Digital Age – A Paradigm Shift

Taking forward the analogy of the “Plato’s Allegory of the Cave” which deals with humans making sense from forms and shadows to decipher information. More often it leads to mistaking appearance for reality. As the theory suggests more often then not we fall to the mirage rather then the real object. For many, a few years back the whole digitalization of the modern economy with the introduction of social networking sites and e-commerce was a facade similar to the prisoners of Plato’s allegory. However, the tables have turned absolutely upside down. Today you are not recognized by the number of people who know you but by the number of hits, likes or shares that you have on your personal social networking handle. The benchmark of success has changed so rapidly and abruptly that to keep pace is a daunting challenge that modern organizations face.

Gone are the days of singular communication media and that quintessential 8-9 pm prime time which people used to wait for their entire day. Today each and every second in the day is magnanimous. The news spreads like wild jungle fire from one corner of the world to the other within no time. In today’s world the word “news” in itself has changed. A decade ago the biggest news ranged from premiers of different countries meeting each other or a UNO summit pertaining to nuclear warfare. Today the biggest debates range from the “colour of the dress” to the unique dance moves of “Gangnam style”. The sole purpose of clicking photos and making videos these days is to put it on social networking websites to garner praise and as much likes as possible. 

On the corporate level the companies need to make very smart and robust use of all these social media tools to get their products through at a faster pace. Digital age promises more exposure, more virality, extended market development and greater penetration. However, it comes with a series of intrinsic caveats. Its an open platform which makes people write anything they want, the product has greater scrutiny and the perception is usually formed by feedback and comments from anonymous readers. No matter what the critics say, the digital age is here and boy it is here to stay for the longest time imaginable. With Virtual reality making strong inroads it won’t be long when people to people connection will have a whole new set of dynamics that no one could have imagined a few years back. 

For the Corporates the need of the hour is to engage and enable their employees to make smart and prudent use of the digital mediums at hand. Since its all about the battle for the “top of the mind”. Though special attention needs to be given when designing social media marketing campaigns as it has a complete set of unique idiosyncrasies which significantly differ from conventional advertising or marketing. It won’t be long when in Pakistan, all big MNC’s, SME’s or even our very own Mom and Pop stores will have a separate team of social media managers managing their day to day online activities.

The critics this time might turn out to be Plato’s prisoners in considering this as a bandwagon effect; though time will prove that the whole business war will be fought online now.

Shahrukh N.

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