Seminar on Social Media
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]fter a very long time, and perhaps even for the first time, the Kohima Press Club (KPC) will be organizing a media seminar at Hotel Japfu, Kohima on September 21 at 10 am. The focus will be on the global scenario and the unprecedented growth of the social media.
The media in Nagaland cannot remain isolated from the fast growing information technology and the only way is to accept to be part of the changes, according to the concept paper of the KPC. It is of the view that opinions formed in the social media could change the mindsets of the bureaucrats and politicians in the State. The use of social media in the right perspective also changes the mindsets of the youth, the future generation to take up the helm of affairs.Like that, practically every aspect of the society can be influenced—for better or worse. For instance, as access to internet increases, especially in small Indian towns and cities, social media has revealed a darker side as a hatred-mongering tool. This is a dangerous trend because as seen in the recent Muzaffarnagar riots in UP which turned communal, social media added fire leading to lost of lives.
Also ahead of key polls, politicians are learning the value of sites like Twitter to get every last vote. Election fever has completely gripped the Indian media. Although the general elections to the Lok Sabha elections are scheduled for 2014, the news cycle regularly carries rumours of early polls.
Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define social media as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.”
Furthermore, social media depends on mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms through which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content. It introduces substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities, and individuals.
Social media differentiates from traditional/industrial media in many aspects such as quality reach, frequency, usability, immediacy, and permanence. There are many effects that stem from internet usage. According to Nielsen, internet users continue to spend more time with social media sites than any other type of site.
Much of the criticism of social media are about its exclusiveness as most sites do not allow the transfer of information from one to another, disparity of information available, issues with trustworthiness and reliability of information presented, concentration, ownership of media content, and the meaning of interactions created by social media.
Most people associate social media with positive outcomes, yet this is not always the case. Due to the increase in social media websites, there seems to be a positive correlation between the usage of such media with cyber-bullying, online sexual predators, and the decrease in face-to-face interactions. Social media may expose children to images of alcohol, tobacco, and sexual behaviors.
However, it is also argued that social media has positive effects such as allowing the democratization of the internet while also allowing individuals to advertise themselves and form friendships. Also, a new study has showed that an approach that combines behavioural science with social media and online communities can lead to improved health behaviours among men at risk of HIV infection.
The KPC’s two themes, namely, “The Role of the media in the midst of Social Media Invasion” and “The impact of Social Media in our Lifestyle/Society” are most appropriate and hopefully, they will contribute to the mindset in conformation with the times.