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Social media, the latest news platform

Social media have been offering various handles to make and propagate news.
And you thought that all the hurly-burly over the President happened in New Delhi's corridors of power? Mamata Banerjee threw open a new debate — online — when she spoke about the candidature of APJ Abdul Kalam as the country's first citizen on Facebook. Curious choice of platform that, since it was on Facebook that Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra had posted the cartoon poking fun at the rail ministry in April, which had got him arrested and earned Mamata a lot of bad press. But then, Didi is as Didi does. Here's looking at some of the other issues that were thrashed out on social media before they made page 1 headlines and the nine o' clock news.

Amitabh Bachchan
As the country went into labour, the big news was broken by Papa Bachchan as he tweeted "IT'S A GIRL!!!!!! :- )))))". Proud granddad Amitabh Bachchan tweeted back, "I AM DADA to the cutest baby girl!!" Celeb watchers heaved a sigh of relief, puja was offered at temples and Twitter was flooded with congratulatory messages for the Bachchan family. Acknowledging the wishes, Amitabh tweeted, "thank you all!" Cho chweet!

David and Victoria Beckham
Posh and Becks are masters at playing the media for publicity. It came as a welcome surprise then that the couple took to their Facebook and Twitter profiles to share a glimpse of their newborn daughter, Harper Seven. "Daddy's little girl", Victoria wrote on her Twitter page and included a photo of her husband cuddling the newest addition to the family.

Whitney Houston
She was one of the most feted recording artists of all time and a media darling. Ironically, pop diva Whitney Houston's death flashed first on Twitter — a full 42 minutes before other media hounds picked it up. The tweet said: "omgg , my aunt tiffany who work for whitney houston just found whitney houston dead in the tub . such ashame & sad" (sic).

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan
This was one wedding that probably broke a billion rules. Multi-billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced his marriage to girlfriend Priscilla Chan to the world by updating his relationship status on FB. Priscilla picked up an off-the-rack wedding dress for less than $5,000 and the couple ordered food from their favourite restaurants for the guests. Simple or stingy?

A small step by a civilian, a giant leap for the Arab world. A Facebook page — "We Are All Khaled Said" — started by internet activist Wael Ghonim after Said was beaten to death by cops led to an outpouring of anger in Egypt. The online wrath boiled over, Tahrir Square happened, Hosni Mubarak had to go and revolution was the flavour of the season. The rest is history. [TNN]

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