SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES/ SOCIAL MEDIA
SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES/ SOCIAL MEDIA
Social Networking sites/ Social Media is broadly defined as, web-based services that allow individuals to:
- construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system,
- articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and
- view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. (The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site.)
“It is a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.”
Social media differentiates from traditional/industrial media in many aspects such as quality, reach, frequency, usability, immediacy and permanence.
Social Media is broadly categorized into six different types:
- Collaborative projects (for example, Wikipedia),
- blogs and microblogs (for example, Twitter),
- content communities (for example, YouTube and DailyMotion),
- social networking sites (for example, Facebook),
- Virtual game worlds (e.g., World of Warcraft), and
- Virtual social worlds (e.g. Second Life).
However, the boundaries between the different types of platforms have been increasingly blurred as most of the platforms evolved as a combination of various activities like, Twitter, which is a micro blogging site, is also a combination of broadcasting service and social network, is better to be classified as a “social broadcasting technology.”
POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA:
- All in one Information and Communications technology: Social media as a technology combines every previous tool of communication known to man. The content on it ranges from news, opinions, messages, calls-to-action, individual expressions and entertainment.
- Social media gives opportunities of expression to people who would otherwise not speak or wouldn’t be heard. For many, mainstream media may still be the source of information consumption but social media is likely to be a platform for expression.
- Social media’s characteristics, as outlined above, especially its increasing integration with mainstream media allow it to have a multiplying effect on occasions like the August 2011 agitation and the Delhi gang rape incident in December 2012.
- In today’s context, while social media relies on mainstream media for scale, mainstream media seeks content and bytes from social media. These two feed off and reinforce each other in a cycle.
CHARACTERISTICS OF SOCIAL MEDIA:
There are a number of important characteristics that set social media apart from any other sort of traditional media or online content:
User generated content – In Social Media, citizens are all participants, authors and content creators. Even commenting on a blog or replying to someone publicly becomes content. This is what is known as Web 2.0.
Conversation – Anything anyone posts via social media has the potential to start a conversation. And with technologies such as Twitter, one can be part of this ever-evolving 24/7 conversation, with the ability to jump in and out whenever one feels like. As in real life, in social media also it is the participant who shapes the conversation.
Build and maintain relationships – Through social media one can keep in touch with existing friends, and even find new friends based on shared interests. From a business perspective, this includes current and potential clients.
Communication – Social Media has become an important tool of communication with people via email, text messaging, or through our Facebook or Twitter accounts.
Information sharing – It is an important information sharing tool which can be accessed and commented upon by people in real-time. Therefore social media information sharing has vast reach and impact affecting larger populace in small time.
- Due to its characteristics, its constituents, its contents and its evolving power, Social Media cannot be controlled, censored or shut down. This has been the experience of governments around the world.
- Social media has to be understood and adopted. The amplitude, chaos and occasional inaccuracy of social media content are best countered by systematic flows of facts on the same medium.
- Social media is perceived to be about people power. Therefore, role of Social Networking sites in internal security challenges is more about a responsible role to be played by the netizens of the Country in general and Govt Social Networking sites in specific.
- The government can look at understanding and adopting this as an additional, yet unique media tool. It can be used for the purposes of outreach, engagement and provision of better citizen services. Furthermore, if the government does not tell its own, authentic story on social media, someone else will.
Therefore Government should use social media to disseminate positive, real stories, to engage with the people during crisis situation and to demystify rumours about any unfortunate event.
At the same time it is the responsibility of Netizens to use social networking sites for constructive benefits of the nation, towards ensuring sovereignty, integrity and unity of the Nation, harmony among various groups and communities and contravening any internal security challenges.
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