SOCIAL MEDIA: Digital highs

Anjali Jhangiani
Sunday, 29 December 2019

Social media has got bigger and better this decade resulting in changing the ways of the world.

Social media has got bigger and better this decade resulting in changing the ways of the world. From generating jobs to revolutionising the way people communicate, or rather lead their lives, mining and exploiting personal data to creating a whole new set of mental health disorders, social media has become something you can’t do with or without anymore. Here’s looking at some of the biggest ways it has changed our lives:

According to a report by Risk Based Security, an information security and vulnerability intelligence company, there was a 33.3 per cent rise in data breaches during the first nine months of 2019 than last year. “Your credit card and banking information, passport details, contact information, passwords for various accounts, and even content on your cloud is not as safe as you think it should be. This year, Facebook has repeatedly been careless with user information, leaving it on uprotected servers. In March, they were pulled up for poor password storage management, and now that the company has also acquired Instagram and WhatsApp, the protection of your information on these apps can be flimsy too,” says Shantanu Das, a city-based techie. 

With dwindling attention spans, millennial and GenZ social media users are now using stories as their newsfeed. Snapchat launched the concept of stories in 2013 as ephemeral content that can be viewed only for 24 hours before it disappears. In 2016, Instagram introduced this feature and the following year it was adopted by Facebook as well. 

“Numbers say that stories get double the engagement with users than a post. Using stickers on stories, or adding an activity like a poll can get you more engagement,” says Aditi Shah, social media manager at a PR firm. The average time spent on apps that use stories has doubled after the launch of this feature. The digital world is gradually moving away from text and towards photos and videos. 

According to Baidu, a Chinese multi-national technology company, at least 50 per cent of searches by 2020 are going to be through images or speech. “This is why you see a platform like TikTok booming with content and activity by people from all spheres of society. The platforms are also giving way to social ecommerce — where influencers collaborate with brands to endorse products on social media,” she adds. 

Playing a digital game on your own is so 2008. In 2018, all of India was obsessed with PUBG, an online multi-player battle royale game developed and published by PUBG Corporation, a subsidiary of South Korean video game company Bluehole. “The availability of 4G made the game a hit in India. Since small towns and villages also have good internet nowadays, you can connect with players from every corner of India in a game. You can play with your Facebook friends and see when they are online to send them a request to join you,” says Umang Vohra, PUBG player, adding, “I got hooked onto the game this year. My friends and I take out time to play at least one game a day. It’s all-for-one, one-for-all kind of game. I have even made new friends just through PUBG,” he says. 

There have been over 20,00,00,000 downloads in India so far, and the numbers are on the rise.

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