The two key purposes of social media are: establishing connections and reconnecting with loved ones and impacting a larger audience for a greater cause
Social media was built with an intention to get people connected which eventually pivoted in a positive direction to help build communities.
The 5 most popular social media platforms are Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram and Facebook Messenger. We have come across a lot of stories which highlight the power of social media and the scale at which people can help via online platforms. Different communities like LGBTQ run purpose-driven campaigns which get less visibility on offline platforms. Social media has given them a voice to educate the audience and create awareness. Transgenders are not given equal opportunities, but they too have the right to live with dignity. With the help of social media, these minority communities have attained reach and visibility.
Small regional communities also have benefited greatly from the emergence of social media. Families, who have missing children or pets, resort to online means and rely on kind strangers who help spread the word on all social platforms.
Social media has the power to channelise generosity to those who need it. Fundraising events have gained a lot of traction via social media. There was an old couple based out of Delhi running a small food stall named Baba Ka Dhaba. An influencer discovered this dhaba and created a dent in the food blogging universe. Their video went viral and people gradually started visiting and helping the couple.
We have seen Linkedin make a breakthrough in employment. A lot of linkedin posts have helped people find jobs, significantly more during the pandemic. People were sharing that they got laid off at work and were giving up. Mental health issues were given special attention during this time. Social media helped many to reach out to connections that placed them in phenomenal job roles.
Apart from these profound stories, there are even small businesses that run purely on social media. This not just helps the entrepreneur but also the people who are working around their business, generating employment. Even if they are solopreneurs, there are vendors who run a massive staff for packaging, transport and delivery. These individuals are employed just because of a single innovative mind. The digital world has created a pool of opportunities for people to find jobs or run a business at any age.
You can learn any skill for no cost. Today, you don't have to pay for every course. With YouTube, the second largest search engine, you can watch videos, learn, understand & grow yourself and eventually become a pro in any field that interests you. Many influencers have grown and created 100 Crore revenue purely by doing this, some of them being CA Rachna Ranade and Vivek Bindra.
India is said to have the lowest data price and thus has the largest pool of data consumers. There were 518 million social media users in 2020. This figure is estimated to reach 1.5 billion by 2040. This high user base and data consumption help leverage both the negative and positive impacts of social media. The primary objective is to have content shared with influencers who build awareness about a purpose. How do achieve this? By narrating the entire story along with the whole picture so that users understand the severity of the matter. It is thus significant to formulate guidelines and educate people about the right use of social media. The two key purposes of social media are: establishing connections and reconnecting with loved ones and impacting a larger audience for a greater cause.
The downside is that these apps can get really addictive. Fake news catches quick momentum, fans and mindless stalkers invade others’ privacies, and infamous, endless trolls grow on topical posts. But social media platforms are helping the less privileged who need funds for operations, jobs and higher causes like blood donations and pet adoptions. Basically, whatever you want, you just have to reach out, send out a post, and reach millions. This would have been difficult to do with traditional and conventional means. Social media is indeed a blessing in disguise and we need to use the platform in the right way and leverage its benefits.
*The author is Akshae Golekar, Founder, Optiminastic Media
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