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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

Stardom that's too tweet to be true!

Chetna Keer   January 30, 2013
First Published: 00:56 IST(30/1/2013) | Last Updated: 10:00 IST(30/1/2013)

That Twitter has turned into the most tangible benchmark for any rise and fall in the superstardom sweepstakes was nowhere more noticeable than after a recent upset Down Under.

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For, barely had American teen tennis sensation Sloane Stephens slayed Serena Williams in the Australian Open quarterfinals that she scored Advantage Twitter, as the 19-year-old's fan following skyrocketed in a blinking. Placed at a meagre 17, 000 followers prior to the epic Melbourne moment, Sloane notched up an ace not only for her game but also for her Twitter following as the figure doubled to more than 40,000 in a mere hour.

Nearer home, too, we keep witnessing many an "upset" in our stars' social media popularity, thanks to Twitter topplings. How often it is these days that some Indian celebrity stages a coup in cyberia to cause an upset by coming out tops on Twitter!

Some social media rankings seem "state"-managed, some stage-managed. "State"-managed following being derived from a celebrity's propensity to be in a chronic state of courting controversy. And "stage"-managed following owing itself to the media-mounted blitzkrieg that sees a star's Twitter topping or toppling being reeled off more religiously on breaking news than a soaring of Sensex statistics.

So, does this make Twitter the new-age box office of the social media?
It would seem so, seeing how even Bollywood's famous Khan Wars have transcended the box office and chosen to travel to Twitter.
If the box office is the benchmark for which star belongs to the 100-crore club, Twitter is the new media's benchmark for which celebrity commands the 100-crore following.

That Twitter is the new cyber screen for staging the one-upmanship among the silver screen stars is borne out by recent rankings.
Last week, teen heartthrob and singer Justin Bieber toppled Lady Gaga as the ruler of Twitter after he became the celebrity with the highest fan following of 33.3 million. Thus far, Lady Gaga had ruled the micro-blogging site with 33.32 million followers, after surpassing Britney Spears' Twitter following in 2010.

Nearer home, we have also been witness to Twitter's rising presence as a tool for gauging our glitterati's star status. Nothing could be a more telling comment on Twitter's "box office" role than the fact that it is the hottest new-age stage hosting the age-old Khan Wars.
The one-upmanship between the Khans - Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir -- is not only riding into
Twitter but even seems driven by it.

Sample this: On the basis of number of followers and tweets posted, digital marketing firm Pinstorm had recently ranked India's most influential people in Twitter-dom. And Salman "Dabangg" Khan emerged quite a winner as he surpassed Shah Rukh Khan's 40th ranking by notching the sixth position. Interestingly, it was Aamir who won this Khan war by bagging the second spot among the most influential Tweeple.

If Hollywood heartthrob Justin just got a reason to go Gaga about being anointed Twitter King, Bollywood babe Priyanka Chopra, too, got an excuse to gush over the fact that she 'Khan' beat the boys. If not in the box office "Race', at least as a Twitter ace.
By notching 6,52,822 followers recently, Priyanka had even beaten the Badshah of Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan, who at that point commanded a following of 6,49,515.

So, whether it was outpacing Shah Rukh, Salman, Aamir or even Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka's supremacy of the social media has been too tweet to be un-true.
When Hollywood and Bollywood biggies are busy battling it out on this "box office" of the new media, can we blame Twitter's new kid on the bloc Sloane for checking out her social media standing soon after her life-changing moment of slamming the queen of Grand Slam!
                                                                                                              The writer is a Chandigarh-based columnist

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