What #OviyaArmy really stands for

The latest mass hysteria that has gripped Tamil Nadu has also taken over me. But for different reasons. Everyday I watch the show religiously, and then go directly to instagram and search for #biggbosstrolls. To my amazement, people are pouring their hearts out for the contestants of the show – strangers whom they did not know or care about 30 days before.  

How are loyalties formed that soon? And how has Oviya hit this jackpot of unconditional love?

Simple. She reflects the attitude of youth of today – “I am what I am, so deal with it!”.

For Better or for Worse

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We all know that Tamil people are loyalists. If we like you, we can even see past the fact that you are a 65-year old and you are playing the part of a college student in your movies. We cheer for you in Chepauk even if you’ve scored a century against India. The support extended towards Oviya is consistent with this behavior. But what is inconsistent is the lack of tolerance towards other views. Probably, the open profession of support for a cause or a person on social media suddenly makes it very personal. This stems from the behaviour of people using their social media accounts as their own personal advertising channels. In this case, by supporting Oviya, they are sending a signal that they are either like Oviya, or that they adore people like Oviya. Hence they find the need to fiercely defend her (aka their own choices).

The Snowballing Effect of Content

#1: Oviya out of frustration utters the three magical words – “Neenga shut-up pannunga”.

#2: Meme creators pick this short and comical statement up to use it to describe other equally comical instances in life.

#3: Millions share, react and comment on it. Further, they start using the dialog in their everyday lives. Making it the catch phrase of the year.

#4: A music director sees an opportunity and announces that he is going to make a song out of it. 

#5: #oviyaarmy emerges. Hundreds of fan pages crop up.

#6: The social proof of so many people supporting Oviya also induces you to do the same.

What is Our Online Support Worth?

It is said that 36 million people are watching this show. The digitally savvy among them are certainly fighting battles online, debating who was in the wrong on yesterday’s episode. But what is the actual worth of all these conversations?  A friend of mine said that these likes and shares are just virtual, what is the big deal. It is not real support. So I did some reading on my own. An article by Harvard press (value of a like) suggests that likes can be converted into meaningful behaviour.

A celebrity like Cara Delevingne (famed super model/actress) has 6 million captive audience who follow every fashion quirk of hers. Huge brands like Chanel create exclusive social media content, knowing that there is impact in targeted advertising using the right celebrity. Definitely a contribution to her net worth. Imagine the amount of money Oviya will now earn through celebrity endorsements. So, the likes don’t matter?

Google trends data show that Vijay TV’s popularity skyrocket from below average to a full 100%

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Even more fascinating is the climb of Oviya’s popularity from 3% to 100%

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A website called freevaluator.com even puts a value on a particular twitter handle. It estimates that Kamal Haasan’s twitter handle is worth € 590k.

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Where are all these really rubbing off?

Vivo v5s ofcourse! (#oviyaarmy)

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The principal sponsor, Vivo is definitely cashing in all the money.

Even though on one side people show the love and support for Oviya, there is equal hatred shown towards the contestants who were opposing her. At the end of the day, it is important to realise that it was all a commercial exercise, and it is not worth hurting or bullying anyone online over this.

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