Why Twitter?

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One of the most significant developments in my life this year (and probably the lives of many people) has been Twitter. From not knowing that it was a two way medium to being in the run for the dubious title of ‘Twitter Indian of the year’ it has been a learning experience. 
I am often asked by journalists why am I on Twitter. And my standard answer is “because it gives me a platform to say what I want when I want. And to connect with like( and unlike) minded people”. But till this morning I didn’t quite realise just how much this medium means to me.

I was in Chandigarh for a Tata Sky event and there was a press conference organised. Once the formal part was over I was chatting with a few familiar faces from the press. One particular lady from The Tribune caught my attention. She appeared well read and asked intelligent questions.Most reporters at such events are only interested in asking me, “so what’s your next film?”. Out of loyalty to the brand I endorse, I request them to try and talk about the event, I do of course oblige and answer a question or two about the films I am doing. I finished my chat with  the journos and said bye .

Next morning, glancing through  varoius Tata Sky stories in all the city papers, I looked with particular interest, for the piece by the lady from The Tribune. I was surprised to find her painting me in the same brush strokes of disdain as one would an air head. Even making a joke about my interest in discussing socially relevant issues like climate change and price rise( as opposed to commenting on bollywood relationships as her collegue had asked). My reason for not talking about my films( instead focusing on tata sky) was written about as having only a film or two on hand! I wondered where I had gone wrong. Should I , in blatant disregard to the brand event, have used the platform to plug my 4 forth coming ‘big’ banner films with  Pritish Nandy’s, Subhash Ghai, Prakash Jha and Ram Gopal Varma? And also mentioned my multicrore film with Excel Entertainment ( with Junior AB)?
I was confused.

What was worrying was, an intelligent modern woman of today, an opinion maker, had happily decided that actors were only good enough for frivolous talk and talk linked to their work, and that any thing else of relevance they had to say was a joke! You can only imagine what mainstream ‘serious’ journos think of actors. Is it a surprise then that the public who reads all this thinks that we as a breed are shallow and socially irrelevant? And then people ask us why we don’t have an Indian version of Sean Penn or Geeorge Clooney or Brad Pitt( these stars are well known for using their star power to make a difference).

I am so used to thinking of myself as more than an actor , and this made me realise that the system only sees us as the exact opposite: just actors with nothing more to offer .

Thank God for Twitter. The one place where I can be who I am. The place where I don’t have to be forced to conform to stereotypes. The place where I can learn and grow with the help of like minded people. 
Thank God for Twitter: for it keeps me real.      

66 Comments on “Why Twitter?”

  1. Aditya

    It is indeed not good that actors are seen in that way.But Twitter, is definitely changing that perception, as more and more fans get to talk to them apart from the films that they are doing or the parties they are attending. Well said, Gul.

  2. Gaurav Mishra

    The power of being vocal is what ultimately is being sought since ages (read politicians). Glad to live in the world were means of communication is no longer a problem.

    Stay beautiful 🙂

  3. Nitin

    Right said ma’am. Twitter is a good way of micro-blogging. At-least you can express what are you feeling. You feel independent.

  4. Yadhav

    Others opinion about you is none of your business …

  5. harsh pareek

    hey gul,

    one answer to your question about the public image about actors. in today’s time where common man is quite intellect in its thinking, people are drawn more towards movies which holds a vital impact on their lives. each of the sean connery, george clooney and last but more remarking movies are from brad pitt. the movies wherein they are shown demonstrates the exemplary work which they have finished upon. in indian contest apart from mr bachchan i don’t think so any actor would dare to work in those ultimate commitments.. nor the script in india would relate to such a king of extraordinary work. hence mr bachchan talking holds vital importance than any other modern day actor… rest all other are normally in show business with a less of intelligence holding on their voices and thoughts..

    possibly thats answers…

    keep twitting…

    harsh pareek

  6. Dilettantee

    Serious Journalism is an art. People motivated out of the need to earn money will never, i repeat never, do justice to an honest profession like this one. I respect you as a human being and i am the common public.
    I remember i was wondering yesterday, “IS Gul working only for TataSky these days?”, and i tweeted about it too.
    I loved your response when you said” I wish. Then i’d be underworked and overpaid”.
    That speaks for itself.I guess you are an idol to many.
    Keep it up!

