IF Facebook - social media 1.0 - was about connecting with friends and family, new social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram - social media 2.0 - attracted content creators, influencers and followers. Now the social network is moving to version 3.0, with platforms such as TikTok and a recent addition to the platter, Bigo Live. TikTok says it is not an ordinary short-form video-sharing application. Its content comes "from the gut" and "come, as you are" storytelling narrated in 15 seconds. Livestreaming app Bigo Live lets you "broadcast your life, gain many fans, receive gifts, earn money and be an idol easily". Facebook too has added Facebook Live and Instagram IGTV.
The phenomenon caught on as influencers shot to fame. Everyone signing up on such apps becomes a content creator. "These platforms have democratised the process of content creation and empowered individuals to create content that can travel really fast," says Karthik Nagarajan, Chief Content Officer at media agency network Wavemaker.
The sudden rush to be seen and heard by others has led to the aspiration of creating content. "People are developing content to earn social capital and create a personal brand so that they could move up the social ladder or be a part of the group," says Siddharth Deshmukh, Adjunct Faculty and Senior Advisor at MICA (formerly, Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad).
The reason is in science. Social scientists argue that the society has moved from collectivism to an era of individualism post industrialisation. With this shift, family and friends have failed to provide support and security. The mindset has moved from 'what is best for family' to 'what is best for me', leading to a sense of narcissism. The social media intensifies it as it offers a platform to exhibit your best self in the form of images or videos. Right or wrong, people seek validation for what they post on social-networking sites.
Nagarajan argues that this trend started right from the moment social media platforms came into being. "Whatever you post on social media is about personal branding," he says. What has changed, however, is how it is building professional capital. Users have figured out how to make the most of such platforms. While some are still goofing around, others have managed to monetise their personal branding into professional success.
There was a time when social media was synonymous with Facebook and Twitter. Not anymore. White House kept both companies out of the social media summit it organised earlier this month. US President Donald Trump, however, said there would be a big meeting of companies where they would be invited.
Does the tax department snoop on social media profiles to check if individuals are evading taxes? Central Board of Direct Taxes Chairman Pramod Chandra Mody calls it a "misconception". He says they already have their own data analytics team and other sources to obtain authentic information. According to him, the tax department is working on a software that will enable it to text a certain set of taxpayers to remind them of their high value transactions so that they pay taxes on time.
Instagram has introduced a new Artificial Intelligence feature that warns users if they are about to post an offensive comment. They are also testing a feature that will enable users to hide mean comments on their posts and at the same time mute users - without notifying them - who posted such comments. This is one of the many initiatives that Adam Mosseri, head of Facebook-owned Instagram, has taken to protect users from online bullying.