Influence and Impact: Social Media Driving Change in India

Advancements and globalization of digital platforms and social media technologies is empowering people across the globe to participate, and share content online. India has experienced technology as a vehicle in aiding social change through social media.  The growth of social media outlets is changing behaviors, perceptions, and attitudes as the ease and growth of online social technologies induce audiences to become digital activists; changing user behavior from passive to active, non-participatory to avid participation, and enabling users with a voice that was otherwise unknown or untapped.  The power of social media and its impacts on individuals, businesses, and society in India has provided an equal opportunity to voice thoughts, opinions, and share information. The increase of usage and ease of entry provides an attractive interface for anyone to become a creator or advocate of information and ideas by using blogs, micro-blogs, social sharing, and networking sites.

social media networks

 Social Media for Peer to Peer: The popularity of social networks has created a new trend of social sharing where individuals can recommend to groups of people products, services, information and ideas. The online peer-influence factor virally spreads as visible feedback channels engage, encourage and promote peers to be more participative and interact.  It’s no surprise that micro-blogging sites like Twitter share the breaking news faster than the traditional media channels, as more and more people are using it not only for live streaming of their personal events but most importantly as an information sharing medium and a collective knowledge sharing channel with other people across the world.

Social Media for Business to Consumer: For brands and marketers, social media introduces both opportunities and challenges. Brands are now able to listen to and address both compliments and complaints made by fellow or future consumers enabling the brand or marketer to respond to and interact with the public.   In India, eight out of 10 people from urban areas who buy cars use the internet to search for information on brands and products before making a purchase. A major driver for businesses to use the social media marketing is the low-cost model compared to traditional marketing channels. Predictions for Business to Consumer marketing via social media in India indicates that more marketers will be adopting social media strategies as a new marketing medium and engagement channel to interact with current and prospective consumers.  For businesses in India, monitoring social interaction behaviors, brand reputation, and current and prospective consumer expectations will help the company to build long-term relationships, create loyal communities of brand advocates, and engage in a dialogue with people interested in the product, brand, or service.

Social Media for Social Change: Social media has empowered people in Indian society to spread perspectives on social causes and change, participation in digital activisms, and support and information sharing in crisis situations. Cultural adoption and availability/understanding of technology prove to be an obstacle for many in underdeveloped areas of India.

Social Media and Behavior: The increase in the use of social media sites will allow for researchers to observe the behaviors of the population engaging in social media. Understanding behaviors will allow for researchers and businesses to track behavioral change patterns, market trends, content consumption patterns, and social changes through technology. Through better placement of advertisements to targeted audiences, monitoring behaviors via social media will help companies reduce the total number of ads served for the same or better result, thus reducing costs. In addition, through web analytics and modeling derived from website user behavior companies will be able to translate the data into actionable business intelligence that can be implemented to deliver better results.

Predictions for Social Media in India:

Text-Based Social Media: Mobile text and application capabilities, such as SMS and Twitter, are becoming more affordable and available, thus adoption of mobile social networking across India increasing. Subscriber growth in India will continue, driven by rural expansion, entry of newer operators, 3G and cheaper handsets. Flat-rate data plans will also accelerate the use of mobile media. InformationWeek has projected a significant transformation in Media, Technology & Telecommunications over the next 10 years because of Wireless Social Networking Revolution. Technology, Media & Telecom represents approximately 5% of global GDP, and with the growing population in India, Indians are expected to have a better chance of capitalizing on developing social media mobile trends.

“Citizen Journalism” : The power of citizen journalism became ever so present during the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.  Indian media has been increasingly willing to integrate citizen journalism in its news coverage and India is expected to see a continuation of these trends throughout 2009.

Indian General Elections: Social media, online and mobile, will serve as an inflection point in the general elections in India. Interaction with the younger generations in India has launched a popularity and engagement to “get out the vote”. Specifically, Twitter and other mobile based applications will play an important role in future general elections, both in the campaigning and in the coverage of the elections.

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5 Responses to Influence and Impact: Social Media Driving Change in India

  1. Nice look at social media’s potential power in driving change in India. Your post raises many good points about the potential for social media and breaks it down into what the key opportunities are that you see in using these tools. This post demonstrates a nice overview and compilation, though at times it is easy to get the sense that you are sharing thoughts and analysis that could apply to any region and not necessarily specifically to India. To get past this perception, you may need to focus more on specific case studies or examples to prove your point. In this post, though you do have examples, most are mentioned in passing when greater detail could really allow you to make your point more strongly. (3)

  2. Shannon Barrett says:

    I really like how you broke social media into a number of different categories, especially “Social Media and Behavior”. I found that section especially interesting because it highlighted a different way to look at social media i.e. instead of looking at traditional (as traditional as they can be in a new media environment) social media statistics, which are sometimes misleading, you showcased the importance of monitoring behavioral trends which is a proven and valuable way to segment audiences. I also thought that section was insightful because you mentioned “actionable business intelligence,” which can translate not only into successful communication strategies, but can contribute to overall business success. Rather than creating a communications plan that is retrofitted to achieve goals in India, companies should use this data when first creating principles that are directly linked to the business model. All in all, I thought this showed a holistic approach to how business can and should operate.

  3. paulfbove says:

    I’m glad that you brought up “Citizen Journalism” in this post. The 2008 Mumbai terror attacks certainly did allow the world to view the attacks in a whole new, real-time light. As you stated, these trends will continue to grow. And they’ll likely grow in India and worldwide. Additionally, citizen journalism will likely get even bigger over time as technology gains pace with worldwide populations. Good insights and research.

  4. kstel2 says:

    Great Post. I was particularly interested in the Social Behaviors of Indians and how it relates to social media. It makes me wonder if our day to day behaviors dictate the type of social media Indians are attrached to using online.

  5. its really good i have gone through useful to me and i like to share somethings to you what i have seen from one sites its really very good aboard education in aberdeen university in united kingdom in northeast costal scotland.

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