  7. Saurav

    hey..to begin with me hv been following u on twitter n going by ur updates m sure u gt more than a couple of films on hand..lol…bt that’s besides the point.. u being frm the media industry wud very well know, how important it is for senseless journos to fill in their ‘alloted 500’ words n anyone or any incident that remotely stirkes their imagination finds a significant part of their storyline…so as they say, tke every response/feedback with a pinch of salt..

    PS: y dont u refer her to the above mentioned film makers…her scripts wud giv jaideep sahani a run for his money..lol

  8. Prasoon Joshi

    I think what makes Twitter “the platform where you can be what you are” and totally different from a regular social networking site (twitter also is one by the way!) is the fact that you (as a celebrity, a larger than life personality, etc.) belong to your followers (present in their timelines, RTs, and @s) while you still are very much an unapproachable celebrity all along.
    About the point that celebs are not socially responsible, well, I don’t know why these things are said only about the people in the film and entertainment business. What about people from the sports world, businessmen ?? The fact that glamor is associated with a ‘blond-like-intellect’ may be a reason!

  9. Sandeep Varma

    Gul Panag, its not your fault that the so called media and on a larger scale the public think that female actors(particulary) can only dance. Its good that now there are various avenues where one can share his/her views. Keep tweeting after all it costs only 140 letters at a time

  10. Nagesh Kamath

    Gul – clearly heartfelt. You say it as it is!

    I wonder how many people realise that celebs (primarily actor celebs) are human beings too! Sometimes I wonder how much of the ‘airhead’ categorisation of Bollywood celeb actreses (yes, I guess its more with actresses than actors!) is a media creation. On the other hand I have also witnessed interviews and the like where some actors and actresses have been abolute airheads too! Makes me wonder if thats editing to retain only the airhead-like sounding portion, or the actors are putting on an ‘airhead act’ or is that the way they really are!

    Any which way, as long as there are the likes of you, I suppose the opinion and portrayal will change for sure! Keep plugging away. Please continue to be ‘yourself’! 🙂

  11. Rahul Goyal

    In order to start your 2010 with a pure & Clear heart you must FORGIVE those who did you dirty in 2009!

    I think Ms Tribune is ill..Jus tel her 2 ‘Get well soon’. I think U r doing a fantastic job. Lets try & make this world a better place.

    Cheers…take care

  12. Vikas Wadhwani

    hey…like your article…i really like you and your comments on twitter are quite interesting. Your article targeted at this reporter is justified and frustration understandable as this is how the press sees you as actor’s..probably because thats the thing which is your primary profession and you getting endorsements such as tata sky is due to your primary profession, and hence her questions about your movies are justifiable I recon. At least we know that you are doing serious movies now. Also Brad Pit, clooney, etc go ahead and use their star power and make a difference and thats exactly what every film star should be doing irrespective of how the media looks at it. In the end its the intention to do the deed, and if the intention is good you will definitely be successful in achieving your aim…Which I am sure you realise on a day to day basis on twitter with your posts. So dont worry about these reporters..just keep up the good work and it shall be recognised and appreciated…sometimes the recognition is an award like Indian of the Year or sometimes it comes in the form of a smile..which is much more precious or infact priceless

  13. Amrendra

    We have an actor and a better journalist here.

  14. Jeetu

    Excellent…this provokes me to get back to twitter again!! You are absolutely right when you say stars should use their influence to bring about change…the best example in my case being A R Rahman…as a die hard ARR fan it is my dream to be part of his initiative especially causes relating to charity and without getting appreciated for it. The Chennai Fans have already initiated it & you shall see it soon being replicated in other parts of the country. It is just his music that motivates & moves you. His music encompasses every emotion of life & makes you go on.

    Best of luck to you & hope that you too influence & bring about positive change.

    PS: I am yet to receive a reply on the Capdase iPhone cases presentation I had mailed you.

  15. Dumbtwits

    Good one GP 🙂
    More power to you. Though you didn’t say what the ‘intelligent’ questions the lady from The Tribune was posing? Or in the style of Red in That 70s Show, Dumbtwit! would be a good response to her. I know you must be smarting at her callous article, but it takes all twits to make this world.

