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Little Master's powerplay with tweets

Shy Sachin Tendulkar reveals himself to be candid and cheeky online. Psychologists say celebrities lead a double life on Twitter or Facebook.
None | By Nikhil Taneja, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAY 08, 2010 02:44 PM IST

In the 22 years Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar has played international cricket, he has been perceived as shy and reserved; a public personality who ably guarded his privacy. Although one of India’s most revered and followed public figures, Tendulkar’s not known to be a man of words, and has given interviews only when absolutely necessary.

But on May 4, when Tendulkar joined the Twitter bandwagon, within a single night, his tweets revealed an almost entirely unknown side of him. He was funny, cheeky, candid and friendly – he had let down his guard almost as easily as he had been fiercely private all these years.

While having dinner with Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Atul Kasbekar, he cheekily said about how they were ‘3 more idiots’. He put up a picture of himself holding crabs and joked about how his wife is Scorpio and not Cancerian. He even put up a picture of himself, in his nightclothes, just before he went to bed for the day.

It was a surprising and completely unexpected shift in, what was perceived as, Tendulkar’s persona. Elsewhere, Shah Rukh Khan has put up pictures of his children kissing him, while Sania Mirza has put up a picture of her husband, Shoib Mallik jogging.

Recently, Shane Warne, in full public view, tweeted to Shah Rukh Khan, after his team Kolkata Knight Riders was knocked out of the Indian Premier League, asking him to “hang in there, mate”, when he could have easily made a private call.

Being themselves
We spoke to Mumbai’s top clinical psychologists to understand what makes celebrities let down their guard on social networking websites like Twitter, when they constantly complain about invasion of privacy in interviews.

“It’s all about the willingness in the process,” explains Dr Kanan Khatau Chikhal. “In front of the media, celebrities are under pressure to speak in the correct way, lest it be portrayed wrongly. But on Twitter, they will tell you only as much as they want to.”

“Celebrities are usually guarded in real life because they know they are role models,” adds Dr Seema Hingoranny. “They want to be loved by everyone, so they are nervous about how the media might portray them. On the other hand, social networking sites let them clarify what they want to and speak their heart out.”

Dr Anjali Chhabria feels that it’s a great PR (public relations) exercise for celebrities. “Everyone’s aware about the attention these websites get in the media. It’s the easiest way for celebrities to build their images, without having to go through the media.”

Dual lives
The psychologists also feel that after a point of time, celebrities get tired of being portrayed as demi-gods by the media, and want to be more accessible to the fans. Says Dr Hingoranny, “They are leading dual lives. They are used to being guarded in front of the media and that’s why they don’t talk about their private lives. But given a chance, they’d like to reveal a more human side of theirs, that the public isn’t aware of.”

Agrees Dr Chikhal, “Of course, there are some people who use it for the publicity, but quite a few actually want to use it in a healthy way, to feel a part of the community. They want to belong, share, and want to be heard and seen in a ‘normal person’ fashion, than on a pedestal.”

Tendulkar’s tweets analysed
Dr Chikhal: I think some people, who are shy in person, or while communicating face-to-face, prefer the communicating through emails or text messages, because they can say everything they want to, without communicating personally. Maybe Sachin has found his preferable mode of expression.

Dr Hingoranny: When people are guarded all the time, after a time, they get fed up and want to let their guards down. Maybe, in Sachin’s case too, he was just bored or tired of having people in awe of him. Or perhaps, someone close to him persuaded him to reveal the other facets of his personality online.

Dr Chhabria: With success, comes confidence, and with confidence, people’s personalities change. Perhaps Sachin
felt that it is time for him to change the image the world has given him, and he wants to share more of himself. Or maybe an image consultant has helped him.

Most retweeted
39 BeingSalmanKhan Iss chappal ke malik ko chappal dena banta hai boss, do the same if u c chappals in mint condition
57 iamsrk when i was a kid...use to tie a towel on my neck..wear my sisters tights & my red swimming trunks on top. eye mask & wanted to fly...
69 MaheshNBhatt Capital punishment would be more effective as a preventive measure if it were administered prior to the crime. Woody Allen
76 sachin_rt Hanging with vinod chopra and @atulkasbekar...3 more idiots???
100+ PritishNandy The world's toughest tongue twister: The sixth sick Sikh's sixth sheep is sick.
100+ atulkasbekar Ladies n Gentlemen it is my proud privilege to introduce Finally to Twitter, SACHIN TENDULKAR, @sachin_rt, follow the King now, go go go !!!

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