Social media following seems to have become quite an obsession today with almost every celebrity trying to increase their number of followers. As long as the idea was to augment personal image, it was okay. The trouble is, a lot of television actors bemoan social media following has started dictating whether they get new work. Producers are inclreasingly checking the social media following an actor enjoys before casting them in roles.
Actor Abhinandan Jindal, who is currently part of the show Guddan Tumse Na Ho Payega, says he ended up losing a show because of fewer followers on social media.
“I have actually seen how the number of followers you have actually affect a maker’s decision to take you in a show or not. I have only 27.1K followers on Instagram and this actually affects me at times. Some days back, I went for an audition. It was for a similar role like the one I played in ‘Guddan Tumse Na Ho Payega’. They asked me to show my Instagram profile and now I can’t help but think I had almost bagged the role, but eventually didn’t get it because of my low number of followers. That means now the scenario is such that we need to pay money to increase our followers and then get work on screen!” he says.
Actor Micckie Dudaaney, who is currently seen in the show Santoshi Maa:Sunayein Vrat Kathayein, agrees. “Things have changed now. It has become very important now to have more followers as you are asked about this now. They ask you if you are a content creator or not,” he says.
Actor Piew Jana, who was last seen in the show Krishna Chali London, says the criteria adopted by makers to choose their cast is misleading. “Just as an actor is judged by the number of hit films he or she has given, similarly a celebrity’s popularity is gauged through the number of followers he or she has on social media. But this is actually quite misleading as a lot of people resort to false ways to increase their followers on social media so that they can become famous. For me, it has always been about how talented an artiste is and also how humble he is. These are the things that should matter,” she says.
Actor Sanjay Suri, who is part of the web series Dev DD 2, urges producers not to get swayed by these figures.
“Don’t fall for social media numbers. They might not even be your audience. Just because someone is an influencer does not mean that they will work on the screen, too. This is like when the Page 3 culture began. People used to think that if you are featured on Page 3 that means you are popular, but it was not so, and it did not even bring in the numbers. It is a very shortsighted way of seeing things. My followers are few on Instagram and it is all organic. If someone is casting me because of small numbers or big numbers, they are being stupid. They have to cast me as per the role. You see when they cast you on this basis, they are depending on you to promote the show,” he says.