  16. Deepkamal Singh

    I think people behave sensibly on twitter coz of limitation of characters, in 140 chars one can only put sensible summary in least required words,
    its a one sided affair, common ppl can follow celebs easily and be updated and they have no mean to interrupt in celebs lives, neither 140 char can be harmful to anyone anyway…

  17. Ajitesh

    Just relax Gul… we all meet jerks in our life.. the best thing is to ignore and move on… by the keep up the good work!

  18. Shreyank

    I’m with you! 🙂

  19. @samudranb


  20. Supriya

    Well said Gul….

    Dont change yourself or your thinking.Just stay they same.

  21. Lucky Saggi

    I am come here from your link given at Twitter…

    Thanks for the same.

    I am a big fan of you and want to see you more and more movies. The best part of you is your smile.

    Good Bless you…and all the best…

    We want to write a column on you on our website: http://www.azadawaz.com, please give your permission.


    Lucky Saggi

  22. Madhur Vedant

    Hmm…..today media seems to be distracted from its orignal work.-to act as a info channel….now they consider it only money making machine… And The motto is : ABUSE,MISSUSE BUT GIVE ME THE BREAKING NEWS…! 🙂

  23. Shiv

    Gul Rocks

  24. Kartik Mistry

    I must follow you now! 😉

  25. Praveen

    You should thank the founder, Jack. He made it. Any way, nice of you. So, what we see is not how we see….!

  26. Mihir

    well ! we love u for wot u r … hence RT 😉

  27. Amit

    Hi, It is sad to hear that people think that good looking people lack brains, and the fact that being a part of film industry and playing characters are noticed as nothing but what brainless people do, infact on the contrary films require actors who have an indepth knowledge of the characters and their feelings and that is why the actors portray them so beautifully for their sense of reading the human mind and feelings which requires a great deal of intelligence but then on the flip side it gives me a reason to smile that no matter what sh was interviewing you and not otherwise.

  28. naresh

    apart from u,pritish who are the other celebs who think twitter is a two way talking medium?i doutb if others understand. what they do is..good mornign tweeples, going for shoot, back home..this is what they talk and its mostly one sided statements. they dotn want to communicate with their followers.they are using twitter just as a medium to promote their films..or whatever. so u made it so much on twitter because u thought it necesary to reply to normal guys and it shows. grt job gul..keep it up…

  29. Vaibhav Pareek

    Hats Off to you M’am

  30. Prasad

    Wav..! thanks Gul… You have changed my opinion on your micriblogging by this brilliant article.
    Keep tweeting.. Happy Xmas.. happy new Year…

  31. twilight fairy

    Well written post as expected 🙂

    It’s a pity & our media is definitely guilty of the charges you mention. Stereotyping is perhaps an Indian trait. Another one is “assumption”. I consciously try and stay away from both. I was also thinking the same some months back – had it not been for twitter we would not have known so many things about so many public figures. Twitter is a great leveler that way. It’s also a great PR tool – one where you dont have to hire any agency to do the job and can do so yourself.

    On a lighter note “From not knowing that it was a two way medium ” – this reminded me of one of my earliest tweets to u 😛 🙂

  32. KpsychS

    Ahh, the journalist got her moment of fame. She just painted a well-liked lady in bad colors. As simple as that. As for you, ppl know who you are and for what you stand for. As simple as that 🙂

  33. Danish

    Nice post 🙂
    Guess, Twitter is justified in mentioning you as one of leading Indian Twitter advocates in its official blog!
    And you are correct in saying that Social Web in general and Twitter in particular are revolutionary platforms for private individuals to express their opinion and views. The popularity of these indicates that these content are more often than not, considered much more valuable than those coming from professionals from traditional media coming with a predefined notion of what they want to write and only expecting you to affirm or deny it.
    You in particular have been bending this rule quite successfully, hope your others coworkers follow 🙂

  34. Pramod Pathak

    Dear Gul,
    Remember that the lady in question is an employee and was sent to the event with a purpose and must have been tasked accordingly. She certainly was looking for some interesting story coz the fine actor like you don’t drop in Chandigarh very often! Lets just see from her employer point of view and you may get the answer.

