The Burgeoning Use of Social Media Across the Globe – Is It A Boon or Curse?

Social media is the buzzword of the current century, thanks to the widespread availability of mobile devices across the globe. While you are away from your dear ones, this medium keeps you connected with all. In the older days, you had to rely on landline phones or trunk calls to communicate with others in a different location. Capitalizing over the erstwhile times, these online platforms have made it merely a matter of few seconds to contact with others nowadays. Additionally, its use in the business world has also witnessed a sea drift, owing to its extensive reach. Amid such religious use of this instant communication mode, it is important to keep checking if we are not getting too much dependent on it.

The growing popularity

Since around a decade, social media has been an inseparable necessity of the people worldwide. While the outbreak of internet created a global revolution in the business world, this communication mode was equally effective in alluring the commoners. Moreover, with the growing popularity of smartphone and mobile devices, the trend of being pro-active over various platforms has gained an unprecedented hike. Users prefer getting hooked up over Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, LinkedIn, Twitter and many other websites/apps for personal or professional use.

Here are a few stats from smart insights, an online magazine (till Jan 2016) to give you an idea of the growing dominance of this digital communication platform in our daily lives.

  1. Total global population: 7.395 Billion
  2. Total Internet users: 3.419 Billion; 46% of global population
  3. Active social media users: 2.307 Billion; 31% of world population
  4. Unique Mobile users: 3.790 Billion; 51% of total world population
  5. Active mobile social users: 1.968 Billion; 27% of global population

This data is good enough to describe the penetration of internet, and more specifically, social media in our life. Hence, here it is worthwhile to think whether this much dependence is normal or we are slowly heading toward its addiction.

Good for entrepreneurs

Interestingly, this communication mode has proved to be a boon for business and marketing people as well, which is obvious by the fact that social networks have raked in a whopping $8.3 billion through advertising, alone in 2015. Moreover, nearly 80% of the Fortune 500 companies use Twitter to connect with their clients and potential customers. However, the question prevails – Is this platform is going through a global abuse, especially by the commoners?

Extensive use

As per another survey report, 1 million new users become active over mobile social media, which means 12 new users per second. Moreover, talking about Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp, both the platforms handle approximately 60 billion messages per day. Its use is more than 50% in almost all the age groups, be it 18-29 (83%), 30-49 (77%) or 50-64(52%), baring 65+, which is 32%. Likewise, while 62% males are pro-active over this online interaction mode, the percentage of females is even more, i.e., 71%.

Hazards of social media addiction

But natural, it is easier to get inclined toward destructive work instead of constructive activities amid such huge penetration. Consequently, we discuss every small thing over these platforms, be it Trump vs. Hillary, currency ban issue, or any other burning topic. Healthy discussion is fine, but the problem occurs when people go overboard and start posting hate messages, which is a major setback to this otherwise beneficial communication mode. Here are some of the other drawbacks of the overuse of social media.

  • Social insecurity: Wandering if you also possess the same level of luxury and affluence as others do, which creates anxiety, and often, mental health problems.
  • Cyberbullying: You can be the victim of online crimes.
  • Social anxiety: You develop the fear of real human interaction, and prefer to hide behind your screen
  • Distraction: It decreases your work productivity appreciably.
  • Stress: Persistently switching from your work to Facebook, Twitter, etc. and vice versa could cause fatigue
  • Emotional hiccups: Confiding on social media to eschew your real life problems could only lead to negativity and pressure.

To sum up, indeed the use of social media is increasing at an uncontrolled pace, which is a serious matter of discussion. It is profitable for business and marketing people who have a fixed goal to achieve through these platforms. However, for individuals, who are lurking for emotional support on these platforms or just killing their time, they are simply making their life miserable, and really need to get out of this addiction, before it gets too late.

Tips to Avoid Mistakes on Social Networking Sites

Social media can benefit us personally as well as professional by following the right approach. However, in case of inappropriate usage, the social media can adversely affect one’s name, company name, etc. and bring disgrace in the eyes of society and community.

Tips to avoid the following 5 mistakes on social media sites:

1. Appearance of private message in public:

While posting a message or an update, it is essential to check the privacy settings. In case of making a quick update, people tend to make the mistake of not changing the settings to the private audience. As a result, the message becomes public and also goes to the wrong audience. Hence, people should take utmost care while replying private message to the concerned person. It is advisable to use “@” sign in order to refer to the concerned person.

2. Critics always exist:

The more a person becomes popular, the more number of haters start emerging as well. There are people who unnecessary reply and bully on your tags, updates, posts, etc… It is advisable to block, delete or stop responding to such people on social media sites. Such people try their best to spoil the image personally as well as professionally.

3. Keep personal as well as professional profiles separate:

People often make a mistake by promoting their business via personal account. This gives an inappropriate message to the receiver. A separate professional profile would give a proper message and image of the person as well as company to the target base. People tend to get confused with the social networking sites. For example: People use LinkedIn; the professional network for making friends or friendly updates while Facebook which is a social network of friends is often confused by making job related posts. This evokes a funny situation amongst the readers. Hence it is essential to use these mediums clearly and intelligently.

4. Create two sided communication:

An update will only make sense if and only if the targeted people respond back. An update should evoke to respond back. This opens doors to further communication and feedback.

5. Regular posting:

There are companies that post updates once in a blue moon and disappear for years. The page appears to be a ghost town in such a case. In order to keep the people engaged in your page, it is very essential to regularly make relevant updates or posts.

Thus, people should avoid these mistakes while using social media sites.

The State of VoLTE in India

VoLTE might sound like technical gibberish to most people but this acronym may very well be the future of mobile voice communication. VoLTE will allow phone operators to streamline their data and voice infrastructure, making it more efficient. But what exactly is it?

Consumers may not realize it but 4G was designed solely to carry data which means that even users who are on 4G networks still rely on 2G/3G to make phone calls. Voice over LTE or VoLTE is a technology that allows voice to be carried over 4G networks.

Why VoLTE Now?

But more than technology is at work here. There are other reasons why operators want VoLTE and that is the proliferation of VoIP calling through apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook messenger. These apps have already reduced SMS revenues for operators and with the increasing coverage of 4G networks, they may become a formidable threat to voice revenues in the future. VoLTE will allow operators to offer HD quality voice calls that can prevent users from switching over to other applications.

VoLTE Status in India

However even as this technology promises to help beleaguered mobile operators across the world, its wide rollout is still very far in the future especially in India where 4G networks are only now taking off. For VoLTE to become viable, a number of factors have to come together. Consumers need access to VoLTE-enabled smartphones and operators need wide 4G networks across the country to ensure that there are no dropped calls when users are on the move.

Currently only a very few operators like Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance offer 4G networks in the first place. Additionally, VoLTE requires spectrum in the 2,300MHz band which only Airtel, Aircel and newcomer Reliance Jio have at present. Even though Bharti Airtel offers 4G network access throughout most of India, it can offer VoLTE in only nine circles out of the total 22 in the country. On the other hand Reliance Jio has a pan India license for VoLTE but has to build out its other infrastructure since it has only getting started.

The presence and availability of VoLTE capable networks is just one part of the equation. Not many users in India have VoLTE-enabled phones to utilize the service. VoLTE smartphones can be quite expensive for a price-sensitive market like India, although a number of manufacturers have announced plans to bring lower-cost devices with the required VoLTE circuitry. It remains to be seen if carriers can seamlessly deploy VoLTE and retain customers or they will continue to lose the battle with OTT VoIP/messenger apps.