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P for popularity, in just 140 characters

Rahul Roushan pretends to be Poonam Pandey (who? the one who wanted to strip for cricket) and dispenses advice on how to make it big on Twitter. (It’s the only place she’s making it big).

brunch Updated: May 19, 2012 19:02 IST
Rahul Roushan
Rahul Roushan
Hindustan Times
Rahul Roushan,Poonam Pandey,Hindustan Times

There was a time when all you needed to be popular on Twitter was a name starting with an ‘S’ – Shashi Tharoor, Shah Rukh Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, Salman Khan, etc. But now times have changed and Tharoor has been replaced by Priyanka Chopra as the Indian with the most followers on Twitter. Soon Priyanka will be replaced by another ‘P’ – me, Poonam Pandey. you think that’s a tall claim (a little like me claiming to strip naked when India won the cricket World Cup), you are mistaken. I’ve decoded the Twitter code of popularity – and by daring to think beyond the great management guru Arindam Chaudhuri, I’ve shortlisted seven Ps for being famous on Twitter.

1. Promotion: Get it straight – this is why you are on Twitter. Don’t let terms like ‘microblogging’ or ‘social networking’ confuse you. You are not here to make friends or engage in meaningful conversations. Go join Orkut for the former; become a Wikipedia editor for the latter. Promote yourself! Anything will do – claim that you helped your neighbour go to a doctor, even if that means you pushed him from the balcony after a fight.

2. Plagiarism: Not a cognisable offence on Twitter, yet. Copy-paste any funny one-liner that you come across on the Net and tweet it as if it’s yours. You can copy others’ tweets too – in fact, you should. Copying tweets is like taking bribes in India – that’s how the economy has survived till now. Make sure that the tweets you copy were originally tweeted by people who have less than 100 followers. If someone catches you, say that you never claimed that you were being original.

3. Pictures: This is my favourite ‘P’. I just post pictures of myself in my underwear and get new followers! (Don’t do that if you’re a man and look like Ram Kapoor, obviously). Pictures of girls or cats, preferably with just one layer on their bodies, work best (get them from Google). Also, if you find a joke which doesn’t fit within the 140 characters allowed in a tweet, you can type it on some random picture and tweet it. Remember, a picture says a thousand words.

4. Praise: Praise popular celebs if you want to become one. You could get an RT (retweet) from them and their fans could follow you. A small trick: Always check the Wikipedia page for a particular day (take June 19, for instance) and look for holidays or birthdays. What does it say? Rahul Gandhi was born on this day? Send a tweet to Shashi Tharoor – “Sir, it’s Rahul Gandhi’s birthday today, please RT!” Instant fame.

5. Punditry: Tweet as if you’re an expert on everything (think you’re Suhel Seth: Even your curly hair should look like it’s making a strong point). Don’t let facts or data come in your way, those are just sundry distractions. Twitter is where issues of national importance are debated every day. You must participate in at least one of them.

6. Participation: It is everything, much like India in the Olympics. Twitter ‘hashtags’ give you an idea of what is hot and happening at any point of time. Jump in and tweet anything. You can always fall back upon the first P – plagiarism – if you can’t be a pundit. Don’t worry if you don’t understand what’s going on. Participate in any form like I participated in the World Cup (by promising to go nude).

7. Puns: Jokes – I love copying them! Anything goes, especially Kapil Sibal, Digvijay Singh, Rakhi Sawant and Baba Ramdev. If you are not sure the joke is funny, add ‘LOL’ to it. Sometimes you can just copy-paste news headlines (that’s not plagiarism by the way) and add “LOL” to them. For example, “Manmohan Singh to speak in Parliament today. LOL!”

And if nothing works, hey, just follow everyone on Twitter and most of them will follow you right back!

All the best. Take care tweethearts. Muaaaahhhh!!!
Poonam Pandey
(PS: I sent a semi nude picture of myself with this article, but Brunch refused to publish it)

Rahul Roushan is a former journalist who started Faking News, a popular news satire website.
What do you think when you think ‘celebrity’: “Plastic.”
What makes you ROFL? “A floor with a cozy carpet and someone tickling my belly.”
Do you think you are a celebrity: “Yes. Dil ke khush rakhne ko Ghalib yeh khayaal achchha hai.”

From HT Brunch, May 20

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First Published: May 18, 2012 18:47 IST