What I do not like about social media would have definitely been a shorter article. But what I like and what it has done to the world we know is anything but insignificant. The fact that I sit here on a Saturday afternoon, offering my thoughts for your consideration, is a direct result of social media. I saw an ad for a networking event on Facebook, found my way there, encountered the interesting business owner of TCG, and voila, began a fruitful association with a lovely team. So a big thank you to the powers that be at Facebook, who are actively bridging gaps between people, transcending barriers of caste, creed, and colour.
By now, you should know I originated from India, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. But unfortunately, a constant struggle for the country has been to provide adequate representation to its rural population. Social media penetration is on the rise and has easily transformed their lives. In Sangli district of Maharashtra, prices of turmeric crashed, which could have rendered many farmers penniless. The local farmers mobilized a boycott on Facebook and were able to double the prices. The village head called a sarpanch, would normally coordinate these deliberations manually which could naturally not have the reach or the audience which social media can command. These unheard voices now have a platform and are empowered to share crucial information within their network.
In pursuit of democracy, voicing dissent and effecting change, social media has left an indelible mark. The Arab Spring which revolutionized politics in the Middle East was entirely mobilized on the strength of social media. The President of the United States chooses to communicate almost exclusively on Twitter, a platform which didn’t exist before 2006. The walls which existed between celebrity figures and the world at large have finally come down. The world is getting “smaller”, and we owe it entirely to social media.
Earlier, setting up a factory would lead to the creation of a township around it. Houses for employees, schools for the children, recreation centres et al. In the age of digital assets, these platforms have created economies of their own with scores of businesses which make big bucks off social media.
People would lament over the fate of traditional media when social media took off. News media was dying, and there was no way to help. Social media has reinforced conventional news media by giving it a platform with greater reach and a highly optimized readership measurement strategy. Old age media is no longer dying but simply relocating to a fancier home. Our consumption of data has changed primarily due to social media. Marketing as a discipline did not require social media analytics as a prerequisite, but today no serious marketing effort can imagine results without a robust social media strategy in place.
My own interactions with the world have been amplified and transformed by the many social media platforms at our disposal. I sometimes have chats on varying channels simultaneously with the same person! We share snaps, articles, gifs, emojis and a million other things to express ourselves. The convenience of this enhanced medium has added exciting new dimensions to how we communicate. The awkwardness of the first chat among strangers is now replaced by following each other on Instagram and posing for selfies to put up on Snapchat. With countless friends in remote corners of the world, I keep up with them effortlessly as they travel, work and even get married!
With such far-reaching consequences at the tip of our fingers, driven by our constant need for social validation, social media will continue to be loved for ever more and perhaps gather even more strength as the world’s most preferred communication tool, allowing us crossing cultures beyond boundaries…
On the other hand, we know that social media reigns on digital platform, and communications happen in a virtual world. So, what do you think of its impact on our in-person interaction with one another?
Hi, I’m Sabhya. I grew up in Lucknow, India. After a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Lady Shri College of Women at the University of Delhi, I moved to Singapore in 2018 for my yearlong post graduate studies. I graduated with a Master in Management from the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School. Since young, I’ve been a prolific writer who has travelled extensively across India and has also been a public speaker since the fifth grade. As I navigate and transits through my new life in the little red dot – Singapore, I hope that I can regale you with my anecdotal tales.