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The Impact of Social Media on Emerging Markets

The Impact of Social Media on Emerging Markets

I have been asked recently about the impact of Social Media in emerging markets.  Here is a discussion of Social Media and my thoughts:

Social media is online content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. At its most basic sense, social media is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content. It is a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologues (one to many) into dialogues (many to many) and is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers. Social media has become extremely popular because it allows people to connect in the online world to form relationships for personal, political and business use. Businesses also refer to social media as user-generated content or consumer-generated media.

Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures and video. Technologies include: blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, crowdsourcing, and voice over IP, to name a few.  It has become apparent to that the Internet is an inherently social medium. That will not change as people will always want to engage with one another online, and social media will be there in one form or another to accommodate this need.

Now, more than 75 percent of all Americans are participating in some form of social media through blogs, forums and Websites like Facebook, Linkedin, MySpace and Twitter. As this chorus of conversations and the proliferation of technologies that enable participation in social media grow, companies must make sense of the new channel for consumer interaction.

The growth of social media is already having a tremendous impact on business throughout the world.  Social media is changing the rules of the marketplace, just like the Internet did a decade ago. It is still early of course and no one — not even the experts – knows what the total impact it will have on the marketplace. But it is clear that times are changing again, and those that do not embrace social media will go the way of print media.

There is a recent article that makes it evident that the Internet and Social Media will change the world, particularly in emerging markets.  The U.K.-based research agency TNS has found that Internet use now tops TV, radio and newspapers — but emerging markets use the Net more than in developed nations. Users in emerging markets also engage in more social networking, while users in developing nations spend more time on e-mail.

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