Let’s get DIGITAL

‘The digital revolution has not just arrived, it has well and truly settled in. Traditional communications channels have mutated, fragmented and diversified to create a spectrum of media experiences that give consumers unparalleled options and freedom of choice.’            – Cate Connolly, consumer insights manager, Universal McCann London 

 Digital catharsis

 A quick reality check to assess the metamorphosis of the media following the evolution of digital media

The media landscape has changed, and how…

Ever since the world went digital, the global media has shed its traditional stance to act as an infinite resource for information, leading to staggering growth of smartphones and social media consumption.

Some of the most significant changes include:

  • Coming of age of a choice based media landscape; it is now for the user to decide the media he/she wants to consume.
  • Specialisation of media – advertisers are able to target specific individuals and groups on a very wide scale.
  • Unbundling – everything is unbundled (unbundling is a neologism to describe how the digital world is affecting older institutions by breaking up the packages), whether it is downloading tracks over albums or finding links to stories instead of buying papers.
  • Consumers can choose what they do online – they can switch the media and the brands to one that matches their values.
  • Content production – since everyone is producing content, it is essential to find ways to turn ones story into viable, search engine and mobile friendly shareable content.
  • Brands can communicate directly with their audience.
  • Transforming the concept of traditional entertainment industry to make distribution limitless and highly efficient.
  • Growth of online communities, with the social media typifying this growth. Online communities are sources for revenue creation, where brands can access their audience and add value to the products.

Growth of the Fifth Estate

While the 2013 film ‘The Fifth Estate’ presented the online media, specifically the WikiLeaks website, as being ‘the fifth estate’, today it is mainly associated with bloggers and journalists using non-mainstream media outlets.

For the uninitiated, the so-called Fifth Estate is a socio-cultural reference to groupings of non-conformist viewpoints in the society; it is the collective ability to share information, to create communities and to organise social movements through online networks.

According to media observers, it is the evolution of Internet media that has shaken up traditional journalism. As is obvious, online news is currently surpassing almost every media, and, as the traditional print, and broadcast media weakens, the Fifth Estate, or the online content creation, is getting stronger.

What is interesting is the growing pool of Fifth Estate bloggers who are using a variety of social media tools, including mobile phones, to report and post their stories.

Digital Trends

 With half of the world’s population connected to the Internet, 2017 promises to continue earning tech mileage

 As Bill Gates’ said, ‘the Internet is, indeed, becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.’ Today, 50 percent of the world’s population is connected to the Internet!

According to the latest digital trends in Internet, mobile and social media usage, compiled by the creative agency ‘We Are Social’, in association with the social media help tool ‘Hootsuite’, 2017 marks a major milestone in web usage, with half of the world’s population using it; it marks a 10 percent increase in the total number of web users since last last year.

Other milestones include…

  • More than 3.75 billion people are online today.
  • Internet use is growing all over the world, with growth of eight percent year-on-year.
  • Mobile browsing currently accounts for half of the world’s web traffic; 55 percent of all active connections now comes from smartphones.
  • Conversely, laptop and desktop devices marked a 20-percent decrease in usage, dropping to 45 percent of the entire web traffic around the globe.
  • The number of social media users grew by more than 20 percent over the last 12 months – over one-third of the population is now using social media every month.
  • The United Arab Emirates is on top of the chart for Internet access, with 99 percent of its citizens surfing the web.
  • On the other extreme, North Korea is the world’s least connected country with Internet users making for less than one percent of its total population.
  • With Internet of Things (IoT) growing as an important marketing technology, there are expected to be 75 billion connected devices by 2020.

Digital media and our world today

Blame it on the spiralling growth of technology or our wanton desire for information overdose, our world will never be the same. Technology has, seemingly, changed our lives forever.

For beginners, ‘post’ is a phrase now restricted to online activities. Somewhere along the lines of Internet growth, people have stopped paying for postage to send birthday cards through traditional post. It is all about e-cards, emails or WhatsApp messages now.

With social media opening the field to share information, the traditional route has all but vanished. Communication has become the easiest, cheapest and most convenient with smartphones changing the very concept of time and space.

And, although television is still a pertinent tool in the house, it is no longer a dictator when it comes to news or entertainment programmes. Smart TVs have opened up smart options to decide what to watch, when and how… Reading books has also become less cumbersome with smartphones, tablets and e-readers giving the traditional book a backseat.

Interestingly, it has also had an impact on parenting. Children today have to understand digital etiquette and adopt it to ensure online safety.

Digital Etiquette

Digital etiquette or netiquette as it is referred to, is a basic set of rules one should follow to make the Internet better for oneself and others

 First things first…

As in real life so while online: treat people with courtesy and respect, while you are messaging, chatting or emailing. The rule of the game is to treat others, as you want to be treated. Remember, the Internet is a powerful tool when it comes to circulation of information or opinion; so be responsible in your actions.

Netiquette guidelines:

If business gurus are to be believed, cell phone etiquette is fast becoming a major issue in business, as people have forgotten the importance of etiquette when it comes to cell phone use. Follow the basic dos and don’ts while using cell phones…

  • Turn your phone ringer to vibrate/silent when you are in public areas, say a restaurant or theatre.
  • Keep your conversation private by speaking softly or moving away from others.
  • Do not have loud cell phone conversations in crowded areas or at public performances.
  • While at formal meetings or at restaurants or social occasions, answer only if it is an emergency.
  • If you are conducting business on phone, be brief and to the point.
  • Do not use earphones if you are not talking on the phone, especially during a meeting.
  • Since text messaging is also a form of phone use, be discrete if you have to text message a friend/colleague while you are with another friend/colleague.
  • Avoid checking notifications while talking with a friend or in any such situation.