  35. Vijay

    That Lifestyle section isn’t in my issue of the Tribune in Rajpura,Punjab so I checked out the article online at http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20091222/ttlife1.htm#4 written by Manpriya Khurana email address manpriya@tribunemail.com
    I think she wants to be Shobhaa De,(criticises women praises men),but part of the problem however ,could be what’s left of your attitude http://tinyurl.com/gulmove http://tinyurl.com/gulint (BTW I used to have exactly the same attitude,still do in one aspect of my life).She might have picked up on the conceit and condescension then responded with disdain.
    You are no longer a person who happens to act,a dilettante ,but an actress,acting defines you,you have become what you do,therefore if you don’t conform to your “role” some people might feel disappointed,let down and uneasy.
    Indians still need their stereotypes,cliches and pigeonholes for people.Farming is a bit like the Film Industry,in some respects.
    I asked you about your “machine” yesterday,but you decided to read that as a comment about the Siemens,I meant your brain http://tinyurl.com/gulint
    Twitter gives me an opportunity to express myself,interact with people who I ordinarily wouldn’t meet and it is an adult forum (kids and students aren’t that into it,they don’t want to tell their parents what they are doing).
    Twitter’s a bit of an escape from real live for me if I am honest with myself.
    Apparently Twitter is like cocaine.
    Social Media as Vices http://tinyurl.com/pmoberg

  36. Sachin Wagh

    Well written …… very thoughtful!!

  37. Hitesh

    well i was watching this especial report where they were telling about affects of twitter on people……especially cause its now rapidly taking over Indian youth…………..they couldn’t even come up with an answer which meant something as much as yours reason do…….

    for me, twitter bring my fav stars close to me…….getting a peak into their life’s ….especially not through an MMS…..or by being stalker….It’s always good to know the other side of the story. Twitter shows that……….though i believe blogs can do the same at a much greater extent but twitter is the new ‘inn’ thing…….

    hey, it feel really nice….to find this side of yours…….

    You got a loyal fan…. :))

  38. Dr.Navdeep S.Bains

    Sat sri akal Gul,
    Carry on Gul, Don’t care about who is writing and what has written about you, Go ahead, we all are with you…….God Bless you…
    Remember the words of our Gurus” Jis ke sir uper tu swamy so dukh kaisa paave”.
    and also,on my principle you will definitely get positive results that “Work is worship irrespective of results”…
    Take care……
    Dr.Navdeep S. Bains,

  39. kanwardyal singh(kdkhanna1)

    wow!!!i really really like all ur posts n my perception of the actors has always been one of respect ,hardwork and brains!!after all,one cant reach this level of success without all these and following you at twitter has nothing but enhanced that belief!!maybe that lady did all that out of jealousy n i think that the popular opinion about actors has changed drastically since the past 4-5 yrs and they are looked upon as mentors rather than just eye candy!! n sites like twitter which help us fans to communicate directly with you guys have helped alot with the same..we get to know the real you ,your thoughts on stuff other than films !! if i may say so, we fans really enjoy ur presence on twitter and really look forward to ur thoughts!!! God bless u with all the success and we r right with u always 🙂

  40. Padmanabhan Bhaskaran

    What you say is really similar to all of us from various walks of life!It was exactly a platform for all of us to express ourselves without any restrictions!

  41. mitali chatterjee

    Gul i love your quotes i read your page everyday, i do that not because you are an actor of repute but because you come across as an interesting person who has a sensible opinion about things that matter.There is a general perception about women actors in general, and women in particular..it is a mindset of many..its something we may or may not be able to change, but, a biiiiiggggggggg BUT is that if we get overtly upset over such people we give them undue importance over us. Thats not a very feasible idea, we have to do and be who we are irrespective of what people think,that is our calling…so do what you you think is right, and focus on those that are the wind beneath your wings..we cant change anybody except ourselves…so lift away gal.

  42. Sandeep

    Well, Im impressed by way, you have put your thoughts across.I always wondered, if beauty and brains exist in coherence and there I find one. God bless!

  43. sandipkumar

    interestingly, i would’ve thought the same of you if i wasn’t following you on twitter. 🙂
    stereotypical, judgmental, whatever you call it.. but the masses will only swallow what they’ve been fed with. yeah there’s nothing much one could do.. so keep twittering to make your point then.. but wonder why one would be trying to accomplish again.. PR?

