The Rise of Social Media

A recent ING global study reveals that 81 percent of PR professionals feel that they can no longer operate without social media while 62 percent of journalists feel that the quality of reach is higher via social media than through traditional media. The study also reveals that a large number of journalists (55 percent) feel that social media is becoming the main source of information and that the consumer’s opinion is more reliable than a statement issued by an organization. This statistic does not bode well for the future of old-style corporate PR.

But new age online retail companies such as Flipkart and Snapdeal have quickly adapted to this shift and are connecting with their stakeholders through social media. With most consumers going mobile through affordable smartphones, the next push in communication is bound to be through that medium.

With social media, companies – particularly young startups – are seeing the advantage of directly connecting with their target audiences without the help of intermediaries. We have entered an era of what I would like to call the “Twitterization” of news.

CEOs and founders are tweeting and blogging themselves and journalists are increasingly seeking out these sources to build their stories on a given company. Perhaps due to this trend, Twitter is now looking at expanding its maximum post length to 10,000 characters. The latest buzz is about Free Basics, a Facebook initiative that places the Internet within the reach of more people by giving them access to a range of free information services spanning news, maternal health, travel, local jobs, sports, and local government. But with a debate raging over whether this could compromise net neutrality, we have to wait and see if this proposal will pan out.