The present times arguably are the times of instant communication. As incidents happen they get packaged and communicated very easily.
Gone are the days when the consumer of the printed word had to wait for the break of the dawn to get a know of the happenings around.
And it used to be always in the past tense.
But now his interest and urge in the present times gets satiated very instantly.
It’s only the occurring anywhere around and the same is speedily transported virtually.
And the best of the mediums available today are the social media platforms.
With varied amateur new groups and services available both on WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook you get across multiple accounts of the happenings around and even beyond. It doesn’t matter whether the main newspaper organizations carry the news first or not. Seldom a reader finds interest to look into such websites of the formal news organisations.
Therefore the social media sites have emerged as a visible game changer of how the content is created and disseminated.
So the contemporary ace and speed with which the news is spread is just phenomenal. The moment the news breaks the very next moment you will get a beep on your smart phone. And you are done. You are updated of the latest happenings.
And then even the laptops have lost their relevance comparatively.
Because with the smart phones you are always online while on the go. So the “news follows you and you don’t have to follow the news” as was the case earlier.
Gone are the days when we would see passengers in the public transport with a newspaper in hand. On the contrary the commuters remain glued to the screens of their smartphones to catch something new while they reach their destinations.
It’s difficult to imagine how in the past sans such communication lines how news gathering and dissemination actually was?
First a reporter gathered news by covering the event physically and then the newspaper took a long while to publish and to reach to it’s target audience and even the satellite news channels took some time to install it’s paraphernalia to get the point across to the newsroom and the news anchor to immediately prepare and to present the breaking news before the audience.
We have even heard how in the past photojournalists used to que at the airport to send their newsphotos to the head offices through some interested passenger.
But now with the aid of smart phones and social networking sites news gathering and dissemination has become instant and effortless. And it’s similar for both for the amateur and professional news gatherers.
Also while on press conferences reporters usually prefer to go live through their smartphones.
Even the concept of citizen journalism has come to the fore whereby citizens can directly report their observations live on social networking sites or can send such stuff straight to the news organisations.
These days one can find appropriate lead pictures in newspapers carried out directly and attributed to citizen journalists.
As they say governments cannot be everywhere everytime likewise newsmen cannot be omnipresent. Therefore this gulf has been filled by such interested and sensible men and women who are powered with their smartphone and know to play the role of the storytellers with relative ease.
Therefore in other words the smartphone has emerged as an instrument of empowerment for the common man. He is equipped with such a powerpacked gadget that grants him access to anything happening around himself or on a wider canvas.
Not only is he/she an instant consumer of news on his smartphone but also he/she can be the best news gatherer on the go. Providing news to others.
We have often seen amateur video clips being run on leading news channels and whole of the debate is based on that mere smartphone gatherings by any such amateur.
Equally smartphones have been the source of dissemination of unique and human interest stuff which keep on reaching us constantly. And we have become addicts to such content.
And from selective news consumers we have turned into mass consumers of news and happenings around us. We unintentionally consume varied forms of news content courtesy the smartphone.
Social media sites by virtue of smartphones have provided an enhanced platform to every user to report anything he feels is unique and has essence. It can be a simple stroll through the alleys of old city whereby the “social media handler ” will make you revist the past and cherish the culture to which you used to be physically connected.
Even a market scene on an early morning is highlighted by someone on his Facebook live post. Making you smell all the hues of the merchandise placed in the old city’s historical markets.
Similarly somebody on a trekking expedition telecats his experiences live on the fb wall in a way tempting others to make similar moves on a earliest occasion.
And there are many known social media users like MRD Kundangar who even makes you routinely have a sniff of his culinary skills on a given day thereby salivating and teasing your taste buds.
Even some thorough professionals like Dr Nasir Shamas or Peerzada Ashiq who make you appreciate their “nose” towards architectural marvels and the charm of yeteryears.
There can be many such instances of learned men who make maximum usage of social media platforms like known cultural historian Zareef Ahmed Zareef of the old city who every now and then takes us into the golden era gone by.
Hence the social media platforms have been providing a ready canvas and a required amount of space of getting yourself heard and noticed far and wide.
On the other side it has also been witnessed how pertinently the top administration has been “forced” to take notice of certain social media posts which demand cognisance and swift action on their part.
There are many instances but we may just focus on one of the recent “expose” on social media of a teacher at a coaching centre “thrashing” a student that looked very indecent and offensive.
And instantly this video clip set off a debate against corporal punishments being metted out to the young students. With the result the DM Srinagar had to take cognisance and order action against the “deviant” tutor. Even the said teacher was already “arrested” by the local police doing their bit.
And there was already social media “trial” set into motion by the netizens and gauging public anger it prompted the administration to step in and at the right time.
Notably as an amateur it only needed the content to be recorded properly and consequently it took everybody by storm.
And this may be the best example whereby we may appreciate the power of the social media in our society.
Moreover even the top administrators be it the Prime Minister himself or the LG of the UT of J&K; they all make use of their social media handles to announce important decisions and to be communicable and reachable instantly.
Even public grievances of all sorts are finding space on such platforms and equally catching eye of the administrators.
Rifat Abdullah is one such example who has emerged as a pertinent voice and an ace social media influencer. His live sessions at any hour are keenly watched by the people here which mainly pertain to their woes and petty issues faced by the general public. And if it’s Rifat Abdullah live it denotes something important. And hardly his sessions are missed by anyone.
Likewise in the past Engineer Rashid too had gained similar popularity on social media platforms by his oratorical skills. Thousands would connect when he came live on Facebook.
Therefore powered by the smart phones social media platforms have emerged as the best instruments of mass usage empowering each one of us whereby one can create his own content and equally disseminate the same instantly or can be an interested consumer on the social media sites of the content which is available to keep oneself abreast of the happenings around.
Arguably after invention of the “PEN” and being the most powerful tool the humankind has seen; we cannot deny a similar space to a Smartphone in the present times of urgency where you are what your Smartphone tells you.