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Social media is a much-needed alternative to mainline media, say experts

17-February-2014
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Social media is a much-needed alternative to mainline media, say experts

Social media is increasingly gaining importance as a powerful tool in bringing about change in politics and also being a torchbearer with massive primary and secondary reach.

Suchitra Iyer, Editor, Society Magazine said, “Social media has been quite a challenge for us, especially when it comes to the coverage of celebrities, because they are now in direct touch with the audience through their Facebook and Twitter profiles. At the same time, it has become very exciting, because our role towards the reader has extended to finding something more than what the celebrity has already posted.”

She added, “We accept that social media is a challenge, but instead of bowing down to it, we understand the need for reinvention. We are using the medium to our advantage by keeping our readers continually engaged in new ways. We keep uploading snippets from our stories, like a teaser, to our social media platforms and our website which encourages readers to pick up the magazine and find out more. So, it works both ways for us.”

Addressing the topic from a political angle, Harshil Karia, Co-Founder & Online Strategist, FoxyMoron said, “Any political party that wants to be successful on social media has to be driven by a mixed strategy. They should come for specialised services to the agency, but the core message should be their own internal philosophy.”

From the point of view of the consumers, Karia added, “Forty per cent of Google searches come from mobile. Mobile is especially playing a key role in the social media phenomenon. One of the biggest strengths of mobile is that it allows an individual to take action instantly. However, one of the biggest problems faced by social media is that the message is often lost in translation as the medium is primarily English led. Also, the discussion easily loses focus and digresses to abuse.”

Meanwhile, S Swaminathan, CEO, IRIS Business Services affirmed that print will not die, but will transform. He added, “Traditional media no longer has credibility, as there is always some bias in opinions. Social media provides the consumer with a much needed alternative.”

The speakers were part of a panel discussion on ‘Netagiri & worrisome issues: Can social media influence change?’ at IMC’s Fusion 2014, held in Mumbai on February 15, 2014. The theme of the conference was ‘Tomorrow’s trends for today’s youth’ and covered entertainment, sports and media. The panel discussion was moderated by Kabir Bedi and Bharathi Pradhan.

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