Published: 04th May 2021
This influencer duo is decoding policies, economics, history and more for millennials online. Here's their story
Abhi and Niyu, as they are popularly known, help millennials understand a great many things about the world today. Shreesha Ghosh finds out more about their content and how they keep it fresh
Their first video that went viral was a video urging people to look for alternatives to the POP and painted Ganesh idols that pollute nature. Since then, Abhiraj Rajadhyaksha (27) and Niyati Mavinkurve (29) AKA Abhi and Niyu's well-researched videos have been shared on social media, even by celebrities. A video on China's debt-trap diplomacy amassed over one crore views on Instagram alone and was shared by 32 lakh people. Recently, the influencer couple was featured on Forbes' 30 under 30, 2021, and on billboards across Mumbai as a part of Facebook's More Together campaign.
The duo started their page in 2019 to talk about positive, impactful stories from across the country. They also decode and simplify issues for millennials and their topics span different genres like history, environment, and sustainability, policy discussions, social commentary, economics, personal finance, among others. Their main audience is on their Instagram account @abhiandniyu that currently has 1.7 million followers. We speak to the duo to find out how they do what they do, how they keep their content unique, and a lot more.
Excerpts from an exciting conversation:
You were recently featured on billboards across Mumbai as a part of Facebook's More Together campaign. How did that feel? Can you tell us about your role in this campaign?
It feels surreal. You never think you'll see yourself on a hoarding at such a young age and when you do, the feeling is out of this world. As a part of this campaign, Facebook wants to showcase how creators are bringing people together through their work. They believe that we can achieve More Together and that is a principle we believe in as well. Through our work, we want to form a community of individuals who believe in solutions – who act to the best of their abilities to make a difference in the world. We have an active group of 84,000 members who share ideas and collaborate on projects such as tree plantations, making eco-bricks, waste segregation, recycling, and more. We want to prove to the world that together, we can make the world a better place. The campaign gives us a boost to work harder on our content and keep going out there to make a difference.
You decode and simplify issues for millennials and cover various genres like history, environment, and sustainability, policy, etc — do you feel social media is a great tool for youngsters to learn about these things in an interactive manner?
The big difference between probably a decade ago and now is how pervasive social media is in our lives. With the internet and smartphones making their way to everyone, it becomes a huge leveler. There are a lot of great channels that help spread information on a wide variety of topics and having technology gives youngsters a chance to access that information at their fingertips. However, having this information doesn’t mean the person necessarily uses it for self-growth. If the individual chooses, they can use social media to keep themselves informed and learn something new every day. How an individual uses social media determines what they can get out of it. It can be one of the best tools to grow personally. At the same time, it is easy to get stuck in a vortex of mindless content consumption. That being said, I think interactive and informative video content in the future. Also, with the new National Education Policy, we believe there is huge scope for vernacular language content to get integrated into education.
How do you decide what content to put out on a daily basis? What is your creative process?
We’re growing our team so we are not able to put out video content every day. At the moment, it is only the two of us, so making so much content each day is a little difficult. When it comes to videos, the topics are generally a mix of current issues, policy matters, things we have been thinking about (like why we can’t print unlimited money), personal finance, and so on. There is no set creative process. We take the maximum time to write the script for the video because we read as much as we can about the topic first. That takes a fair amount of time. Shooting the video is the easiest part. Editing the video again takes a full working day. Each video is different in terms of the content and the edit. When it comes to Insta Reels, we talk about our opinions on personal growth, the environment, we have our informative series called ABCs of Bharat to talk about incredible India. Our Insta stories are more a reflection of who we are as people.
With so much content on Instagram, social media in general, how do you make sure yours is unique? Are there any guidelines you follow?
We’ve been focusing on making videos that are solution-oriented and I think that makes our videos unique. Whatever the issue, we try to take that one extra step and think of how the problem can be solved. That has helped to make our videos stand out because even though we’re not experts, we want to start a conversation on possible solutions for a topic. When it comes to guidelines, we don’t make videos on politics per se, we would rather focus on policies. Politics come and go, but policies stay, affecting the lives of people. The other important thing is to keep digging to understand both sides of the story. Social media tends to jump the gun and quickly react to any news. But we’ve realised that waiting and watching helps us understand the issue better. It also ensures that we consider alternate points of view that may not come out immediately. We’re extremely conscious of what we post online. We feel responsible for every bit of content even if it is a tweet or a story. So, we do a fair bit of reading for both. We also ensure never to demean anyone online, even if the other person may resort to such behaviour.
How different are Instagram and YouTube in terms of audience and content?
YouTube and Instagram audiences are as different as chalk and cheese. The YouTube audience is used to watching longer videos and we’ve been frequently told to put up longer videos on our channel. The Instagram audience is more used to short-form content or static posts, so that experience is different altogether. What doesn’t change is the love we get on both platforms from followers.