What made you decide to join social media?
I decided a long time ago. I just think that the world is becoming smaller. I think there’s so much easy access to things and I think it’s a wonderful way to be able to connect with people. Not just your fans, but just generally with people. And also just a good way to promote your own work, just a good way for especially when it comes to me. I do a lot of non-film music and social media is a really important way to help promote that, considering most of the music channels don’t give time for videos anymore.
But even when YouTube was starting to become popular in India, I’m actually the first Indian artist that they launched an official channel with. The channel’s called Channel Sophie and they were signing lots of people. They signed with PC and they signed with various production houses. But they actually launched their first channel with me. So I’m somebody who has believed in it for a very long time.
How often do you interact with your fans and community?
I interact a lot on Facebook, I try and do it at least once a day or once every other day on Facebook, but Twitter virtually every day; sometimes several times a day. I think Twitter is so easy because even when you are travelling, when you are on the move, it’s right there on your phone. I know Facebook is too, but like I said I just seem to prefer Twitter.
Well I don’t know, sometimes I like to write a bit too much. But I don’t know I just feel that everything feels a lot more instant with it – I can directly reply to somebody much more easily than on Facebook.
How good is social media when it comes to marketing yourself? Did it help in the launch of your Hungama song?
I think it helped a lot, actually. I mean here, actually, that’s relatively speaking because I’ve always felt that even when I look at my friends, I look at Preity, I look at Karan and they’ve got well over a million followers; a couple of million followers. And that level will not necessarily translate into number of hits, on your promo or your song on YouTube. This always made me kind of question and made me wonder why.
You would think that if there’s a million people following you they want to know your work, and those million people will go on to YouTube and click on your link and see your latest promo. But funnily enough, it doesn’t work like that. I think out of all your followers there’s probably about ten percent who are active – genuinely active and genuinely want to see all your work and genuinely click on all the links you post. So that was kind of interesting. But I still think that when it came to my song Hungama Ho Gaya it’s helped a lot – Twitter – because virtually the entire industry tweeted about the song.
Everybody was talking about it and I think that made people very curious. And I think YouTube in itself is such a wonderful medium. It makes people want to see what’s going on. So I think Hungama Ho Gaya has done well, thanks to this for sure, because as of yet it’s not even been on TV or radio – that starts like So if I’ve got over half a million hits just from social media I think that says a lot.
Do you think social media has made celebrities more accessible and thus reducing the aura they once had?
I don’t know because at the end of the day you can choose to be how accessible you want to be. Even if you’re on Twitter, you’re not forced to tweet all the time about every single little thing that you’re doing. You’re not forced to reply to every single person. So you can still control how accessible you are.
Also, I think times have changed so much. There’s the golden era of movie stars making fewer films and fewer big stars and a lot to do with it. But I think nowadays things are moving so fast. There’s so many new faces, there’s so many smaller films. It’s hard to keep up with things. And I think a lot of people like getting feedback from their fans. The downside is you do get a few people who are really annoying and who write really unnecessary things, some people can be very rude. That’s the downside but I don’t know if it’s reduced the aura.
I mean bigger stars like a Shah Rukh, Mr. Bachchan, Salman, all on Twitter. And I doubt that has reduced their star aura at all, to be very honest. But at the same time, there’s a lot of people who are not comfortable with the medium.
Which is your FAVOURITE social media platform and why?
I love Twitter the most because I think it’s instant access, instant response. It’s, like I said, a great way to connect with a lot of my fans. There’s two ways of knowing what your fans are up to- one is they’re on BBM with you, and one is they’re on Twitter with you, and I think that’s the most updated way. And I love that. I love that you can post your pictures. I love that you can have conversations with friends. I love that you can get immediate feedback from your followers. So I love Twitter and then I love YouTube.
I think YouTube is an incredible forum. It’s an amazing way to showcase your work, to see what other people are doing. I think we’ve seen a lot of film people become stars thanks to YouTube. So these are very exciting media. Facebook is great. I’m just not as good with Facebook as I am with Twitter.
