"The Power of Social Media is that, it forces Necessary Change."
Social media are computer mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information and ideas via virtual communities and networks. Users typically access social media service via web-based technologies on their personal computers or smart-phones. Users can create highly interactive platforms through which individuals, communities and organizers can share, co-create, discuss and modify content posted online. It changes the way individuals and large organizations communicate. Its outlet operates in a dialogic transmission method, i.e.; many sources to many receivers, in context to the traditional media which operates under a monologic transmission method, i.e.; one source to many receivers. Some of the most popular social media websites are Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. In the recent years, social media has played a pivotal role in knitting the fabric of the Indian society. It has changed the Indian society from a naive society to a mature one.
Social media platforms provided Indians with a platform to raise their voice against injustice and inequality. People from the underprivileged society have always been suppressed by the upper class. Such oppressed people are now taking up their cases to social media to let the world know of the adversities done to them. A few decades ago, if a farmer died due to non-repayment of loans, only the family mourned for the loss. But today, if the same happens, the entire nation seems to empathize with the death of such farmers; NGOs too get an impetus with the rising awareness of the concerns.
Social media is not only confined to the common man but also the politicians. It plays a huge role in creating good image of the politicians and influences the public to great extent. It's the real game changer with leaders having million fans on Twitter and supporters on Facebook and Google+. Former American president, Mr. Barack Obama and former Australian PM, Mrs. Julia Gillard hosted political conferences on Google+ hangouts and this trend was later followed by our Honorable PM, Mr. Narendra Modi when he was the Chief-Minister of Gujarat. Even now, PM Modi is one of the most popular and influential politician active on social media. Even Anna Hazzare's social media campaign against Corruption in India was a huge success.
Role of social media in business and consumer market in India cannot be undermined. Social media is used by various brands to build communities for interaction and spreading awareness about their services. Every organization, be it big or small, has an online presence on various social media platforms. It also provides useful information about the behavior of customer to the organization on regular basis.
However like every good thing, it has a flip side as well. Yes, social media has various negative impacts like privacy issues, information overloads and internet fraud. Though various social networking sites have come up "Privacy Setting" facilities, yet we see many cases of privacy invasion and leakage of personal information. Individual have thousands friends on their "friend list" but none in real that one can count upon. Thus people end up being lonely in the real world. Researchers have found that hyper-networking leads to negative health behavior leading to laziness, obesity, depression, drug abuse, isolation or in the worst cases it may even lead to suicide.
There are times when companies face a scenario where disgruntled employees speak their minds defaming the company's good name. Social media platforms have also been famous for defaming and negatively portraying brands, companies, celebrities as well as members of general public.
Social media has made the world a small space by allowing mass cultural exchange and intercultural communication. Such cultural mergers have proved to be ruinous for the Indian society. India being a secular country is a home for the people of various religious and cultural beliefs. When these beliefs clash the consequences are unpleasant. A mere comment or opinion on a certain belief on social media spreads like fire leading to ugly riots and destructive rallies. Thus creating disturbance in life of common man.
Social media and use of social networking sites is a trend that almost every Indian follows. Social media helps to improve an individual's sense of connectedness with the real or online communities. It is an effective marketing tool for corporations, entrepreneurs, NGOs, etc. At the same time, concern have been raised about possible links between its heavy usage and its ill effects on health issues or cyber bullying, online harassment and trolling. Just as everything has some good and bad side so is social media. Its impact on Indian society totally depends on how and why we Indians use it.
- Ananya Mohanty