New media, new challenges

Written in response to a question on the communication dynamics and how marketers and communications professionals need to evolve with their consumers:

Every era is defined by the medium which captures the imagination of the masses. In the 50ā€™s when it was said that that television would carry live visuals and sound of an event happening miles away from its actual location, there was disbelief and then eventual acceptance. Today TV defines the information priority of the masses.

With this perspective, I submit that internet as a mode of information exchange is relatively young with an evolving history. We have not even seen the tip of the iceberg yet.

What we need to understand as communicators and businesses is that the notion of control on our messages has been a long misplaced one. Control was a subset of the limitation posed by the mediums. This is the single factor, in my opinion which has changed relationship between media owners, producers and consumers.

Media no longer involves astronomical costs which led to centralized one-to-many dissemination of messages and content. Today, anyone with a computer and an internet connection has the potential of being a key media influencer and a mass media agenda-setter themselves. Case in point would be Gawker media properties, Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Drudge Report which were essentially heralded by a one man media army and now are valued anywhere between $100 ā€“ 300 million each.

There is an unprecedented information overload and access causing the maelstrom of chaos experienced today. But, this is largely due to a lack of efficient filter mechanisms and guidelines which allow a user to discover information most relevant and useful to him or her.

As social media practitioners advocating and sharing information on behalf of corporates the challenge is to make the most relevant piece of data, from the point of view of the client and the user, easily accessible. Also, internet communication operates in a message loop functioning in a community environment (many-to-many) rather than a linear message flow. This would involve high level of commitment from the practitioner as well as the institution looking to harness the potential of social media.

There are many a roadblocks in utilizing this medium which range from actual perception change potential, messaging responsibility, sound execution and lastly concrete deliverables. As technology evolves, these barriers will diminish and we will need to understand how to best deal with this new reality.

This is a chronicle of my experiments with social media, web 2.0 and digital communications which details industry updates and analysis from India and around the world

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