Monday, February 27, 2006

SMS Votes to Fame

This is the latest business gag. To vote for this contestant SMS "HISNAME" to 1234. Cost of each SMS, Rs.6. Cost of normal SMS, Re.1.

What's the deal? What do I gain by spending the extra five? At least when I spend a rupee normally I'm passing on information to a friend or telling my mom I'll be late. In the voting SMS thing, it's like doing a poll, but paying to participate. Isn't it ridiculous?

Why should I care whether somebody wins a contest or not? Why spend on helping a stranger win wealth and fame?

But people are doing just this. They're voting desperately, frantically--fanatically, to ensure "their" candidate wins. They get zero returns, and simply pour money into the coffers of cell phone companies and programs that host such shows. And of course, if they happen to be backing the most popular candidate, that candidate wins awards, contracts and immense popularity.

Why do they do it? Psychology, perhaps? The public is made to feel important; that they will determine a person's fate. And if they appreciate a person's talent or effort, they can now show their support with a six-rupee-SMS. Notice any program telling you the higher charge for the message?

Everyone is hosting contest shows that promise big rewards for the winner but making sure they themselves benefit hugely from the SMS votes: Sony's Indian Idol, Zee's Sa Re Ga Ma Pa and many more.

Did you watch Thursday's telecast of Debojit on the streets of Eastern India? The man was behaving just like a politician, accepting garlands, waving to the crowds, receiving shawls from important people. And why not? After all he is getting voted into power.

Only, he gets to have his cake and eat it too. He gets votes, wins a singing contract, a flat in Mumbai, wild popularity in his home state, and he doesn't have to give back anything to those who voted for him.

Sure, a politician doesn't have to either, but he is expected to, at least.

If Debojit were to stand for elections in Assam I think he'll beat any political candidate flat.

Don't even get me started on the fairness of such contests--the voting was obviously in support of local candidates rather than for singing skill in Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, and for looks or (weird) style in Indian Idol. God help the Indian youth if they were all to look up to Qazi whatever-his-name-is as an Idol.

Instead of sending ten SMSes go treat yourself to a Death By Chocolate in Corner House, I say!


The Guy Next Door said...

Cudnt agree more. More people voted in the UK for Big Brother(a Reality Television show) then did in the General Elections last year - Now isnt that something!!!

BTW, Good blog you have here.

somal thakore said...

I agree boss...
this brings a smile.
We think alike.