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THE MAKING OF AN OFFICER
Any communication channel through which any kind of information, news, entertainment, education, data, promotional messages etc. can be disseminated is called Media.
Social media refers to digital channels that allow social user interaction and networking by sharing information through an online app or platform. An integral part of social media is the ability to like and comment on posts creating a two-way dialogue.
Social media is a collective term for websites and applications that focus on communication, community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration.The Khelo India programme has been introduced to revive the sports culture in India at the grass-root level by building a strong framework for all sports played in our country and establish India as a great sporting nation.
The common elements that define social media include:
Operates through a digital app or platform.
Users create an individual profile.
Users build networks and connections with other individual.
A platform for user-generated content.
Allows two-way dialogue with comments.
Social Media in recent times has become synonymous with Social Networking sites such as Facebook or Microblogging sites such as Twitter. However, very broadly social media can be defined as any web or mobile based platform that enables an individual or agency to communicate interactively and enables exchange of user generated content.
Social media is used by Digital Computer Based Technology primarily used for sharing ideas and information in the form of text, images, and videos through internet-based virtual networks and platform-based communities.
Users engage on social media using digital devices, including computers, tablet, mobile phones, etc., via the application software.
The advent of social media is transforming the way in which people connect with each other and the manner in which information is shared and distributed. It is different from traditional media such as print, radio and television in two significant ways –
The amount of content that can be generated by the users themselves far exceeds the content generated by news/opinion makers.
Its viral ability for potential exponential spread of information by word of mouth and interlinking of the various social media platforms, thereby considerably reducing the control over spread of any such information.
Social media facilitates the sharing of ideas and information through virtual networks. From Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and YouTube, social media covers a broad universe of apps and platforms that allow users to share content, interact online, and build communities. More than 4.7 billion people use social media, equal to roughly 60% of the world’s population.
People use social media to stay in touch and interact with friends, family and various communities. Businesses use social applications to market and promote their products and track customer concerns.
Business-to-consumer websites include social components, such as comment fields for users. Various tools help businesses track, measure and analyze the attention the company gets from social media, including brand perception and customer insight.
Social media has enormous traction globally. Mobile applications make these platforms easily accessible.
Some popular examples of general social media platforms include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Social media refers to digital platforms that allow user interaction and sharing user-generated content through an online app for networking purposes.
Difference Between Social Media and Social Networks
Social media is a platform used for sharing or broadcasting information, while on the other hand, a social network is a communication platform used for connecting.
A single platform can function as a social media and a social networking platform.
Types Of Social Media
The original social media platforms focused on networking and user interaction, with channels facilitating this among friends, peers, or industry professionals.
Posts are mainly in written format and include shared images or videos. Social networking platforms are considered the original and established social media channels, and have strong user bases and brand adoption.
Examples: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin.
Visual apps predominantly focus on sharing images. Photo sharing apps originally focused solely on images, but most have expanded to include video and ephemeral content like Stories.
Instagram has become one of the strongest social media platforms for brands and advertising. It’s also popular with influencers.
Examples: Instagram, Snapchat.
Different demographics usually adopt different social media apps and platforms for sharing videos; for example, TikTok has a strong base of Gen Z users.
YouTube is one of the strongest channels for brands to build an audience and has attracted a considerable influencer base.
Examples: YouTube, TikTok
Bookmarking communities are focused on saving or sharing links.
These channels take a community approach to asking questions or sharing ideas to stimulate discussion. These platforms are great for doing research and getting feedback.
Examples: Reddit, Quora
Social media has become ubiquitous. As per a UN report, 47 % of the global population is online and among them, the percentage of social media users is rising steadily.
It does not have a steep learning curve and compared to other traditional websites offers content in the local language.
The barriers to entry are quite low and there is a large and well development ecosystem in place for users which is unavailable in traditional TV media. The positives of social media.
Social media offers a variety of entertainment that offers an escape from the conventional scripted entertainment industry funded by established studios.
It offers people-to-people interaction that breaks barriers and forges a true human connection.
It also has been instrumental in pro-democracy fights in many oppressive regimes.
Social media is also playing a crucial role in disaster relief, blood donation drives, etc.
The Extent of Social Media
Based on recent reports published, the extent of social media in India can be understood through the following facts:
The top 5 most popular social media platforms in India are:
WhatsApp, with 534.3 million users.
Facebook, with 503.37 million users.
Instagram, with 491.53 million users.
Telegram, with 374.40 million users.
Facebook Messenger, with 324.39 million users.
The Extent of Social Media
India has 658 million internet users, of which 467 million actively use social media.
The total number of mobile connections in India is 1.14 billion.
The average mobile internet speed in India is 14.39 Mbps.
