A taste of Tamil in Twitter land

Southern audiences play an instrumental role in shaping culture, conversations and communities, all in real-time, said Cheryl-Ann Couto, head of partners, Twitter India.
(L-R) Amrita Tripathi, Cheryl- Ann Couto
(L-R) Amrita Tripathi, Cheryl- Ann Couto

CHENNAI: Twitter believes it’s the platform to report “whatever happens in the world,” first. Interestingly, when it comes to sports, entertainment, music, food or travel — Tamil is the thirdmost used language on the service in India.

Southern audiences play an instrumental role in shaping culture, conversations and communities, all in real-time, said Cheryl-Ann Couto, head of partners, Twitter India.

“South entertainment, especially Telugu, Tamil and Kannada, is a thrumming ecosystem with celebrities and fandoms interacting with one another to spark conversations,” said Couto. “Every year, south films and celebrities continue to dominate the conversation charts.”

The 2021 year-end Twitter data revealed actor Vijay’s tweet on the first look of Beast becoming the most liked tweet in entertainment. Mahesh Babu’s tweet on resuming work for SarkaruvaariPaata came to be the most quoted tweet in entertainment. Mentions of Kollywood on the service were up by 14% in the last two years.

Incidentally, Chennai Super Kings has ruled the roost of conversations, with #WhistlePodu and #Yellove emerging as the top sports hashtags consistently. They’ve also been the most mentioned team for four consecutive years, from 2018.

Noting that Tamil speakers have been early adopters of many features, including Spaces and Topics, she stated, “A dedicated emoji was launched in August 2021 to encourage conversations in the language, making Tamil the only language on the service to have its own emoji for Spaces.”

Recently, PA Ranjith and the cast and crew of Natchathiram Nagargiradhu took to Spaces. Suriya Sivakumar too talked to fans about his film, Etharkkum Thunindhavan — garnering 61,000 live listeners and 1.6 lakh tune-ins as they recorded the Spaces, pointed out Couto.

“Tamil Topics, launched earlier this year, became popular with musicians. Language and culture, pop, literature and food are among the most followed Tamil Topics currently,” she averred.

Couto also said that fandom has driven southern entertainment on Twitter, “thanks to the passionate, discovery-oriented communities”. Twitter’s recently-launched Trends Report revealed a 47% surge in discussions among Indians around fandoms, and a 55% increase in conversations around cricket over the past two years.

Similarly, music icon Ilaiyaraaja took part in a video, where the maestro responded to tweets shared by his biggest supporters. While Rajnikanth engaged with fans to celebrate 15 years of Sivaji, Vijay also leveraged the platform effectively.

To amplify the engagement between fans and celebrities, Twitter has been curating immersive and exclusive content benefiting entertainment stakeholders. Notable examples include use of emojis, Spaces, Topics and Originals.

Meanwhile, Amrita Tripathi, head, global content partnerships, Twitter India, said, “Tamil Topics makes it easier for fans to find relevant and interesting conversations in that language across literature, music, poetry. South Indian cuisines, Tamil cinema and actors figured among the most followed section in 2022. Vijay, Keerthy Suresh, AR Rahman, Rajinikanth and Vijay Sethupathi were among the top five Tamil personalities.”

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