If #Trendingnow Were A Guy!

 Shashank Ravi has taken over many a news feed on Facebook since 2012.

This Thala may not be a movie star with screaming fans, but he certainly does have a knack for the funny and has over 71,000 followers on Facebook to back him up. US-based Shashank Thala, aka Shashank Ravi has taken over many a newsfeed on Facebook since 2012, and there has been no looking back. RITZ shares a chat with the man who is associated with all that’s funny. 

How would you describe the phenomenon that is Shashank Ravi?

I would say Shashank Ravi is just like any other person who logs onto Facebook to interact with people and shares posts that others can relate to.

You have an ever growing fan following, have you ever had a chance of interacting with any of them in person?

One of my primary interests on social media is to meet and interact with people whom I have never met before. That is why prior to my vacation, I try to mention when and where I will be traveling as it allows me to interact with my subscribers.

Fortunately I have met some amazing people this way. Some host me, some stop by for a few minutes to several hours, some take me in and around the city. Many subscribers have befriended each other during such interactions and have ended up becoming good friends *self-pat*.

What are your posts on? How many posts do you usually put up?

In general all that I find in my newsfeed that cracks me up, makes me think, spreads positivity, makes people forget their morning blues, etc. are shared instantly.

I also share my views and one liners on topics that trend globally, news and happenings about my hometown Chennai, movies and TV programs which people back home can relate to. The number of posts I end up sharing varies every day.

On an average, how much time do you spend on social media – looking for posts and otherwise?

For a guy like me who is away from home and who does not have any friends nearby, social media is everything. Cumulatively I think the time spent would be 4 to 8 hours / day.

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When did Shashank Ravi turn Shashank Thala?

Shashank Thala was the profile name I gave myself when I created a Facebook account. This surname got me a lot of followers. Eventually with growing subscribers, Facebook required me to provide a proof of my original name and I had to change it back to Shashank Ravi.

What was your first viral post?

A tweet of mine popped up during the CSK vs RR IPL match on May 15th 2012. Yo Mahesh had a good game that day and so I tweeted “Yo Mahesh usually raps, today he rocked 4-0-21-2.” To my surprise Harsha Bhogle read it live during the match.

Your most memorable post so far? 

I once tweeted “Going by the trend of scams in India, future generations will get confused whether India Gate is a scam or a monument.” This tweet made me trend in India on Twitter trends map.

Ever landed in a controversy over a post?

Oh yes, lots of times. What I once thought would be regular jovial post could now be considered as an insensitive joke amongst thousands. Topics such as politics, religion, cinema etc. will invite controversy no matter what.

Something that you regret posting.

Fortunately I have never regretted posting anything as every controversy has helped me learn. I’ve also realised that people should be credited for their work.

Your reaction to finding a Quora question about you.

It was a pleasant surprise. I never ever thought that merely posting on social media could grab people’s attention. It reminded me of Orkut’s Testimonial section.

Ever thought of turning full time blogger and social media celebrity? 

I am actually very happy with my current role as a research scientist and do not intend to become a full-time blogger anytime soon.  I feel everything including social media feels good only when it is used within the limits.

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Has something that you have posted ever turned ‘trending’?

Every now and then something or the other does trend from my profile because of my growing followers. It need not necessarily have to be my own post. It is mostly the content created by others.

Tips for newbies on social media who are looking to gain ‘cult’ status like you?

Anyone’s post that is worthy has the potential to trend or become viral. News can trend from social media reactions. We all have a very powerful tool in our hands. How we make use of it is what matters.

Do you read all the comments on your posts?

I used to. Very rarely, nowadays. Comments once upon a time were in small numbers, constructive and to the point. Now when difference in opinion arises, people can get unpleasant.

Initially I used to spend energy and tried to settle things. After a point I decided to forego reading comments. That way I don’t let their negativity ruin my day.

When several thousands follow your profile, the notifications tab goes for a toss. It is

impossible to keep track of all notifications.

What’s Shashank like in real life? 

I am a simple person who likes to interact with people and contribute in some way towards people’s happiness. It looks like I have succeeded in doing so, in the form of sharing posts. Very simple, yet effective.