By Nayan Bhatnagar:
Few decades ago, the basic necessities of life were ‘roti, kapda aur makaan’; today they have changed to ‘roti, kapda, makaan, mobile and internet’. And social networking is synonymous with the internet, these days. How many of us can resist checking our Facebook or Twitter accounts whenever we happen to be online? Without it, our day seems to be incomplete. Websites like Facebook and Twitter have millions of people who share their views about everything on planet earth. Not just the ‘mango people’, the most popular celebrities also have their accounts on these social networking sites.
The shining stars from all domains including Bollywood, sports, politics, media and business can be found here. These celebrities regularly post updates to share with their followers/subscribers. In a country, where Bollywood stars are literally worshipped, one cannot possibly ignore subscribing to their updates. People tend to follow their favourite celebrities because they are curious about their lives and about their daily activities. Most often, all that they can do is like the content that their favourite celebrities post. Moreover, at times, they get a chance to interact with them too. Undoubtedly, it is Twitter that gives these celebrities a wonderful medium to connect with their fans.
Amongst the Bollywood stars, Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra have the largest number of followers on Twitter. Most of the time, their posts relate to their upcoming movies and help in promoting the same. For instance, Shahrukh Khan has been tweeting about his movie ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ over the past few weeks. Popular Hollywood celebrity, Lady Gaga, has the most number of fans on Twitter. Her profile attracts close to 40,000 followers per day as per the statistics shown by the New York Magazine. Many celebrities post sponsored tweets that make them earn huge amounts of money. Further, these social networking sites provide a platform to some individuals who are hungry for publicity to grab attention. A case in point is model Poonam Pandey who is always in the news for all the wrong reasons. The starlet keeps posting controversial updates on Twitter to maintain her space in Delhi Times and HT City.
However, there exists a flipside to this. Often, tweets by celebrities and political figures become a point of controversy. For instance, in September 2009, Shashi Tharoor, presently India’s HRD minister, had in a tweet, equated people using public transport in order to travel with the ‘cattle class’. This evoked a lot of dissent from the opposition party. A similar tweet war is presently going on between Mr Narendra Modi and Shashi Tharoor.
Instead of tweeting regular updates about their lives, these celebrities should throw light on social issues plaguing the country. For instance, Amitabh Bachchan tweeting about ‘Pulse Polio Vaccination Dates’ can spread more awareness amongst people apart from his regular TV ads. Since their voice is heard by millions of people across the globe, they have the power to impact people’s mindset.