Impact of Social Media in India
May 25, 2013
by Ramandeep Kaur
After ‘tech savvy’ it is the ‘social media savvy’ that has become synonymous with today’s generation. About 2/3rd of Indians online spend time on different social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, etc. Even the trend of sending personal emails seems to have become obsolete as compared to social media. But why is this media becoming so popular in India? Interaction, live chat, status updates, image- as well as video-sharing are few of the major aspects that play a role in the popularity of social media. On the other hand, customer’s responses, interaction and brand awareness is why the companies are using social media in India and across the globe. Thereby, multiple roles played by social media beyond its core role of mere communicating information are leading to its popularity.
By December 2012, the number of social media users in urban India had reached 62 million. A sudden availability of smartphones and mobile Internet has led to a spurt in the use of social media. All the business ventures in India rely on social media to understand their consumer base, for brand awareness and interaction. Indian netizens use social media to build virtual communities, groups and to interact and chat. So, there is no doubt that Information and Technology, in particular rapidly increasing social media plays an important role in shaping the mind of customers towards certain products and brands. At the same time, it is used for entertainment and leisure by most of the Indians online. Each day, about 100 million Indians are engaged in social media, more than the population of Germany.
Social Media – Brief Introduction
In 2004, a Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook to connect with fellow students. But, at present, it is the most promising of all social media. At present there are 51 million Facebook users in India. Twitter, a micro blogging site where you can express yourself in 140 characters or less, is also a very prominent social media platform. YouTube was created in 2005 by Steve Chen and Chad Hurley that provides a provision of sharing videos. For all the professionals out there, LinkedIn is the best social media platform. Google has recently launched Google+ that is more or less like Facebook.
The Role of Social Media
Social Media in Indian Politics
Social media is not only confined to you and me but to politicians as well. Through different activities politics and politicians in India have brought social media into the limelight. It is expected that social media will play a huge role and influence the coming general elections to a great extent. The study by IRIS Knowledge Foundation and supported by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has indicated this fact. Social media will be real game changer with political leaders having millions of fans on Twitter and supporters on Facebook as well as Google+. In order to build a certain image, most of the politicians also have their own websites. A few examples:
All the recent lectures by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi got huge social media attention. He even hosted a political conference on Google+ hangouts and this makes him the third politician across the globe to do this after Obama and Australian PM Julia Gillard. Ajay Degan hosted his Google+ Hangout in which the common man was free to ask live questions from him. He has a strong presence on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
Shashi Tharoor is very active on Twitter and his tweets are quoted in mainstream media.
Few months back, you must have seen a page on Facebook seeking Dr. Abdul Kalam as president of India.
Then there is Anna Hazare’s Social Media Campaign against corruption in India.
Many researchers have indicated that social media would be stronger and more persuasive than television in influencing people.
Social Media and Business
Role of social media in business and consumer market in India cannot be undermined. It is the change in consumers’ behavior that is changing the role of social media in India. With time, use of social media has seen a drastic change from just used for fun to fun plus knowledge and marketing. For business purposes, Facebook is the most important social media platform as there is customers’ engagement, followed by Twitter, YouTube and blogging. Social media is used by brands to build communities for interaction and spreading news.
So not only individuals but every organization, be it big or small, has an online presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube channels and other related social media platforms. 95.7% of organizations in India use social media to build communities, 76.1% for highlighting brand news, platform specific parameters such as number of likes, share, comments, people taking about the company are considered by 81% of the organizations to measure their success. As far as the budget is concerned, most of the organizations set budget below INR 10 million on their social media spending that makes 1-5% of their total marketing budget. Social media interaction provides useful information about the behavior of the customers to the organization on regular basis.
Social Media and Recruitment in India
Social media and recruitment go hand in hand with social media becoming an integral part of recruiting firms. These firms are using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to find new employees and skills. So, gone are the days when for employment recruiters as well as employees used to rely on employment exchange and classified ads in the newspaper. Hiring through traditional media was based on gut feeling whereas through social media, it is based on interaction, communication and direct response. Most of the organizations have well planned strategies for talent acquisition through social media.
Social Media and IPL
Social media is also playing an active role in the Indian Premier League (IPL) by providing up to date and live information on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Youtube. Teams are in constant touch with their fans through social media and there is great interaction. For IPL sponsors and brands, such an interaction and reach of social media is a boon. Thus there is no way to ignore social media for business and entertainment purposes.
Misuse of Social Media in India
Article 66A of IT Act and Social Media Censorship in India
Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media
How Fake Accounts can impact Facebook?
How the traditional and digital media growing in India?
What Ails BJP’s Social Media Campaign
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Media is the means of communication that reaches or influences people widely, has a significant place in the statecraft machinery especially in the age of information revolution. It is the source of information for a society regarding any issue be it local, regional or global, people rely and even trust on what is presented to them by media.
The media has become an important tool of the statecraft in the modern era. It is the 'fourth estate' which helps the state to further its interests, objectives and goals .
Therefore, media act as an influential and instrumental tool with regards to building confidence or promoting mistrust among people on issues related to national security.
Technology has endowed the electronic media with three major attributes -
i) Instantaneity: Instantaneity has provided it with a ringside view in real time,
ii) Spontaneity: Spontaneity has allowed it cover events as they unfold
iii) Locality: Locality has provided it with the power to bring the farthest corner of the globe into a household.
This has also enhanced the reach and, therefore, the hold of the electronic media over the viewers' minds. It has, however, also given rise to a multiplicity of players in this field, with consequential concerns of accountability, responsibility and public good.
• It is, therefore necessary to ensure that the media is prompt, responsible, sensitive, accurate and objective in its presentation of news. In the context of maintenance of public order, the role of the media could go a long way in preventing rumour mongering and incorrect or mischievous coverage by a small section of the media which could be supportive of partisan elements.
• The central issue is how to have an effective interface with the media. Given the technological environment in which the media functions today, the fact that there is no monopoly over sources of information and the need to have an informed public, control measures are neither feasible nor desirable.
• It is incumbent on the administration to continuously provide the media with immediate, accurate and reliable information so that, the public is not left with gaps in their information which might be filled by sensational and biased news reporting. This requires capability building at various levels of the administrative machinery so as to provide a transparent and responsive administration.
• To ensure that government officials interact with the media in a professional manner, media management modules should be integrated in various training programmes. Media persons may also be associated with such training modules. Emphasis on local language media would obviously be useful.
• In hierarchical structures within the government, interaction with the media is generally regulated to avoid confusion and contradictions. To overcome such hindrances, officials should be designated at appropriate levels to interact with the media and their accessibility should be ensured.
Thus to maintain internal security following principles have to be followed:
• Ensuring the objective presentation of news and fair and unbiased comment, to promote the advancement of education and culture.
• Raising and maintain high standards of decency and decorum in all programmes.
• Providing programmes for the young which, by variety and content, will inculcate the principles of good citizenship.
• Promoting communal harmony, religious tolerance and international understanding.
• Treating controversial public issues in an impartial and dispassionate manner.
• Respecting human rights and dignity.
Ideally, media should be impartial and free from the propaganda mechanisms. It should provide balanced account to the people. Media educates and keeps the public informed about the national and international political and other human realities taking place in everyday life. The purpose of media is to highlight the trouble spots in the society and press the government and public to devise suitable mechanisms to eliminate those troubles.
However, the potential of media as a force multiplier and a weapon of war must be realized. Failure to recognize and counter enemy’s usage of media could lead to unprecedented military and national failures. It must be realized that today decisions are no longer based on events but on how the events are presented.
Thus to understand the different threats posed by Media to the internal security of India have been analysed under different heads.