With over 708K followers on Instagram and hot takes on current topics, Abhi&Niyu are riding the social media wave

Niyati Mavinkurve, one-half of the Abhi&Niyu, speaks about what makes their handle popular, striving to make unique videos, and how they handle trolls.

In a recent video of Abhi&Niyu on Instagram, the duo talks of Bengaluru being the Indian city defeating COVID-19.

Posted last week, it was preemptive because Bengaluru has since then seen a surge in cases and crossed the 11,000 mark at the time of writing this story.

Abhi & Niyu

If you scroll through the comments on this video, you can notice many asking Abhiraj Rajadhyaksha and Niyati Mavinkurve why they did not pick up Kerala to showcase the fight against COVID-19, a state that has been doing extremely well on that front.

Of course, every argument has a different side to it – some comment, others troll and some others offer counterpoints.

Without any judgement, but definitely, with some points to ponder on the role of social media influencers in an evolving society, especially during a pandemic, I speak to Niyati, one-half of the Abhi&Niyu duo.

The spread of the coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown enforcing social distancing, people have turned to the internet and social media not only for news, but to rage, discuss, and debate on current events more than ever before.

In this scenario, social media influencers have a huge responsibility and a significant role to play in the dissemination of the right news and information to their large audiences.

A different path

While some influencers like Saloni Gaur and Danish Sait do uproariously comic takes on everyday situations, Abhi&Niyu are following a different path, very current, and sometimes very political in nature.

With over 7,08,000 followers lapping up every video, whether it’s on mental health, a clean India, the recent developments in the Galwan Valley, the “truth about China” or the controversy surrounding famous YouTuber CarryMinati, the couple are creating content they say, “are making people think”.

Most of the videos feature both Abhi and Niyu, and are quite straightforward, peppered with numbers, data, and “research”, and are emphatic but not without some rhetoric.

Niyati speaks to HerStory on behalf of the duo, outlining their roles as influencers in an evolving world, where the right information is key.

While Abhi has been making corporate videos for some time now and works full-time on their social media presence along with help from Niyu, the latter is a Chartered Accountant who forayed into the world of content writing.

“While Abhi was making corporate videos in 2017, he struck upon the idea of making independent vlogs to showcase everyday stories filled with information. We started posting them on Facebook,” says Niyati.

In 2018, the two got married and were always thinking of ways to travel and make videos. They also deliberated on moving to Canada to do their master’s but didn’t find universities where they could study together, and the plan didn’t work out.

From vlogs to videos

So, the two began travelling across India and posted vlogs on their travels on YouTube titled, ‘Hundred Reasons to Love India’. Last year, they began getting more active as Abhi&Niyu on Instagram and since the lockdown and a spurt in their videos, and diversity in content saw an increase in followers, manifold.

Whether it’s a video on mental health awareness or one innocuously titled, ‘China’s Masterplan Expose’, the duo says they are very mindful of the content and context.

“We don’t slander anyone on social media. We personally believe it’s a conversation between our followers and us, especially with the comments. Then, it becomes a discussion and a perspective,” Niyati says.

However, she is emphatic that though the lines can often we blurred when it comes to responsibility versus popularity, they are very careful to back up every video with solid facts.

“It’s the responsibility of every creator to be mindful about the content they put out. We fact check information on different publications, and research extensively on every topic we put out there,” she adds.

A lot of subjects are pursued after they read about it and actually visit the places. Others are crowdsourced, from people who follow them.

While influencers are often accused of catching onto a trend and creating more hype than necessary, the duo believes they do not follow a trend but attempt to create one. So, the two spend a considerable amount of time scrolling through the comments and DMs to understand what their followers not only think of their videos but also create an online discussion to understand the subject better.

“It also about spreading positive stories about the country because social media is increasingly negative. A lot of responses are positive with people telling us our videos brought them hope about the country and gave them new reasons to love it. There have been suggestions to visit their home states and cover aspects that the rest of the country may not be aware of, whether it’s Chhattisgarh or Odisha,” she says.

Facing the trolls

She also talks passionately of bringing unsung people from various states of India to the forefront, those that are deserving of the attention and adulation for the wonderful work they are doing.

“Every social influencer faces online abuse in the form of trolls. How does the couple handle it? There are a few people who may be rude to you because they want your attention. There are others who want to make a point. We consider everybody’s viewpoints. A lot of times, we let things slide, because at the end of the day, I can’t speak for the mental state of the person on the other side of the keyboard or phone. So, we ask ourselves, is it really worth our time engaging with someone who is abusive?” Niyati asks.

In the end, she says you can be a popular influencer only if you can hold the attention of your audience.

Niyati adds, “We are waiting for the world and country to be safe again to go out and do more videos. In the meanwhile, we will continue creating content that will provide people with an insight into what’s happening today and have interesting conversations.”

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta