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What’s on PM Lee’s ‘favourites’ tab? Mathematicians’ blogs, photography websites

SINGAPORE — Known to be an active social media user, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday (Feb 24) shared his Internet consumption habits with an audience of innovators and disrupters, and revealed that he monitors his posts closely to see how people are reacting to them.

What’s on PM Lee’s ‘favourites’ tab? Mathematicians’ blogs, photography websites

PM Lee Hsien Loong speaking at Camp Sequoia. PHOTO: MCI

SINGAPORE — Known to be an active social media user, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday (Feb 24) shared his Internet consumption habits with an audience of innovators and disrupters, and revealed that he monitors his posts closely to see how people are reacting to them.

Speaking at an annual technology summit organised by venture capital firm Sequoia Capital India, Mr Lee was asked about his favourite websites and applications. In response, he said that apart from Singapore and international news websites, he follows photography websites, including one that shows astronomy pictures, and blogs by mathematicians.

“What other websites do I go to? I look at a page called Astronomy Picture of the Day. Some of you may know of that. Every day there is a picture — a nebula, a supernova, the sun, rings of Saturn, something like that,” he said. “I sometimes look at blogs by mathematicians to track what they are doing. I follow Terry Tao’s (Terence Tao Chi-Shen) blog. He covers all sorts of things. Usually I get lost after the first two paragraphs of his post but it is interesting to know what he is working on. He is the chap who proved that you can have as long a series of primes in arithmetic progression as you like.”

As an avid photographer, Mr Lee said he is a fan of photography websites. “You pick up ideas looking at what people do, how they take the pictures,” he said.

He added: “It is like wine, oenophiles drinking wine and activating the brains instead of just the taste buds. But it is fun.”  

Mr Lee cited Kindle as an app which he uses frequently, “because it is much more convenient than carrying a book”. “Although it does not get absorbed as well as with a physical book … overall the convenience makes it worthwhile,” he said. Other apps that he uses less regularly include Google Earth, iTunes and Spotify. “I have lots of other apps but I use them less often … I tried Spotify. I signed on and from inertia, I left it on for about two years and I was paying them S$10 a month,” he quipped.

On his social media activity, Mr Lee said he has his Facebook and Instagram accounts open on his desktop. “I track what is happening to my posts, what people are saying, and whether we have to respond to it or not,” he said. “It is quite useful because without those, I would not (be able to) reach out to significant segments of the population, here and overseas. It is also fun, if you do not become addicted to it.” 

He said in jest that he also monitors his posts to “see whether I am influencing people or whether I am being manipulated by the system”. “Posts that used to score spectacular homeruns, now have no audience sometimes,” he said. “You are not sure whether the world has changed, whether you have become boring or whether the algorithm is trying harder to persuade you to click on ‘boost this post’!”

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