  44. Satish HSBC

    Its nice to know whats gul doing @ morning @ afternoon & @ evening… All the time following a person whom you like to watch in big screen live and direct.. Rest is a brighter day…

  45. Amrita Das

    way 2 go Gul. truely spoken. wen u guys hav d power 2 influence, u shud use it well n no doubt u r doin ur part well. Gud Luck 2 u.

  46. francis

    your true lady of Bollywood , Merry X-mas & Colour full New year to U Gul…

    ……. From all your Fans in Chennai & Tamilnadu.

  47. Jasjiv Sethi

    I will confess even I used to think of actors as just that and nothing more. But I’ve been your fan since a long time, I had to follow you on Twitter, to know exactly your thoughts and opinions beyond Bollywood. And am I glad I did! The actors here try harder just to prove that they’re not dumb entertainers but people with opinions and thoughts on a myriad of topics apart from Bollywood. The journos think they are the authority on having valid opinions about the world and others are just lesser mortals. Very stupid to think so. Way to go Gul! and thanks for Tweeting and I think you deserve to be Twitter Indian of the year.

  48. Sijo James John

    You don’t get it. You have a pretty face, so naturally it is considered you have an easy life. I told you before you do sound like a politician asking for votes. Now for the why the prejudice against you, well look at all the actors in politics, plus you have political degree. If you must be known on this planet’s time line, be known for your work. The writer you mention has the freedom of speech too, respect it. Remember human judgment is flawed, even mine and yours too. Nobody knows you better than you do.

    As for twitter, well crafted sentences of what you want people to see is not exactly what i call real.(psst here’s a secret, put in typos, so people will believe you typed as fast u cud to put your thoughts into words)

    Humans judge by reputation, face,confidence (acting or true), personality, etc in that order(when it comes woman, male judgment is totally different). As for my judgment of you, i have to the conclusion that you are honest to the point of stupidity, or extremely intelligent to point of treachery. This is my misconception about you and humans, i wait everyday for someone to come and verify that its a misconception and set it straight.

    With that indecision and misconception We Wish You A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

  49. chetan

    Hello gul,

    Have been following ur tweet regularly… and few others too..i mean celebs… but somehow ur tweet seems to be more exciting and in syn with the public compared to other tweets.. Please see the lighter side of all the crap thrown at you.. and move on.. such things are nothing but small steps for greater tomorrow…


  50. prashanth

    Gul, firstly i should congratulate you for being so different. I have been following you on twitter and you are a a really smart celeb. As Prasoon in a post above pointed out, public is very used to seeing glamour as a dumb domain. You can see other celebs on twitter writing nothing more than what they are shooting, how cute some things are, how much fun they are having with the shoots… feeding crap basically. Your writing does not change the perception, what changes is, now people will think you are really a smart one in the industry who has an opinion. And one thing, the journalist who wrote about you got her share for being a dumb one at her business.

  51. NiMaL


    This year we’ve seen many new indian celebs in twitter…. This has created a paradigm shift, and a new channel for two way communication which never existed before.

    Also, this is one place where we see the real persons, behind the persona on screen. Specially in your case, you have been great on Twitter and we got to see who you are and what you are up to, in a more frequent way… 🙂

    Have fun…!


  52. meetu

    And I have the same ruse against popular media as a reader/an audience. They decide what the masses are and obviously what the masses want. Don’t they see that we want to read and know beyond the next film Gul is doing. She’s an avid auto-enthusiast, a dog-lover, has strong political opinions. No. They convert truth to myths, misinterpret (intentionally or not) and feed it to the masses because supposedly that’s all we want to consume.

    And oopsie-doopsie-poopsie, didn’t think your interviews at wogma would be interpreted as you being conceitful or condescending. (http://tinyurl.com/gulmove http://tinyurl.com/gulint) as pointed out by Vijay in the comments here…In fact, I think you are one of the most approachable people in the industry. Kudos!

    And in the spirit of this article, will sign off as @meetumeetu

  53. Jivtesh


    It was great to hear the celeb side of the story. I’m sure it gets confusing when somebody you form a good opinion of – does something silly. Good luck with you movies, look forward to seeing all of them!

