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What Happens When India Embraces Twitter

(This is a guest article by Anthony Alsop)

As of November 2008, India had a reported 81,000,000 users on the internet, which was an 100% increase from 2007, and they generated 4.54% of all internet traffic for 2008. With over 1.1 billion people, that’s only a mere 7% penetration level of the general population on the internet, and one can only imagine how many new users have started since then.

Not only is the country generating new users at a rapid, but there is a reported 350,000,000 mobile devices currently being used by Indian people as well. The country has long been a hot bed for technology development, but is one of the fastest growing general telecom markets in the world too.

How does sports play into this? Sachin Tendulkar is India’s greatest batsman in the game of cricket. He has scored the most runs in cricket history and is arguably one of the games greatest ever. In India, where cricket is considered a religion, he is the ultimate celebrity. Imagine if we combined the star power of athletes like Chris Johnson and Reggie Bush, then imagine that was just one man. Sachin Tendulkar is that man.

There have been plenty of fake Twitter accounts involving Sachin since Twitter was created, last week however Tendulkar officially arrived on Twitter with this tweet.

In a country of over one billion people, it wouldn’t be long before his fans found him. That first tweet came on 11:21am on May 4th, which was nearly 6 days ago as of this writing. Since that tweet, Sachin now has over 245,000 followers and growing. He already has more Twitter followers than Chris Johnson and Reggie Bush combined.

If we break it down that is an average of:

  • 44,545 new followers per day
  • 1856 new followers per hour
  • 30.9 new followers per minute

In other words he gets a new follower every two seconds, lets hope he turned his email alerts off. The following Twitpic is what accompanied the first tweet, and that has had 155,000 views on its own. Indian people, just like the rest of the world, are starting to embrace Twitter as part of everyday life.

It may not be the most glamorous of photos, but that didn’t matter. His fans wanted verification that it was Sachin and they got it. Within 72 hours Twitter had also given him the verified tick of approval, the fastest tick that this author has ever heard of.

With YouTube recently debuting it’s near-live streaming site for the Indian Premier League, cricket is starting to go mainstream in social media too. The IPL Youtube channel has over 54,000,000 channel views and over 92,000 subscribers. The IPL’s recent championship match has had over 117,000 views in 13 days, and that broadcast lasted over 4 hours. Not to mention it’s Facebook fan page which has nearly 300,000 fans and the league’s Commissioner, who has over 144,000 followers on Twitter.

India has the number behind it, amazing numbers, and those numbers will soon turn to dollars for international sports teams. The NBA knows about it, having recently set up NBA India. If you’re figuring out where your next marketing opportunity may come from for sports, think of India.


Anthony Alsop is a blogger, consultant and founder of He has worked previously in both the IT and sport sectors, so focusing on the niche of social media and sport was a natural fit. Anthony is from Melbourne, Australia which was recently named the sporting capital of the world and has consulted with sporting organisations both in Australia and in the United States. He is also running Australia’s premier sport and social media event, the Digital Sport Summit. You can find him on Twitter @anthonyalsop or via email

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14 Responses to What Happens When India Embraces Twitter

  1. Anita Lobo May 14, 2010 at 4:43 pm #

    Good post this.
    When India's rabid Sachin fans land on this post, expect to be ribbed about 'Sachin is the world's greatest batsman' etc 🙂
    India's sportsmen haven't been the earliest adopters of twitter, but Sachin's presence should wake up many, especially in the cricket establishment.
    Another interesting observation is that the smart phone market is growing rapidly – a young generation is jumping straight from basic phones to the latest smart phones, with social networking, videos/ music & downloads being the main drivers.
    Big market for sports content!
    Anita Lobo

  2. "Rabid Sachin Fan :D" May 14, 2010 at 5:54 pm #

    In a nation of 1Billion, you forget that privacy is hard to come by. yet Sachin is the most private of all cicketers. He cannot walk the streets without getting mobbed and can only drive his Ferrari at night when teh world sleeps and the road is empty. Now, imagine doing this for nearly 10years!!

    not the most glamorous? maybe.a peek into his personal life?? Priceless!!

  3. Anthony Alsop May 14, 2010 at 10:54 pm #

    Hey thanks for the comment guys, glad you liked it. I remember watching a documentary on Sachin where as you said, he had to drive his Ferrari at night just to get out of the house, such a crazy existence. That would eventually make it into social media, and it did.I wrote that article on the weekend, he's added 45,000 followers since, he's now at 295,000. Simply amazing.

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