Social media made its debut in India around two decades back. People were not used to virtual mediums like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and WhatsApp. Because they revolutionized the way a common man engaged and connected with fellow human beings. Moreover, people usually interacted more in the real world by meeting in person and discussing things. They had no idea that all these things and more can be done more efficiently and faster through social media channels. And once they realized the true power and reach of social media, they just fell in love with these channels.
Initial Days of Social Media
In the late nineties, and the early part of the new millennium, it was Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat that ruled the roost all over the world. India was no exception, and soon people started liking Facebook. Indian people are an emotional lot. They love interacting and talking with their family members and friends. Facebook provided them just that. It gave them an opportunity to send friend requests and also accepting such requests from other like-minded people.
In fact, it also gave them a chance to contact those family members who had either shifted to other cities or settled in foreign countries. Before Facebook arrived on the scene, it was almost impossible for common people to contact their near and dear in far away places. Facebook changed all this through the power of its virtual reach. It ensured around the clock connectivity through its wonderful features.
You cannot only share messages, but photographs, documents, and videos. It allowed facilities like live audio and video chat. People couldn’t believe that a virtual medium can provide so much. Soon other channels too came in and people were spoiled for choice. They had this platform called Twitter where they can see tweets from well known personalities, politicians, and celebrities. Not only that, they could also like and send their replies to these tweets. Some lucky users also received replies from celebrities. You can imagine the kind of excitement that may have been created as a result of such actions.
Power of Virtual Platforms
It wasn’t as if only common people realized the power of social media. Celebrities like film actors, sportspersons, and politicians too came to understand that this is one medium they cannot live without. In social media, they had a readymade channel to reach and engage with millions of their followers. In a very short time, right from megastars to newcomers, they all joined social media. Superstars like Amitabh Bachhan to Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, and Deepika Padukone, they were all on Twitter, and Instagram.
All these celebrities knew that the best way to maintain their popularity among their fans is by regularly providing snippets from their life. For example, the moment Sara Khan posted her picture in track pants outside her gym, the post received more than three lakhs likes and comments. And when Salman khan posted a teaser from his latest flick, fans just went gaga over it making the post viral in no time. Besides, most celebrities got another avenue of income by promoting various products through their posts.
Homegrown channels Made Debut
For almost a decade and a half, popular channels like Facebook and Twitter had a free run because there was no other option available to Indian users. Most of these channels promoted the interest of western users keeping their likes and dislikes in mind, and majority of Indian users felt the need of domestic platforms. It is natural that if there is demand, there would be supply. The same happened in the case of social media channels.
Suddenly, there was a flood of homegrown channels like ShareChat, 60 Seconds, Trell, and Khabri that entirely changed the dynamics of the market. Now users have fully native channels where they can express their views freely, and also interact with other users who share their cultural sensibilities. A typical Indian social media app also provided more Indian content to users.
Indian developers further boosted this initial success of these channels to come up with innovative platforms that targeted niche audiences. So, you had channels virtually available for everyone starting from teenagers to professionals to housewives to job seekers. This was an ideal situation for those who found foreign based channels alien and craved for Indian content.