As someone who has never sent a tweet, I don’t clamor for followers. That said, the Twitter response for Kollywood’s biggest film star, Rajinikanth, might make me see if I can get a hundred followers in a single tweet. While average Indians on Twitter are still fighting and debating the results of the country’s most recent, and longest ever general election, the movie star has provided a fine distraction to those that are over politics but still see their feeds clogged with it.
Huge Twitter following grows
It doesn’t hurt that India has a lot of people, Rajinikanth had tens of thousands of followers before even taking to the tweet deck and actually saying something.
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That number has ballooned to just over 300,000 followers in a mere three tweets. Which is a bit of a slowdown given that he had 250,000 after just one.
“Kollywood” is not a typo, I didn’t mean “Bollywood”, the Hindi-language film industry of Mumbai, rather “Kollywood” is the name given to the Tamil films of India’s south and there is no bigger star.
Endhiran (Robot), of which the actor was the star, was both the most expensive film in India’s history and the highest grossing.
His first tweet simply thanked god for his digital presence, his third thanked the 300,000 plus followers he’s already accrued. Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR)’s official India account felt the need to welcome the superstar while many suggested that he hadn’t joined Twitter but that Twitter had finally joined him.
Not all adulation
It has not, however, been all praise for the star on the social media platform with some accusing him of simply publicizing his new film Kochadaiiyaan which debuts this week. “These are normal gimmicks employed by film personalities before a film release,” commentator and Tamil cinema observer Gnani Sankaran told BBC Hindi’s Imran Qureshi. “He used to make a political comment before his movie release. This time he has used one section of the media, the social media,” he said.
Harish Bijoor, a business strategy specialist, lamented that the “Tamil God” is apparently handing over his tweeting to a PR firm. “This is a very negative trend. Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is meant to be a one-to-one medium. If it’s an agency handling it, it becomes a broadcast medium. That’s propaganda.”
Either way, that’s a lot of people reading the tweets no matter who is writing them.