The upside and downside of social media: Twitter, YouTube and R Sardesai


A report by Huffington Post earlier this year, revealed that if Facebook was a country then would be the most populated country in the world having 1.39 billion people logging in every month to find out the latest piece of information in their news feed. Such is the power owned by the social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and others today.

Not only have these platforms  provided an opportunity for the masses to be constantly connected with their surroundings but also these are known to serve the purpose of reflecting democratized opinions and finding out what topic around the world most concerns the people living in it.

Interestingly, the advantages of social media do not come without some disadvantages of their own. With no-filter to weed out the inappropriate and spammed content on social media domains, any particular incident or news can be easily manipulated to create havoc in the lives of ordinary citizens. So can we find a balanced use of the social media in the media and entertainment industry was the subject of an insightful panel discussion at the 4th edition of the CII Big Picture Summit 2015.

The panel was chaired by Satya Raghvan, Head, Youtube India, Viran Jani, Head-TV Partnership, Twitter, Rajdeep Sardesai, Consulting Editor, India Today Group and moderated by Suhel Seth, Managing Partner, Counselage India and Founder, Equus.

Rajdeep Sardesai started the session by delivering an address on the predicament of social media today. He established that instead of going out and finding the real news items to debate and highlight, a large number of media organizations look for the topics trending on social media platforms and then cover them in form of news as they are a reflection of what the society is speaking about.

He said, “What’s interesting is how one perceives social media? As it has over all the years established itself both as a challenge as well as an opportunity.”

With no filer in place, anyone with a few social media followers can create a negative propaganda about any issue or brand and can also influence others buyers in the process. Case in point, in late 2014 a war between Amul and an angry consumer Neha Tomar broke out on the social media where the latter posted updates questioning the quality of Amul Milk. The campaign went viral on the web with multiple shares and significantly impacted the sales of the product.  Consequently, Amul took to social media too to prove how it had always maintained quality standards consistently.

Speaking about how such negative and baseless hateful content can be removed from social media Viran Jani said, “Communicating fearlessly is the crux of the overall ethos of Twitter and this is how we have always wanted to position it. However, we do realize that with power in the hands of only consumers there are times when manipulation by a few will come into play and thus we are working towards addressing the issues of abuse.”

Highlighting the same point, Satya Raghvan said, “Because the content created on social media platforms like YouTube is in such large quantity that it is impossible to police it. Yes, there are negative implications too however one simply cannot overlook the positive stories that are created through it. One has to work towards creating a fine balance between the two and that will only happen when stakeholders sit together and take steps in partnership.”

Interestingly, the nucleus of Raghvan’s address can be directly related with brands like Nestle which has innovatively engaged its consumers in a damage control act after having its premier product Maggi banned from the Indian market due to excess  of hazardous lead chemical was found in it. The brand has created a positive nostalgia campaign on social media which has often trended on twitter and facebook due to the massive positive response received by audiences.

Suhel Seth highlighted that for most brands social media has become an indispensable part of their marketing strategy but they are not truly optimizing its potential and merely tick boxing it on their marketing plans.

Viran Jani added to the same by saying, “Brands and everyone else who wants to use the social media to their advantage need to adopt a 360* approach to it which goes beyond a facebook page and twitter handle.” He added brands today need to leverage all platforms on social media by creating an innovative marketing mix through using different platforms available on social media to position its brands into the minds of its target consumers.


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