When Marshal McLuhan coined the term Global Village, way back in 1962, he had just seen a glimpse of what electric technology could do. But he had sensed that whatever it comes to be in future, it would be an “extension of consciousness”.
He had predicted that every information collected would be easy to transfer with speed that is matched with the real time value.
Today, the technology of Internet and its integration in our lives is so intricate that it is hard for one to get out easily. From our TV to computers to the today’s basic necessity of a cellphone, exchange of information has grown stupendously and fast.
More than TV or radio or newspapers and even websites, the fastest way to spread a news or information is via social media. There is an earthquake and the first thing we are concerned with is to update it on Facebook and Twitter!
The desk guys at newsrooms are still typing the breaking and it is already viral on social media.
The push technology of cellphones has made it easier. Anything happens and you get a pop up alert from the apps that you use to interact.
In a time, when everyone is running it’s very hard to convince him/her to read something long. Here the social media comes handy. You get to know what you want to know- in brief. And constant comments and shares make it less likely for you to forget.
Why does every brand and every news site, blog post et al have a share panel with as many social
media as they can accommodate?
Brands (treat all the organisations as brands) have realised that to spread the word and get people to ‘retain’ the brand they will have to use the medium which is informal yet the one where useful information is exchanged.
Brands know this as well that who are their target audience, whom to reach and in what form to reach. There are people who are working round the clock by using all sorts of algorithm and logic to be pin-pointed and focussed on the target audience.
There are tailor made solutions to reach and engage. People are becoming more conscious and aware of brands. It helps both of them- the brand an the consumer. Brand reaches the potential audience and the user, by being able to interact and read others’ views, gets to know the brand better.
Unconsciously, when you see a certain Washington Post article being read by one of your friends repeatedly, you might as well end up sharing that and, may be, being loyal to it.
If some brand starts a campaign and some of your friends like it, you too get into it even if it’s just to have a look.
The point is, social media are becoming one planet with no boundaries. There is no limitation on what we create and see or want others to see. For every interest you have one place to share. Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Facebook are the top ones besides n number of them available for special interest areas like cooking, workplace, travel etc.
Democratisation of information is happening in true sense. There is no gatekeeper. There is no editor to clip a part of your creation off the reel. The best part is- you get to interact.
You shoot a movie, write a story, run a campaign ( Middle east revolutions, Anna effect in India, anti-Putin protests, occupy Wall Street), whatever you have has got a place on social media and there will always be people to engage.
The old days are back again. It’s inter-personal communication of another kind. It’s fastest way to get feed-forward and feedback. It’s a place for your pilot projects. Brands don’t have to spend a lot of money (they do but less) to build the brand and push it into the psyche.
It’s indeed an extension of our consciousness. It’s easy to get answers now and easier to know which one is right. You get tailored answers from a Microsoft expert when you get a problem installing a certain software. And that is free of cost.
But there remains a problem. The issue of privacy and that of too much of unwanted information. The amount of data that floats in the wires is huge and is accessible to anyone. There are privacy settings but most of us aren’t consciously setting it up.
The timeline, newsfeed, or whatever you call it, gets populated everyday as we add more people to our network. It might be just an obligation or courtesy but that might be an ache for us. It’s very hard to contain people on network. One can unleash his/her wisdom or lunacy or one sided friendship anytime and every time.
It’s highly irritating to be tagged or mentioned in places where you don’t want to be but your ‘friends’ will tag you there. That is one of the worst part.
Too much information makes it likely to miss on what you would intend to get. At times people just take a break or just swear to delete their account.
It’s not possible to predict where it goes from here as it is the golden time for the ever evolving social media. But it can be assumed that people will get bored of the intrusion and excessive use of it in a recent future and some new technology will take over.