Category Archives: Thoughts

A Star is Born: Social Media drives Reality TV


Unscripted TV shows or what we know as reality TV came into prominence about two decades ago. Think American Idol and Survivor. Closer home, we have our own Roadies and Bigg Boss which have taken Indian television by storm.

Truth be told, social media is a lot like reality television.

Thanks to video-centric and live streaming apps such as Facebook Live, Periscope, and Vine videos, there are zillions of people in the social media universe both creating and consuming content that is very similar to what one gets to see on reality TV. The audience have turned into producers and now get to decide on: what will we watch, how will we watch and on what device will we watch.

Take the case of YouTube stardom, a new phenomenon in India.

According to Convergence Catalyst, a tech research firm, the active internet user base in India nearly trebled from 120 million in 2012 to 343 million in 2015. Meanwhile, the number of smartphones rose from 42 million to 240 million even as prices of the cheapest smartphones dipped from Rs 4,950 to Rs 2,970.

In India, every month some 20,000 active YouTube channels upload 3.8 lakh videos, get 9.48 billion views and attract 1.1 crore new subscribers. The average Indian viewer spent 475 minutes watching 79 videos a month in 2015. This surge is reshaping content and viewership and creating an alternate universe of stars and fans.

With the rise in this kind of unscripted entertainment being available on various social platforms, the line between reality TV and social media is getting hazier. Little wonder that reality TV stars and home-grown social media celebs have an impressive fan following that can topple established movie stars or musicians.

Remember Gautam Gulati, the much hated contestant on Season 8 of Bigg Boss? Even after being ostracized within the house by all the contestants, he was one of the most fascinating characters in the world of social media. He was was trending on Twitter and Facebook every day when the series was on. He set many records on Twitter and one of the popular hashtags,  #GautamGulatiFever trended for more than 20 hours breaking all the previous records of past season contestants, #GautamGulatiRules and #WeAreWithGautam became the no. 1 trending topic in India and also trended worldwide. Overnight he had turned into a brand thanks to his loyal following on social media. The audience was connecting strongly with him and that connect changed his fortunes. He won the show!

Another contestant, Prince Narula became a youth icon and won the show in the next year. Again, social media with its love for unscripted entertainment had come to his rescue.
As we continue to produce and share, the difference between traditional entertainment and personal social networking will become less pronounced. There will be less focus on form and audiences will be geared towards whether the content is authentic and entertaining.

With social media driving reality TV, we will see newer talent using social media to connect with fans and build a fan following. In future, anyone with an internet connection will have the power to create and become a star. These virtual world stars will cut across class and geographies to create their own fan base and rewrite the rules of entertainment.

Our blog at Digiqom closely tracks news and developments in the world of social media. Keep reading and write in to us with your comments!

Picture Courtesy: youtootech


Picture1There has been a lot of chirping on media around guaranteeing trending campaigns on twitter to large corporates. Digital agencies approach corporates to run a twitter campaign guaranteeing them X number of tweets and corresponding traction via trending hashtags. The marketing heads in such corporates get lured by the outreach guaranteed by such agencies and splash big bucks to get the digital space flooded with their campaign. But, does a trending hashtag deliver results for the brand?

The effectiveness of such campaigns is a big question! IMHO (In my humble opinion), such usiness models don’t work, either for the brands or the agencies, as they miss the critical social networking part in their hunger for social media attention. Social media enables potential and current users to have a conversation with a brand. If that fact gets overlooked in the rush to get social media influencers to engage and get the campaign trending, then the key element of connecting with the target demographics becomes a missed opportunity. Digital marketing campaigns with rich creative content, aimed at triggering a proclivity to buy the product, service or point of view or at least add on to the brand’s recall, needs to be aimed at the right audience.

The return on investment for the corporates then goes beyond the engagement numbers and over to the demographics and the quality of the engagement, as the story or narrative that got built around the trend.
Agencies that exist solely to create trends are exploiting not just the ill informed corporates but also twitter as a social platform. Though twitter is aware of such exploitation and has the necessary rules in place.
Twitter specifically states that the following behaviour could cause your account to be filtered from search or even suspended:

  • Adding one or more topics/hashtags to an unrelated Tweet in an attempt to gain attention in search
  • Repeatedly tweeting the same topic/hashtag without adding value to the conversation in an attempt to get the topic trending or trending higher.
  • Tweeting about each trend in order to drive traffic to your profile or website, especially when mixed with advertising.
  • Listing trends in combination with a request to be followed.
  • Tweeting about a trend and posting a misleading link to something unrelated.
    The effectiveness of such rules on twitter and the validation of such claims is always a grey area, similar to the trending campaigns orchestrated by such agencies.

I, as an informed trainee learning the business of building brands through conversations on social media, tfeel that just minting money from large corporates for a quantitative result is not a sustainable brand strategy. Rather, the approach for a long term association with brands is to propose campaigns to narrow the gap between the brand and its stakeholders, brand consulting to achieve competitive advantage over other players in the industry and to improve brand perception amongst the target audience specifically on instant engagement platforms, like twitter and beyond.

Nishant Bindraban

Five Ways to Beat Digital Overload!

imageFive years ago, I was complaining about having too much to read. Magazines, newsletters, journals, books for my research and my own pick of fiction for relaxation. My flat was overflowing with books and bookstores had become restricted zones. Then, there was television and my fix of crime serials that I had to watch every day. Continue reading

Everything you wanted to know about Hashtags… but didn’t know who to ask

hashtags on Social MediaIf you’re on Social Media today, you would be familiar with the term ‘Hashtags’ or ‘#’. What is with these hashtags that make them so popular? Where and how can we use hashtags? Here are the answers to some of your questions. Continue reading

Twitter tweaking character limit: #Above140 and What it may mean

twitter-10KWith Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey back at the helm as CEO, after Dick Costolo’s controversial exit in June 2015, bold shake-ups were expected at the micro-blogging website. Faced with the challenge of stagnating growth, and infiltrating into new user groups, Twitter has been tweaking its character limit as observed in multiple instances. Continue reading