Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Tweeples are here

Big media first missed the blog bus. Then it missed the internet bus - by and large. But then along came twitter. But more than twitter, what has enabled the adrenalin fuelled expansion of twitter and its role as a reflector of a social trends  is ironically, the 2G revolution that has been scammed by the Raja under the benevolent eyes of the Queen and her Regent. Blogs and the earlier internet "revolution" were really, no more than a half turn or smaller in India since both teledensity and broadband reach were not that great. But with people increasingly accessing the internet over their cellphones and blackberries - the early adopters and even many of the later adopters are highly clued in today. (And many of these are your normal customers of ELM by and large.)

And twitter is an easy medium to reach - just 140 characters and you don't need any degree in journalism or a licence (that's an idea) to put out your opinions. So, while celebrities and journalists and others made a beeline to twitter, guess who was with them? The common man - the aam insaan armed with her broadband or mobile internet - waiting for them.

So all Bachchan fans have to do is to follow the big man on twitter with the click of a button and you get to read what he says - unadulterated, without anybody putting words in his mouth or an editor using her scissors like a barber. What could be better for fans? Ditto for Tendulkar. And while Tendulkar is not exactly known for the his writing skills, he is still Tendlya - and his opinion is his opinion.

Before Twitter, there was no such medium. Sure you can watch Tendulkar play in a stadium or Bachchan peform in a show and they may wave to you while you seat in the audience, but hell, that's nothing like twitter - in case they reply to your queries. And that's the USP of twitter. You talk with real people and if your question or opinion was merit (and some timing), you might even get a response. Even in blogs or the old internet, there was no direct connect.

So, if your friendly neighbourhood big journo is on twitter, ask him or her questions - they may or may not respond to you, but when names are a trend on twitter - somebody who they have to answer will ask them the same question and force an answer out. And that's how it works. The same thing can happen in politics - Mr. Prime Minister will first see a wave on twitter. And regardless of how big media protects him and his Queen like Govardhana protected the denizens of Brindavan from Indra, they will have to answer them - clearly this not a dumb audience like those that sit in front of the idiot box.

The Tweeples are here - all 8 million of them and they are spreading like a virus on steroids. The most serious challenge to Mainstream media is here. Are you a part of it, yet?

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