Social Media Etiquette

  1. Do no post anything you would not say in real life.
  2. Plagiarizing could be an issue if you are borrowing ideas and images and not crediting it to the creator.
  3. Do not get tempted to over-share every aspect of your life. Also, avoid comments that are controversial or offensive.
  4. Before sharing any post, check the facts to avoid embarrassment. Internet is a hotpot of information; but not all of it is accurate.
  5. Use discretion when posting photographs of you and your family. Select a few instead of posting the entire album.
  6. And, most importantly, check your privacy settings to avoid unwanted attention.

While emailing…

  1. Keep it short and to the point.
    2. Use the subject line to specify the action you want the recipient to take.
  2. Check grammar and spellings. Instant messaging may have made you ignore grammar and spelling, but you cannot follow the same with emails.
    4. Check the content before you press the ‘send’ button. It is prudent to be cautious. You may be able to recall a message but you cannot undo the email sent.
    5. Be courteous – although email communication is considered informal, you need to be courteous and reply in a timely manner.

Are you digitally savvy?

You may be online all the time, but that, obviously, is no indication of your digital knowledge

 A digital savvy person…

  1. Always thinks before posting anything on a social media platform, especially twitter, as there is no delete button.
  2. Does not rush to capture every moment of life in a photograph only to post it on Instagram.
  3. Is aware that the so-called ‘private groups’ on Facebook aren’t really private and that free websites aren’t really free as they get hold of one’s email address.
  4. Knows why a particular brand or company is popping up advertisements on every page one checks, simply by tracking actions using cookies.
  5. Does not believe when Snapchat says that the messages disappear in 10 seconds.
  6. Keeps a check of the privacy settings frequently and keeps ensuring that it was not reset to the network’s default setting while upgrading the system.
  7. Understands that social media is all about making communication with another easy and convenient, not about replacing people.
  8. Knows that people can easily search one’s name online to see what or who he/she is.
  9. Is in tune with his/her digital needs and knows the importance of switching the device off when needed,
  10. Wants to tell people to be smart in their lives and give one-to-one time to their friends and family.

Take this quiz to find out if you are social media savvy

  1. The term ‘like farming’ refers to?

a. Generating Facebook likes.

b. A social media post on ‘Farming’.

c. Building an appealing Facebook page to attract likes and then using that page for something else.

d. A group that practices farming as a hobby.

  1. What does the term ‘trolling’ mean?

a. Toll free online call service.

b. A poll using social media.

c. Exchanging emails.

d. Starting a confrontational social media conversation.

  1. What is ‘social proof’?

a. Proof of product quality on social media.

b. Gaining support on social media.

c. Demonstrating popularity on social media.

d. Proving knowledge of social media.

  1. In what situation does a business implement ‘scaling’ in their social media efforts?

a. When it is short staffed.

b. When it is attempting to grow their social media presence.

c. When it needs to send a personal message to a customer.

d. When it has gone bankrupt.

5. Which of the following is the correct match of social media network-to-feature?

a. Facebook – tell a visual story.

b. YouTube – target professionals.

c. Twitter – real time communication.

d. LinkedIn – the front face of a company.

6. Which of these is a Pinterest feature?

a. A forum for bloggers.

b. Visual bookmarking.

c. Following people with similar interests.

d. Saving images to interest boards.

7. Which of these is a micro-video social network owned by Twitter?

a. Pinterest

b. Vine

c. Reddit

d. Snapchat

  1. When someone responds to and likes comments posted by one’s social media followers, what technique is he/she using?

a. Liking

b. Scarcity

c. Support

d. Reciprocity

  1. What is the job title of a person who sifts through and organises social media content?

a. Social Media Specialist

b. Designer

c. Content Curator

d. Accountant

  1. Which is a recognised technique for increasing retweets?

a. A tweet using hashtags.

b. A tweet in many languages.

c. Adding one’s name to tweets.

d. Tweeting once a month only.

The correct answers are…

1 – a (Like farming is a system of generating fake Facebook likes using bots that represent fake profiles. Businesses can pay ‘like farms’ to generate fake likes for their pages or they can purchase existing blank pages that have already been populated with large numbers of fake likes.)

2 – d (Trolling is the practice of starting a confrontational social media conversation and trying to stir the pot.)

3 – b (Social proof is evidence of social media support, which can be used to enhance the power of one’s social media presence.)

4 – b (Scaling is a process of expanding social media efforts, using multiple platforms, and then repurposing content across various networks to reach a wider audience.)

5 – c (Twitter provides near real-time communication; it can spread news like a wildfire.)

6 – b (Pinterest is a ‘visual bookmarking tool’ and is, in essence, a virtual pinboard.)

7 – b (Vine is a micro-video social network owned by Twitter, and like Twitter’s 140 character limit, it has a six second limit for video clips.)

8 – d (Social media relationships require acts of reciprocation.)

9 – c (Content curator is a new role in social media; it involves sifting through social media content and organising it into relevant subject areas.)

10 – a (Tweets with hashtags are known to receive 6 percent more attention over those without. Twitter recommends not using more than 2 per Tweet as overusing them is said to reduce the retweets.)

How many did you get right?

If you managed even five right answers, you are definitely getting there. Less then that and you can consider yourself a digital rookie.

(Quiz Source: richmedia.com)



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