eBrandz Blog

Contrasting scenarios emerge on the social media landscape

On the one hand, more and more people are looking to access social networking platforms via mobile phones. On the other hand, a section of users is seriously thinking to opt out of sites like Facebook largely owing to privacy concerns. Here we try to make sense of the situation and gauge which way things might actually go…
There is no doubt about the fact that the current demand for a host of communication and community-based apps on mobile devices has been boosted by tech-savvy users, keen to stay in touch with their family, friends and business contacts, and also share data with them, while on the move.

In fact, Facebook’s nearly half a billion members, signifying the trend, now share a substantial chunk of videos through mobile phones. Last July, the site updated the service, letting members upload video by directly mailing a clip to it. A month later, its iPhone app was updated to let the users record as well as share video directly from their phone.

As a result, video uploads have jumped nearly twofold. Josh Wiseman, an engineering manager at the site, stated that the video views across the Web had risen owing to video-ready smartphones. He added: “Video traffic has grown over the past year as more people now upload video directly from their mobile phone.”

Users moving towards  ‘Media snacking’ 
Although videos are still far fewer than photo uploads, the site expects that mobile video segment would do even better in the near future thanks to the increasing number of people, who access popular networking and information sharing sites via mobile phones.

According to experts, the trend is driven by the power of devices like the iPhone, allowing users to access social networking sites whenever and wherever they want. They are keen to move towards ‘media snacking’, denoting instant social interaction of a rather short duration. 

A flip side to this rosy scenario
But there is a flip side to this rosy scenario, as portrayed in the recent New York Times report, sarcastically wanting to know ‘whether there is life after Facebook’. It quoted social media consultant Deanna Zandt as saying: “It’s getting harder and harder for me to say, yes it’s worth it, you giving up your privacy to get these services, and I have to put my money where my mouth is.”

Discontent with the site has spread rather fast and wide especially in the last couple of months, triggered by intense protests over its questionable privacy policy. The report refers to many users like Ms. Zandt, who now want to desert the social networking service. In fact, the visible trend even seeped into the omnipotent consciousness of Google’s algorithms. If one typed ‘how do I’ into the search engine, the prominent result was ‘how do I delete my facebook account’, the NYT pointed out.

To sum up, there are two extremely contrasting scenarios emerging on the social media landscape. It will be interesting to see which of the two possibilities becomes more distinct. What’s your take?