Mobile phones dominate internet usage in India, accounting for 75.91% of the share, followed by laptops at 23.66% and tablets at 0.42%.
The annual growth rate of social media users in India is 4.2%, which means an increase of over 19 million users yearly.
On average, users spend 156 minutes per day on social media.
India's top three most used social media platforms are Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Google holds a significant monopoly in the search engine market in India, with a share of 98.75%.
Benefits of Social Media
Social media is allowing the democratisation of knowledge and broader communication.
Billions of netizens around the world now feel empowered to bypass traditional curators of information.
They have also become creators and disseminators of content, not just consumers of it.
The rise of the virtual world provides voiceless people unprecedented opportunities to assert themselves and experience a sense of belongingness.The rise of several YouTubers and social influencers as a medium of profession is a testimony of the phenomenon.
Wider and Heterogeneous Communities
Online communities are, geographically, much wider and more heterogeneous than physical communities.
In the past, many communities in India were not allowed to participate in public discourses, organise themselves and advance their thoughts and ideas.
Their concerns, ideas, experiences, ambitions and demands largely went unheard.
Cheap and Easy
Today, creating content needs less investment than the brick and mortar or any other Physical set up.
It is more often soft-skill driven.
With the assistance of technology, anyone can create competent, authentic, effective and fresh online content.
Countering The Hegemony
Social Media has also evolved as a tool to counter the hegemony or narrative of traditional players.
It has provided an alternate source of Knowledge in a world where mainstream media has come under severe public criticism for fake news and propaganda.
Closing The Distance
Social Media has also bridged the distance.
Friends and Family are now connected over WhatsApp and other Apps despite being far away in distance.
Direct Interaction With Government
Today Social Media has empowered common people to directly interact with the government and avail government services directly.
Common people tagging Railway and other ministries and the agencies responding to them is common news these days.
Challenges and Concerns of Social Media
Hate speech and Rumours
Hate speech and rumours in India have been responsible for acts of violence and deaths in many of the cases for quite some time now.
Similarly Hate Speech on Social Media had a big role in the Delhi Riots of 2020.
Online Trolling and Cyber bullying
Social media can be used to bully and harass others. This can seriously impact the victim's mental health and well-being.
Trolling is the new bi product of Social Media.
Vigilantes take law in their own hand and start trolling and threatening those who don’t agree with their views or narratives.
It has led to anonymous trolls who attack the reputation of an individual.
Over 64% of Indians encounter fake news online.
There are a staggering number of edited images, manipulated videos and fake text messages spreading through social media platforms and messaging services like WhatsApp making it harder to distinguish between misinformation and credible facts.
Women face cyber rape and threats that affect their dignity severely.
Sometimes their pictures and videos are leaked with and are forced to cyber bullying.
Social media platforms are often targeted by hackers. This can lead to the theft of user data, including passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information.
Social media can be addictive, and people can spend hours scrolling through their feeds, checking notifications, and responding to messages.
This can lead to problems such as sleep deprivation, social isolation, and decreased productivity.
Social media platforms collect a lot of data about their users, including their personal information, browsing history, and location data. This data can be used to track users, target them with ads, and even manipulate their behavior.
Social Media Impact on Human Behavior
Social media today has become an integral part of our life, and we spend a lot of time on it every day; therefore, it has a lasting impact on human behaviour that can be positive or negative.
Social media can help people connect with others from all over the world.
It can help people to stay informed about current events.
Social media can help people to find support and encouragement.
Social media can help people to learn new things.
Social media can help people to be more creative. People can use social media to share their creative work, such as photos, videos, and stories.
People who spend much time on social media are more likely to experience anxiety and depression.
Social media can lead to addiction. Social media can be addictive; people can spend hours scrolling through their feeds, checking notifications, and responding to messages.
Social media is a breeding ground for misinformation. This is because it is easy for people to share false information without fact-checking it first.
Social media can make people feel isolated from the real world. This is because people can spend so much time interacting with others online that they neglect their real-world relationships.
Social Media Impact on Human Behavior
Social media has very deep roots in Indian society, and therefore it is natural that almost every one of us gets impacted by it either way or the other. The Social media impact on human behavior and society can be broadly classified into the following two categories:
Positive Impact of Social Media on Society
During the recent Covid-19 pandemic, education was one of the worst affected activities. Thanks to social media which played a vital role in providing education to millions of students through online classes who would otherwise have been deprived of it.
Academic education is provided on social media using various tools, including blogs, podcasts, e-Learning, m-learning, etc.
Interestingly the educational role of social media is not only limited to academic education but is very broad and also includes dimensions like enhancing awareness regarding various topics, including current affairs, politics, environment, etc.
