By T S Sudhir
At a time when both the US and the UK are hit by facebook suicide (100,000 Facebook users in Britain deactivated their accounts in May 2011, while six million have reportedly logged out in the US so far), Barack Obama has clicked `like’ on facebook. And decided to fly on the wings of twitter to try to extend his stay at White House by four more years in 2012. Obama declared that he will tweet regularly and his personal tweets will be signed “BO” and his campaign managers will handle both his twitter and facebook accounts.
Obama’s Twitter account has over 8.69 million followers and over 21.6 million people have “liked” his Facebook page, making him the most-followed politician on the social networking sites all over the world. Like-minded politicians from India can take heart. Especially Omar Abdullah who after criticism for tweeting during work, now does not carry his phone into meetings and actually clarified that he tweets only after 7 pm !
When Shashi Tharoor, often a victim of twitter humour-illiterate Indians ran into Priyanka Chopra at a wedding in Hyderabad, a newspaper reported the meeting as one between two most `followed’ twitteratti. And a slip-up on social media means you miss out as well. Senior Journalist Madhavan Narayanan, unable to resist a jibe this morning, made public that he missed out on wishing Rahul Gandhi a happy birthday on Sunday. Reason, as he put out on facebook : “Oh so it was Rahul Gandhi’s birthday on Sunday? How would I know? He is not on my Facebook Friend list.”
But I often wonder if twitter and facebook are grossly overrated and are nothing but a place to crack a few wicked ones. Is it just limited to a few urban self-important souls “who have nothing better to do than announcing what they do every hour, and their opinion on everything under the sun, to the world”.
But to tweet or not to tweet is certainly a Hamletian dilemma that confronts many a celebrity. Constant tweeting robs them of the aura that being out of reach gives but then twitter helps them reach out or clarify directly, without having to go through the via media of pesky entertainment reporters.
Telugu actor Krishnudu is no longer active on twitter because he says he “has nothing to say”. Malayalam superstar Dileep is telling anyone and everyone that he “has least time to spend before the monitor to answer to all the queries about himself.” Dileep is also piqued with another Dileep who impersonates him and is very prompt with replying to all the friend requests on facebook and comments. Time to `unfriend’ this Dileep?
Ditto with Jayalalithaa who issued a statement clarifying she is not on twitter. Obviously, given the brute majority the people of Tamilnadu have given her, she would be roaring, not tweeting.
Obama’s thumbs up to facebook and twitter will give these two social media platforms a huge boost, which would reflect in their bottomline. Never mind this joke about twitter : “If a regular on Twitter does not tweet for more than 36 to 48 hours, I fear he has now got a job !”