When Ageing Celebrities become Social Media Gurus

Amitabh Bachchan believes that speaking well is an art form but says he does not possess that ability.

“[It’s an] art which many have command and control over. How they are able to do so shall always remain a mystery to me,” Bachchan posted on his blog.

“For me, it has been most elusive and distant and a destination that I have been unable to reach, within my very limited resources — the limited that I do possess. My admiration therefore for them that possess this capacity is immense,” he added.

The 74-year-old, who has returned to India after completing the first schedule of the upcoming film Thugs of Hindostan in Malta, said he always tries to learn how the art of speaking “could be perfected, and have not found very many adequate answers”.

That is why he started writing a blog over nine years ago.

“One of the defaults of that inefficiency is this blog each night or morning at times what cannot be put into spoken words, is attempted to be written here,” he said.

This is perhaps the most modest statement ever recorded!

If there has been the most recognized voice in the Indian (and Global) Film Industry, then it has to be that of Amitabh Bachchan. Having also watched him deliver impromptu speeches at various events and functions, one simply cannot agree with him when he says, he does not possess that ability. In December 2004 when Amitabh Bachchan was chosen as the Brand Ambassador for Dubai Shopping Festival, he was invited at it’s glittering opening ceremony. Walking in the Ball Room with his commanding presence and inimitable swagger, he delivered a 45 minute long speech that was devoid of any human errors, utilizing the gloriousness of the language and of course without any reference notes at all. He looked straight at the audience and captured their attention without a break!

Therefore, when he started tweeting, it was not long before he reached his first million followers. Today (at the time of going to e-print) he has 27.9 million followers who religiously devour every letter of that 140 character space.

The only problem was that he was referring to the Women’s Champion’s Trophy match!

Yet another example of a yesteryear actor who has taken the impatient world of Social Media by storm is Rishi Kapoor. Known for his quirky, naughty character on-screen, he seems to emulate that persona absolutely on his online avatar. He has also, along the way, usurped a lot of controversies and perhaps that’s why his social media popularity is only growing.

Donald Trump doing what he does best

The same is the case in America, where age only makes a celebrity more agile on social media. 71 year old Donald Trump blasted his way through Presidency of the United States of America by undermining the mainstream media and starting his own self-driven social media tirade on Twitter. Gone are those days when there used to be a need for an official Press Conference, elaborately set-up at a high-profile venue where journalists with all their technical paraphernalia used to wait for hours together for a five minute one-sided Press briefing, trying to get something newsworthy. Now, all one needs to do is wait for the President to tweet.

Without Donald Trump, Twitter could lose almost a fifth of its value.

That’s the conclusion of Monness Crespi Hardt analyst James Cakmak, who said that the social media company would see as much as $2 billion in market value wiped out if @realDonaldTrump quit tweeting.

Finally, let’s talk about Ellen Degeneres, American comedian, television host, actress, writer, and producer & host of the popular The Ellen DeGeneres Show, since 2003. She also hosted the Academy Awards of 2014. And that’s where she shot to massive Social Media fame, by clicking the “World’s Most Famous Selfie”, which still holds true.

She had joked early on in the evening how she wanted to create the most popular selfie of all time at the Oscars. So when she stepped off stage — wielding her phone or to be technically correct her “phablet”, or phone-cum-tablet — like a weapon, she headed for the most nominated Oscar actor of all time: Meryl Streep, who has 18 nods to her name. Streep, consummate pro that she is, giggled and acquiesced.

Within seconds, DeGeneres had hustled in other front-row luminaries, capturing a snap of a Hollywood elite, with 10 Oscars and gross takings of £7.35  billion between them. (Liza Minnelli failed to muscle in at the back, blocked by Tatum’s bulk.)

Then, DeGeneres tweeted the picture (which was actually taken by Bradley Cooper) from her @TheEllenShow account. Within a few hours it had been retweeted by more than 2.5 million people, creating a new record for the microblogging site.

Perhaps it is the age and the respectability that seniors add to the platform that lends it an all important dose of credibility, or perhaps it is the frivolousness of the younger stars with no adequate content; but the fact is that there are far too many examples of ageing celebrities adapting beautifully to the new-age social medium. Respect!
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Kiran Borkar

Having been part of the Internet Industry since the late Nineties, he believes Nostradamus goofed up by not predicting how the World Wide Web would change the world.

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