Social media today plays a crucial role in connecting families, friends, and relatives living in Far Away places.
People can connect instantly by using a digital device at their disposal anytime from anywhere with an internet connection.
In addition to texting and voice calls, video calls have become a prominent way to connect.
The Negative Impact of Social Media on Society
Social media today has become the primary source for spreading fake news and misinformation. Its deep reach in Indian society makes things even worse. o This fake news can result from propaganda, Anti National or Anti Social campaigns, or mere mischief.
This fake news can result from propaganda, Anti National or Anti Social campaigns, or mere mischief.
Fake news through social media spreads like wildfire and has the potential to disturb social harmony and compromise national security as well.
As a Propaganda Tool
Powerful people, companies and institutions misuse social media to spread their propaganda to meet vested interests.
Political parties are at the forefront of using social media as a propaganda tool and setting a fake narrative to manipulate the ideology of the common man in general and the voters in particular. This manipulation leads to distortion in democratic qualities and threatens it.
Trolling and Bullying
Anything on social media goes viral in no time, which may result in the content and related individuals being subject to constant bullying and trolling practices.
Trolling is a serious issue that may cause great psychological and mental trauma to the victim, severely affecting their behaviour and daily life. In extreme cases, the victim may even commit suicide.
As a tool by Terrorists and Extremists
Terrorist organizations and extremists use social media extensively to spread hateful and violent ideologies and influence the common people.
Terrorists and non-state actors also use social media to recruit Fighters and militants for this spread of terrorism. The most infamous case is the recruitment youth from the Indian state of Kerala by ISIS (DAESH). This poses a serious threat to national security and the world order.
Along with many advantages, innumerable challenges posed by deep-rooted social media following points can help tackle such challenges.
Legal Regulatory Framework
Social media today influences almost the entire Indian society, and its challenges are also huge. Thus, there is an urgent need for a nationwide technically sound and up-to-date dedicated regulatory framework for countering the challenges of social media.
The Framework should have technical experts capable of dealing with constantly valving sophisticated challenges posed by social media on a daily basis.
The big challenge related to fake news is that its source is sometimes untraceable, which is a challenge in fixing the responsibility and punishing the culprit.
It must be the responsibility of social media platforms to curb fake news in its initial stage and find out the responsible person behind such news.
Recently the infamous case of leaking and selling personal data of Facebook users to third parties demands transparency in the operation and working of social media platforms so that it remains under vigil and users' privacy is not compromised.
It is important to not lose sight of the digital divide prevailing in India, especially in the education sector.
A policy decision in the name of protecting youth should not result in youth of underprivileged background to lose out on opportunities of the future.
Public awareness at a mass scale is urgently needed to make social media users aware of the challenges and ways to deal with them.
Such campaigns can be run on social media platforms to ensure better reach to the target audience.
Social media users should be encouraged to click only on verified and trusted links to save themselves from any mishap.
Awareness will make users responsible and, therefore, will help in fighting against social media challenges.
The government must extensively use the latest technology to neutralize the impact of social media on the individual and society.
Misinformation can be fought by providing genuine and authentic information.
Government can also use artificial intelligence to curb fake news, hate speech, and other challenges.
Governance and Regulation
Government regulation in form of greater accountability of platforms for their content, Data Localization, third party digital audits, strong Data Protection Laws etc.
Role of Social Media Platforms
Banning certain features like “auto-play” sessions, push alerts and more importantly to create products which do not target youth.
Role of Social Agencies
Parents, Educational Institutions and the society as a whole have the important role to control the correct and limit the use of social media. This can be done by using Parental control, limits to screen time, constant communication with kids, and promoting outdoor activities
A dedicated Social Media Policy
A holistic policy to regulate social media by creating accountability of social media platforms to not target youth as consumers or future consumers.
This will make the algorithms more attuned towards adults rather than youth.
Safeguards for inappropriate content
Platforms should be prohibited from recommending or amplifying certain content involving sexual, violent, or other adult material, including gambling or other dangerous, abusive, exploitative, or wholly commercial content.
Social media can be a great tool for social change, provided the associated challenges are dealt with effectively. For this, there is an urgent need to fix accountability and reasonable restrictions on the right to speech. Both these, clubbed with a sound regulatory framework and an aware social media user, will not only ensure the moderation of all associated challenges but will also unleash the full potential of social media for the betterment of individual society and the nation.
The role of media in society is a highly debated topic. There have been calls to regulate social media or ban it altogether. A ban might be an extreme step. However, a digitally literate country is the need of the hour. Responsible social media use must be taught at every school and college in the country.
The effects of digital technology on youth is important because these effects will colour their adult behaviour and the way future societies will behave.
The power of social media is it forces necessary change.