Times they Are E-Changin’

Do you know the common point between Kobe Bryant’s retirement announcement, CBS’s revival plan for Star Trek and the recent announcements from the White House and president Donald Trump’s office? All of them were made not on conventional news or sports networks but on various social media platforms. Facebook recently shut down tens of thousands of accounts ahead of last weekend’s election in Germany in an effort to deflate concerns that Facebook might create ideological ‘bubbles’, showing the immense potential social platforms have acquired over the years.

The exponential rise of social media in our daily lives and its changing dynamics since its inception from an informative to an interactive, engaging and entertainment providing destination has been meteoric. Social media has shaped the way people consume information, and it has been an extremely enabling tool for people to move from being only consumers of information and entertainment to users who express their opinions, share feedback and even create content. The world over, consumers are realising that everything — from their bathroom antics to their mimicry talents which were earlier just reserved as a side-show during family gatherings — has the potential to find viewership over the internet.

Internet users, especially millennials, are now looking at two completely opposing sides of the digital spectrum — they are either consuming content from topic specific sites, such as food or travel dedicated platforms or consuming massively from all-in-one aggregator platforms. While domain specific entertainment channels often enjoy a small but dedicated user base, the all-in-one entertainment destinations enjoy a huge following as they are the go-to platforms for everyone to consume whatever they like in digestible nuggets, just by scrolling up and down.

With over 420 million mobile internet users in our country, the internet is slowly and gradually bringing power to everyone’s hands. Along with it, social media has elevated from the plane of just sharing the most basic communication to ultimately becoming the repository of all kinds of information that users across the world want to share.

The proliferation of smartphones has contributed to the rise of this phenomenon as users through their devices can now access content from all over the world. In 2010, a whole section of the world opened up to the idea of democracy, a revolution brought solely due to the power of social media. This had to be one of the best examples of how the virtual world and real world are so well-linked to each other and how much they actually get affected by each other. By 2021, the internet users in India are set to double. With that in mind,  the need for more platforms that connect people far away from each other to bring out the necessary change required, becomes apparent.

Chat forums and consumer groups on social media platforms are emerging as the strongest Research & Development platforms as well as customer feedback generation sources. In fact, these groups also contribute in generating awareness among the consumers regarding technologies, alternate products, offers and pricing to create an empowered body of consumers that can demand better quality of product and service.

While there is a dire need to work on the security of every individual using the internet, many precautions have already been taken by a majority of social media platforms. The experience-oriented nature of the millennial social media user has transformed every domain from entertainment to retail, and is gearing towards making a complete transformation into to a comprehensive and unparalleled virtual experience.

 (The writer is CEO and co-founder of Roposo)