I am sure you must be having crazy fans on Twitter. Any funny instances that you can recollect?
Oh so many, I’ve had marriage proposals; I replied to one and then everybody’s kind of gotten on to the bandwagon! So we’ve had some really cheeky people or rude people who I’ve actually given it back to. We’ve had all kinds- we’ve one very strange person who’s obsessed with my feet and keeps asking if he can worship my feet. And we’ve had some very strange people, there’s lots of strange things. But I think the most fun conversations to read and be a part of are usually the ones with Vishal Dadlani and Sujoy Ghosh because they make absolutely no sense and they’re quite mental.
Do you meet your Twitter followers offline as well?
I have. So I’ve done coffee with my Twitter followers. I’ve selected a few- I’ve done it in London, I’ve done it in Paris, I’ve done it in Bangkok and I’m going to meet a couple of my Bombay ones now which was part of a contest so it’s not bad, I’ve actually made the effort to do that. I think having coffee with the ones in Paris was quite amazing. The setting was beautiful. I picked about six of them and they showed up and we all sat and had a coffee together and a chat and I speak virtually fluent French. So it was really nice to be able to interact with them and it was really nice to meet them and it kind of meant a lot to them.
So yeah it was very cool. I met a really lovely girl in Thailand and I met a whole bunch of lovely people in London. So it’s nice, I think once in a while it’s really great to meet with them.
Today more people are watching YouTube as compared to TV. Do you think after RJ and VJ, we can have IJ (Internet Jockeys)?
Yeah, I do that because there’s no music being played on television any more except for movie promos. So when I want to watch movie songs, when I want to watch non-film songs, when I want to watch international videos, I’m only on YouTube. I think that’s why, when my song Hungama Ho Gaya came out, there was a very conscious effort to just make it a digital release? Because I don’t believe there’s any other medium but it just so happened that people are liking it so much that now a physical album is being released, now the TV channels want to play it, now promotions are going to be done on television and everything. But to be very honest, we started only through the social medium because for me that’s what it is.
Except for that in India, I think, seventy percent of the country is still not that much into YouTube. All our metros, I mean we live in Bombay, we connect with people in Delhi and Bangalore and that’s all very high-tech. If you’re really looking at your masses market, they’re not into YouTube. Unko jo TV pe dikhta hai, that’s what they consider to be a hit. So that still needs to happen but internationally, all my friends in the States and all my friends in London, nobody watches TV- everybody only watches YouTube.
I wouldn’t mind. It would be a fun job to do because the reason I became a VJ was to talk about music and to do fun shows with celebs and do movie-based shows and music-based shows. And on television, none of that exists anymore because there’s really no music shows or anything. So yeah, if they’re planning to make some great shows where they need Internet Jockeys, I think it’s a cool job to do.
Which is that one fellow celeb whose tweets you love to read?
Oh wow, this is very difficult. There’s a few that I love but I think Vishal Dadlani is really great to read. One: because he’s super, super intelligent and super witty. He’s also somebody who says what he thinks; he’s not that dramatic about it. And I think that’s what a social forum should be for. You should say what you think. So his tweets are great.
The man has taste! ;) RT @v1sh4l: To quote one of my favourite philosophers…”Who run the world? Who run this mother…??”- Beyonce.
— SOPHIE CHOUDRY (@Sophie_Choudry) March 8, 2013
I love, actually funnily enough,I really enjoy reading Anupam Kher’s tweets because that man is never in a city for more than a day, I think. He is constantly travelling, constantly doing interesting things, constantly posting great pictures. He’s somebody you wouldn’t expect to be so interesting but I think he uses the Twitter medium in a really interesting and fun way. And then I think Preity’s tweets always bring a smile to people’s faces. People see that “ting” at the end and that always puts a smile on your face.
- Social media is an important way to help promote non-film music, considering most of the music channels don’t give time for videos anymore.
- Sophie Choudry is the first Indian artist that launched by YouTube with an official channel. The channel’s called Channel Sophie.
- YouTube is an incredible forum. It’s an amazing way to showcase your work.