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The Dalai Lama has joined Instagram

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The Dalai Lama has joined Instagram, marking the Tibetan spiritual leader's latest foray into social media. The announcement was made today on the Dalai Lama's official Twitter account, though his first Instagram post was published on February 1st. So far, he's posted 16 photos, including images of him alongside Larry King and Barack Obama.

The Dalai Lama joined Twitter in 2010, and has today amassed more than 8.5 million followers. (At the time of this writing he has about 5,600 followers on Instagram.) Like other prominent religious leaders he's openly embraced social media in recent years, though he acknowledges that there are risks with services like Facebook and Twitter, as he explained in a recent interview with Time.

"It depends on how you use them," the exiled leader said when asked whether social media hurts or harms happiness. "If the person, himself or herself, has a certain inner strength, a certain confidence, then it is no problem. But if an individual’s mind is weak, then there is more confusion. You can’t blame technology. It depends on the user of the technology."

Today's announcement comes nearly one week after President Obama welcomed the Dalai Lama to the White House. The meeting drew sharp criticism from China, which views the Dalai Lama as a separatist, with Chinese officials saying it could harm relations between Washington and Beijing.

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