While discussing possible collaboration and association with representatives from a University from UK today, I was speaking on the peculiarity of the media universe in India. This was also a subject for which I was invited to speak on in a conference in Sweden. A majority of the Indian population has very quickly adopted the transmedial nature of content creation and distribution. We are reorienting ourselves to an environment of transmedial communication, which is redefining our cultural contexts to an extent that we are reinventing the way we communicate with each other.
I can cite a latest example - my driver. To avoid reaching a meeting or a conference stressed out by driving in heavy Mumbai traffic, I decided to employ a driver. At 30 years of age, he is a representative of India's majority population. This month he purchased a 7 inch mobile phone and showing it off to me, he remarked, "Now I too can make and send video messages." Within days, he has mastered the phone, and now he prefers to send me a message on WhatsApp rather than call me. He uses smileys, pictures, forwards videos and images, he also sent me photographs of a minor accident he witnessed, and told me how he saved my car from damage. Now he has asked me to include him as his Facebook friend. I said he would have to add me which I am sure he will.
The point is, he prefers to communicate more by pictures, graphs and videos, rather than typing messages, which he hates. In India, we have evolved our communication from oral - aural to written and printed, and back to oral - aural. This has caused disruption in our media universe, not just because of the evolution, but because suddenly, there are so many producers of content rather than consumers.
The effects of this evolution are terrifying and fascinating at the same time. I have written before too, but humans have not yet begun to understand media, and we are already faced with two of its very disruptive forms - the Internet and the mobile phones.
Creators of content, as well as managers in media, will have to deal with this phenomenon. They have to remember that 'the public' is no more consisting of passive users, but that of active producers of media. They understand the medium, and also know how to create content. Taking the audiences for granted will be self defeating and probably suicidal.
We need to look at all careers in media in this context. We also need to look at management education in media in this context.
I had explored this subject in a talk I gave in a recently concluded conference organized by the Bombay Psychological Association. But more about that in another post.