According to Wikipedia ‘social media’ is media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. According to search engine partner, the term social media describes media that is posed by the user and can take many different forms. Some types of social media are forums, message boards, blogs, wikis and podcarts. Social media applications include Google, Facebook and You tube. In social media, communication takes place through messages, status updates, voice chats etc. or through photos/videos sharing, games, virtual goods etc. Antony Mayfield in his e-book titled ‘What is Social Media’? has defined social media as online media, which encourages contributions and feedback from everyone who is interested, is open to feedback and participation, is a two way conversation, allows communities to form quickly and communicate effectively to share common interests and thrive on their connectedness.
The growth of social media is phenomenal. It is being used by all netizens all over the world to a great extent in all areas including business, government, fashion etc. A research conducted by the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) indicates that high take up of social media application outside formal educational settings provides new opportunities for innovation and modernisation.
With this growing trend, political leaders have also realized its importance as an effective tool to spread awareness and to reach out their voters. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama used it during the Presidential elections. Since then, social media is being highly used by a number of politicians all over the world. Myspace has more than 7400 discussion groups related to politics. According to a survey by manpower, 29% of the companies in America and 20% of companies worldwide have a social media policy.
People even update themselves through micro-blogging on every aspect of human life including the natural and human diasters. In China, Twitter became the first media in the world to break the news of the Wenzhou earthquake. Social media is being used in fashion industry as well to generate interest in a brand through publicity across online communities and websites.
India is one of the most culturally, linguistically and genetically diverse regions having more than one billion people. It is ranked third in Asia in terms of the internet users and quite a number of them are using social media. In fact, approximately 60 millions to 65 millions netizens in India open most of their time on social media/networking sites.