“Mom! I want the breakfast on the table right now. I am hungry and have to go for work. Where are you?”
“Son, you have done a huge mistake by teaching your mom as to how to use Twitter. She seems stuck on that all day and night. It seems as though her world has turned completely virtual.”
It was January 2008 and since the last couple of months, Lata didn’t have anything much to do after retirement other than sit at her house in Bangalore. This made her ask her son to teach her the way to use Twitter. Twitter had grown into a phenomenon of mammoth proportions over the last couple of months to connect people across various geographies and demographics.
But since the time she learnt she was always on Twitter all day long. This irritated her husband and son no end.
“Sorry. The breakfast is ready. I will get it from the kitchen right now.” Lata had to hurry before both of them took the house on their head.
“Why are you stuck up on Twitter all day long? For your information, we exist in real life and not in the virtual world.” Her husband was annoyed.
“Twitter is an amazing tool. You should use it to know how much it can help.” Lata had a fantastic response to give anyone who didn’t trust Twitter’s ability to connect people.
Twitter seemed like a world of tremendous possibilities for Lata. Followers, Following, Retweets, Tweets – everything initially seemed like Greek and Latin to her. For the first few months, the only thing she just did was creating an id @lata55 and tweet a few lines about her daily activities. She also learnt that to reply to someone on Twitter one had to put a @ sign before their name. Following celebrities was the first thing she did.
The best part about Twitter for celebrities was that it brought their audience even closer to them than ever before. She was so happy to find her favourite singer, Akshita Rane on Twitter and immediately followed her.
Initially, she always used to wonder as to what to tweet. And when she did tweet, one of the biggest problems was in limiting them to 140 characters.
With time though, she started connecting with various people across India and the world. Young students, marketers, trying-to-be celebrities, sportsmen, women of her age – everyone; it seemed like as though she had found a calling in developing a virtual life. And it was seriously interesting. Whether she wanted to know a particular news story as it was happening, or get the latest titbits on what is the upcoming movie of a celebrity, it was all available on Twitter.
She had tried many a time to tweet to Akshita Rane about her love for her songs and also even requested Akshita to send a reply. But none of those tweets elicited a response from the singer. Then one find day –
@lata55 great to know that my songs are being loved there too 🙂
Lata’s tweet about people in Bangalore loving Akshita’s recent album finally made the singer reply back. This made Lata jump with joy as if she had got the biggest reward of her career. She went around telling all her relatives that THE Akshita Rane had replied to her on Twitter.
Akshita Rane was one of the most famous singers of Bollywood industry happily settled in Mumbai. She was young, vivacious and her songs had created a sensation amongst the youngsters. Her demand was so much in the industry that she had projects lined up till 2008.
Off – late she had also joined the Twitter bandwagon like other celebrities to connect to her followers and also publicise her projects, get feedback from the audience on her songs and also promote and invite people for concerts. She did tweet a bit herself. But in general her twitter presence like many other celebrities was handled by specific PR agents.
More than 50,000 followers and 5,000 tweets later, Akshita was always used to getting positive or neutral reviews about her songs. She hadn’t got many negative reviews. The ones she did get were from accounts which were not too popular as in they had lesser number of tweets and followers.
But suddenly sometime in September 2008, as she was going through her tweets and replies, she was surprised to see a few tweets over the month of August from one id @dummyknights –
@akshitarane sorry to say..Jeena Nahi and Mujhko Meri Neend are awful! Expected much better from u
@akshitarane shocked to see the recent review of your album..Doesn’t deserve 4 stars…would surely give not more than 2
@akshitarane hoping to hear a response from u..Big fan of yours..But not really happy with many of your recent songs
Akshita immediately confronted her PR agents and asked them as to why there was no response to this id. But they had no answer. Seeing many negative reviews from just one id made her think as to what was the problem.