'Inspired by Arab Spring, Lebanese PMs hit up Twitter'

Former prime minister Hariri adopts @HaririSaad handle, uses website to conduct live Q&A sessions with his followers, 'Daily Star' reports.

Hariri and Hariri 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Hariri and Hariri 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Inspired by the so-called Arab Spring revolutions, Lebanese politicians have begun tapping microblogging website Twitter in order to connect with Lebanon's younger generation, Lebanon's English-language Daily Star reported on Thursday.
Former prime minister Sa'ad Hariri - who tweets under the Twitter handle @HaririSaad - used the website this past week for daily live question-and-answer sessions. Hariri was able to answer questions from his followers on issues ranging from the UN Special Tribunal on his father's assassination to his favorite films, the Star reported.
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The sessions are underlined by the casual way that Twitter connects its users, with the heavyweight politician beginning one session with the informal greeting: “hi everyone hope you had a great day, i am online lets [sic] get started," according to the report.
According to one media analyst speaking with the Star, Lebanese politicians, including the current Prime Minister Najib Mitaki, are using social networking websites for publicity, and to connect them with a "young, educated and urban" population in the country.
Lebanese blogger Imad Bazzi said politicians saw the importance of social networking after the grass-roots movements on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere online helped to fan the flames of the so-called Arab Spring revolutions.
"[They] finally realized that stepping into this medium might get them more exposure," Bazzi told the Star.