Social Media Decoded : The Good , The Bad and The Way Ahead

22 Sep

Let us go through some New Age Quotes :–

You are what you Tweet .
Deactivating your social media account = Committing pseudocide.
It’s not really social media, it’s the ‘me’ in media.

I was sitting with a friend in a restaurant , a person next to our table was waiting for his order from quite sometime and had a little argument with the waitress there over this . My friend immediately tweeted ‘You don’t seem to value your customer’s time ‘ tagging along the outlet’s twitter handle .
No! we don’t place complaints for inferior customer services. We say it loud and it elicits speedy response . This is social media for you .

Facebook has more than 750 million active users worldwide, meaning that 1 in every 9 people on Earth is using this network. Twitter has also gained momentum as a communication medium: there is an average of 200 million Tweets per day, and the number is continuously increasing.

The Good

1. Role in Arab Spring movement
We know that movement against oppressive dictatorship in the middle east got thrust from social media . Initial call for protest were made on Facebook page (except for Tunisia) . After lifting up of the ban , the traffic on these sites increased exponentially . Even if the user penetration for a social networking site in a country is less , even then user accounts are linked to other social contacts which spread the message viral .
Example – In Egypt itself – Twitter penetration was 5.5 % in initial days of unrest which translated to 6 million users which is a huge number .
On similar lines Anti corruption movement took place in India in 2011 which shook the collective conscience of nation and was primarily initiated through social networking sites .

2. Social skills
People use social media for maintaining strong ties with friends , strengthening of ties with acquaintances and to lesser degree , meeting new people . It helps in self development and gives opportunity to an individual in sharing his/her opinion .

2. It is used by those who are in power or those who are in limelight to engage with people . It is hard to tell which celebrity/politician/journalist/writer is not on one or the other social media platform. Social media provides a great channel for interaction .

3. It is Uncut , Unbiased & Unapologetic
It has no prejudices because there are no interests involved . It is the democracy in true sense . It has brought forth infinite access to platform for free speech for everyone and freedom to have opinion without boundaries .

4. Disaster Relief
No , we don’t just engage in banter ! It was used by many people during Mumbai blast for sharing help and arranging for blood donation . Useful responses flood these sites in case of emergencies .

5. Marketing / Business Development
Social Media has transformed companies into large personalities transcending them beyond Brand through which they can operate as means of personal connection .There is dialogue between Businesses and customers rather than one sided communication traditionally associated with advertising channels . Also there is a very targeted advertising based on content and interest .

According to Malcolm Gladwell, the author for Tipping Point – the characteristics that wins us over and keeps our loyalty are the personality traits . Social Media platform give these businesses , an opportunity to fine tune their personality traits .
This is a novel way for doing Customer Relationship Management .

6. Kolaveri Di Phenomenon
It all started here and went viral eventually. This shows the sheer audience reach of social media platform and the impact generated .

7. It is for everyone
For students and kids there is community engagements and volunteership which broadens their perspective .
Then , there is growth of ideas from creation of blogs , podcasts , videos and gaming sites .
There are sites like PatientsLikeme where people can help each other by discussing their illness , cure and symptoms .

The Bad

1. Cyberbullying / Troll menace
There are user accounts who spread motivated slander . It can cause significant emotional harm resulting in depression, anger, violence and in some cases even suicide for the victims . Then , there are fake and anonymous accounts who try to influence and skew genuine public opinion .

2. Disclosure of Personal Information
Since all the content up there is user generated , the Young adults need to be aware that information given out online could also put them at risk of victimization . There is need to develop appropriate social media literacy channels .

3. Copyright violation and Hacking
Social networks does makes you vulnerable to hackers and content uploaded there is amenable to copyright violation.

4. Lack of Media literacy
There have been instance where people got fired from their jobs because of certain content they posted on Facebook . There is need to understand the boundaries especially on part of professionals , so that they do not clash with the objectives of the organization that they are associated with .

5. It changes the dynamics of social groups and friendship
It somewhere alters and devalue the very meaning of friendship . The traditional notion of friendship embraces trust , support and compatibility level . Today , a friend maybe someone who may have liked the link you may have clicked .

The Way Ahead
Social Media has altered or rather revolutionized our behavioral patterns , cultural fabric , rules of business and marketing strategies (it has introduced ‘human’ element in it) . It has become more reliable source of news and information . It is amenable to regulation to a certain extent but not amenable to censorship . It will determine the rules of business and social life for times to come .

P.S : Song Of The Post – A lesser known song ‘Ab Mujhe Koi Intezaar Kahan’ from the movie ‘Ishqiya’ . It is a very soulful and mesmerizing composition by Vishal Bhardwaj and has vocals by Rekha Bhardwaj .
P.P.S This is the longest post till date . I do rant a lot !!

Jai Hind !!

1 Comment

Posted by on September 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


One response to “Social Media Decoded : The Good , The Bad and The Way Ahead

  1. Ashish Yadav

    September 22, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    To be or not to be, is no longer the question for brands thinking about a presence on social media. They have no choice but to be…way forward is what……best brands do on social networks, which ultimately defines dem..:)!!


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