Artists may be busy during the season, but many make it a point to share interesting updates, experiences and trivia with their friends and fans through social networking sites.
A good number of senior and junior artists are increasingly making their presence felt in cyber space, especially since the commencement of the music and dance festival. The ‘Margazhi flavour' seems to have crept into Facebook status messages, photo albums and Twitter updates.
Artists, including Aruna Sairam, Sudha Ragunathan, S. Sowmya and T. M. Krishna have friends' lists with a few thousand names, at least.
Ms. Sairam believes it is very important to interact with listeners. “I enjoy talking to rasikas who have made me what I am today .I think the so-called celebrities should be accessible and social networking sites provide the right platform for that,” she says.
The sites also provide a forum for artists to be in touch with their colleagues and friends, says young kanjira artist K.V. Gopalakrishnan. “. The space enables healthy camaraderie,” he says.
If artists put up various details, ranging from their performance venue for the day to their experience on a rainy evening or meeting with the Prime Minister, fans and friends respond, posting messages about how much they loved an artist's ‘Bhairavi' at the previous evening's concert, or simply recalling an old meeting.
“I value their feedback very much and somehow try to find a few minutes every other day to connect with them,” adds Ms. Sairam.
In addition to being a good space for promotion and networking, the sites bring out lesser-known facts about artists, or other interests. If T.M. Krishna puts up photographs of his bungee jumping adventure, Sanjay Subrahmanyan puts up ‘nostalgic tweets' about concerts he heard years ago, or his opinion on a cricket match.
Artists such as S. Somwya or K.V.Gopalakrishnan who are keen photographers, periodically put up interesting portraits of other artists or simply, candid pictures
Dancer Roja Kannan says she accidentally got onto Facebook. “It was because of my children who study abroad. Later, I found so many school friends of mine, who I had lost touch with about 30 years ago. The irony is that some of them have been in Chennai,” she laughs.
Cautioning that one needs to strike a balance, she says parents of some of her students are anxious about the time their children spend chatting online. But there are some distinct advantages, she observes. When Ms. Kannan was researching extensively on the Mahabharata character Draupadi for her latest production, she was not satisfied with the information available. It was largely about her being disrobed at the royal court.
“Desperate for more information, I put up a status message saying this was eating my head. Very soon, I had friends giving valuable suggestions, including one on Villi Bharatham. I found what I needed in it and was so excited!”