  54. Aarti Mohan

    We always hear this constant refrain of “we write what the people want to read about” , which is like a license for media to dish out banal, superficial and completely unresearched material and call it journalism. And look at the comments on this post, the readers are much more intelligent than that, they just are tired of being fed trash, including needless celebrity bashing. Keep up the good work, there are a bunch of readers out here who can make out wheat from the chaff, even if the latter is thrust on us day in and day out 🙂

  55. N J

    Dear Gul,

    I find you as a sensible and intelligent soul. Happy tweeting. God bless.

  56. Dev

    “It is during adversity when one can really make a big difference. But making a difference is not about being a big hero. It is simply about leaving the bathroom a little cleaner going out, than when you came in.”

    Your interactions with fans has helped change perceptions so keep tweeting……

    Wish you a very Happy & Prosperous New Year!!!


  57. midhun

    I was out of station so could not check this blog for long.

    This is a free country and one has the freedom to express one’s views through all fair and legal means. Actors are not puppets and they too are human beings. It is only right that they air their views too. Possibly, the majority of film journalists want a gossip and one hears none about you.

    Twitter is a boon for a lot of people who are always on the move and who have easy internet access. For other people, it’s a bit tough to keep up with people who they follow. Personally, I get time to go online only in weekends, and though I am your follower on Twitter, I find it tough to keep up with a week’s tweets in one day. It’s easier for me to follow your comments on Gulspace. I’m sure I won’t be the only one with this view.

    Gul, I disagree with your last paragraph. It sounds like only Twitter lets you be yourself. Gulspace does the same too!

  58. Gayatri Ruia

    Bad joke Gul.

    Gul, how do you get time to surf Twitter ? What do you like in it ?

  59. fauziya

    well job gul……

  60. dineshjk

    I do understand your point and second it too. However, given the situation, everyone would be behaving the same way because it is how Bollywood has projected itself. As I said in one of my posts earlier, I did not notice your multifaceted personality until you showed up on We The People. It was only then that you could attract my attention. It is very natural (though not justified all the time) to look at you people as entertainers. Most of the actresses do not have even iota of information regarding the current event, leave alone their thoughts!!!

    The combination of brain and beauty (and now I can see a god physic too) like you have is very rare.


    Dinesh Karia.

  61. plagiarist

    Perhaps it would be better to thank the programmers behind Twitter, instead of an invisible sky wizard.*

    Besides, I can’t fathom how you’re going to use Twitter to wax eloquent about important topics like you do here on GulSpace. What nuggets of wisdom can one transmit with 140 characters? Please don’t be a Twitter Shitter.

    As for “journalists” dismissing you as a vapid airhead, you can’t expect much more from incompetent people who don’t really care about the spirit of their profession. Perhaps she was so gobsmacked by encountering a rarity such as yourself that her memorized script was rendered useless within seconds. Perhaps she would get chewed out by her equally incompetent superiors for acknowledging your intelligence (the intellectually indolent readers would laugh at the supposed absurdity of the whole interview, thereby switching to papers that reinforce their preconceived notions). I sincerely hope Rann will inspire existing journalists to take a good look at themselves.

    * I suppose this constitutes “hate speech” in India.

  62. GSS


    There are 100 of questions arise from fans and media when some celeb do different or even just normal thing..no one think WHY…I think we shuldn’t interfare what they like to do in there life and ask them why,where,who,this n that…They are same as we normal people..Twitter is easiest way to know what we normal people think abt celebs…

    GUL PANAG well said n carry ON


  63. priyamigo

    U do a gr8 job in proving dat actors are too .. intrigued by the happeinings around the wrld..n dat dey too care bout it! u do the bollywood proud..!keep rocking..m/ Twitter is a boon to all of us..to see thruought he minds of celebs who seem to be so not commonly in accessible.!! 🙂 its gr8 knwin u..n to find so ordinarily extra-ordinary:)

  64. Marvin


    You are a gorgeous lady with exceptional talent. So far your work has spoken about you. I liked your works(Dor, Manorama six feet under). I also ve watched straight and Rann. I was just curious to understand why is it so important to let others know who you are or who I am.

    Also I believe that they way technology is being over-used, the day that Orwell potrayed in 1984 and Animal farm is not far away. Just a food for thought, may be think about it at leisure.

    🙂 All the best with your releases.

  65. joy

    no comments…just hiiiii gul 🙂

  66. Ajith

    Super likeeeeeeee :)!!

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