Over the past few months, Twitter has become a constant companion for quite a lot of social media addicts. With its anonymous and instant format, the social media service has become a platform for users to share their views on any new development, usually eliciting a debate that raises varied points of views. Moreover, almost all media houses are using Twitter to promote their news and special shows, as a result of which their websites, perhaps, are seeing a surge in traffic.
Citing an example from the debates surrounding CWG on Twitter where the mood swung from negative to positive, K S Chakravarthy (Chax), national creative director, Draftfcb +Ulka, refers to the medium as a “drinking session by remote”. Commenting on the subject, Chax said, “Twitter is at its best a pulse. It gives you a sense of what people are thinking and how people are reacting to what is happening. Even that, you have to take with a pinch of salt. Because, by definition, Twitter has people who like to talk and shout their views. It is not a cross-section of the national audience and comprises of people following each others’ set of groups.”
On the differences between social media and Twitter, Partha Sinha, managing partner, BBH India, pointed out, “Let’s not confuse social media with Twitter. Twitter is just digital social media. The physical social media like social institutions, places of congregation, etc. had always been the primary source for people to consume news and views. In fact, the birth of gossip can be linked to consumption of news through social media. Sometimes, even news broadcast media becomes a part of this social frenzy. News and views are social media phenomenon. Digital hasn’t changed anything. It’s just facilitating the process.”
Meanwhile, Paritosh Joshi, CEO, Star CJ Network, pointed out, “Social media are being enthusiastically adopted and embraced by a young, upscale, urban audience but do not have great traction in other, much larger, tracts of the Indian audience.”
Sharing a similar point of view, Gaurav Mishra, director, digital and social media, MSLGROUP Asia, said, “Twitter and Facebook are indeed becoming an important source of news for young urban internet users in India. The presence of all the main new organizations on Twitter is testament to this trend. Even more importantly, Twitter and Facebook have become the most important medium for people to express their views on the news of the day. Often, these discussions continue on Twitter and Facebook even after the news has dropped off mainstream media.”
Noting that the consumption of social media has not yet matured in India, Kartik Iyer, director, Happy Creative Services, explained, “While there may be many people using Twitter and following people / brands, it is yet to reach the level of usage where Twitter is being used in various ways by the broadcaster and the follower. When people start interacting real time and solutions get provided because of this, is when we shall really see the real effect of Twitter in India. It is yet to happen, but I am sure we’ll get to see the rise of a whole new dimension to Twitter use, given our ability to put an Indian spin on anything!”
As more users get active on Twitter, unedited public sentiments will lead to constructive debates. One thing is certain, a section of audience has found a place to voice their opinions without any editor snipping away bits.
Partha Sinha, managing partner, BBH India
As an industry we used to ridicule the anecdotal approach of many senior clients as WMWW (what my wife watches). Today we are falling prey to the same anecdotal stuff- just because people we know are on Twitter doesn’t mean that it has become a significant conduit for consumption of news in India.
Paritosh Joshi, CEO, Star CJ Network
Social media are being enthusiastically adopted and embraced by a young, upscale, urban audience but do not have great traction in other, much larger, tracts of the Indian audience. To those who have come into the fold, social media give an intimate and incredibly personal view of the events and issues the world is dealing with. To the rest they appear to be no more than new ways of slacking off. The truth, as usual, lies somewhere in between.
Gaurav Mishra, director, digital and social media, MSLGROUP Asia
Twitter and Facebook have become the most important medium for people to express their views on the news of the day. Often, these discussions continue on Twitter and Facebook even after the news has dropped off mainstream media.
Finally, Twitter and Facebook have become an important source of news and sources for mainstream media as they provide an indication of popular public sentiment on news topics, societal trends and human interest stories.
K S Chakravarthy (Chax), NCD, Draftfcb +Ulka
Twitter is more a point-of-view forum than anything, as people express their views on the new developments. I don’t know if it will become a source of news anytime in future, but it is definitely generating debates about latest happenings.
Twitter is at its best a pulse. It gives you a sense of what people are thinking and how people are reacting to what is happening. Even that, you have to take with a pinch of salt.
Kartik Iyer, director, Happy Creative Services
Nobody can ignore the popularity of social media in India. More and more people are getting on to using social media to their advantage on a daily basis. This is obviously not just some fad or trend. If you look closely, social media has quite dramatically changed the way people behave. Be it carrying a camera wherever they go or uploading status updates the very moment something happens. So it’s not just about consuming news and information, we are talking a behavioural shift here.