with the ambassador. Beyond words, the ambassador’s actions speak volumes too – he has praised the beauty of the Himalayas, acknowledged Lumbini as the birthplace of Nepal, played with the national cricket team.
It is also important to note the success cannot be attributed entirely to the hashtag, Ambassador Berry has got a lot to do with it too. If you have noticed, embassies of powerful nations around the world evoke an unwelcoming feeling – huge imposing walls which cut off the embassy from the locals. In an interesting way, Rajdut Berry has broken these barriers – he has humanised himself. The ambassador, who goes beyond populist models shares a genuine love for Nepal on Twitter – he is seen talking to young girls about Gender Based Violence, seen smiling with farmers, he has even shared a video of him looking for a popular Biryani joint in Nepalgunj.
Although we cannot say with an absolute certainty but Rajdut Berry’s Twitter account may have inspired Chinese Ambassador Hou Yanqi too – she was seen joining Twitter in June 2019. She too started sharing stories of China’s association with Nepal – guess what she has shared a story of mo:mos too. However, she with 3,800 followers and he with 167,000 followers – Ambassador Yanqi has a long way to go.