Dharamsala, Sep 11 (IANS) Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has over nine million fans following him in cyberspace.
Although not tech-savvy, the Dalai Lama, revered as a demi-god by his people and followers the world over, is quite a hit on social media sites Twitter and Facebook.
The phenomenal fan following is all the more significant as his private office, based in this northern Indian town, believes extensive use of social media helps in reaching out to the netizens worldwide.
"Many of our world's problems and conflicts arise because we have lost sight of the basic humanity that binds us together as a human family," is one of the recent tweets from the spiritual leader.
As of Sep 10, the Dalai Lama's Twitter account @DalaiLama rose to 5,080,571 followers against 2,075,807 on July 26, 2011 - or 3,004,764 followers added in just one year.
Likewise, on Facebook the Nobel peace Laureate had 4,297,234 likes on Sep 10.
The social media accounts are managed by his team of technological experts, including his official photographer Tenzin Choejor.
"A small team is managing the Twitter and Facebook accounts of His Holiness (as the Dalai Lama is respectfully known as). We regularly tweet his inspirational teachings, discourses and tour programmes," Choejor told IANS.
"Of course, it's the best way to connect with your followers," he added.
The Dalai Lama's office says the Chinese scholars from Taiwan and mainland China are regularly interacting with the spiritual leader on Facebook posts. It also helps in understanding his 'middle-way' policy for Tibet.
Choejor said even though His Holiness has had a website since 2005, social media sites are more effective tools.
"The Facebook account has more than four million likes. We regularly post comments and replies to keep people following him updated with the latest happenings. The page has a touch of spirituality with quotations from the Dalai Lama's books and speeches.
"The pictures are splashed all over the page to make it attractive and to make the readers look at the entire page and not just the top of it," he said.
Even his forthcoming visits and lectures are posted on Facebook. His speeches are on his YouTube account.
"The teaching sessions held anywhere in the globe are available on YouTube. Every day after the session is over, two videos - one in Tibetan dialect and other in English - are uploaded so that devotees worldwide can access them first thing in the morning," Choejor said.
The teachings of the Dalai Lama, the global face of the Tibetan exile movement, on ethics, non-violence, peace and religious harmony have made him one of twentieth century's most popular and revered figures.
In an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan, the 77-year-old pontiff, who inspires writers from the Orient and the West, said: "I don't email or use a computer, and still haven't quite worked out how to use a mobile phone."
It was in 1959 that the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, whom China calls a separatist, fled Tibet after an anti-communist uprising. His government-in-exile, which never won recognition from any country, is based here.
India is home to around 100,000 Tibetans.
(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)