The New Media Revolution

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The emergence of new media has led to positive ROIs for SMEs, Corporations and countries as a whole. You can have the same fate.

– By Kaizer, Cicero & Co.

With the recent revolution acrossthe media industry and emergence of ‘New Media’ platforms or ‘social media’ as is more commonly termed, the world is fast shrinking into a global transmedia network of citizens; It is safe to say the entire human race is now connected by just the click of a button.

The power of New Media is clear and visible in the number of people that can be reached via its numerous platforms and the speed at which information can be disseminated.The interconnectivity and reach of social networks provide avenues through which institutions and organisations explore social inclusiveness, connect with targeted audiences, gather data and remain relevant in their response to the demands and fast-changing needs of the marketplace.

Businesses around the world have been forced to continuously revise marketing strategies, making room for the rising adoption of New Media. Irrespective of the industry, potential customers have been discovered to spend more resources and time on New Media platforms for up-to-date information on products and services as opposed to traditional media like print. This new trajectory has, in turn, revolutionized business advertising as companies and large corporations now recognize the invaluable access New Media provides. Not only are these platforms able to reach a wider spectrum of viewers at a faster rate, but also, unique concepts such as ‘Audience Targeting’ set it apart from other forms customer engagement.

New Media also plays a significant role in governance and social development, creating an invaluable platform for human rights, justice and social reform to thrive.In Nigeria, the ‘Bring Back our Girls’(#BBOG) Movement stands as an important example of how New Media is deployed in tackling issues relating to security and social crises. The 2015 presidential elections in Nigeria provides another example of New Media utilized as an important tool for campaigning and in engaging the electorate.

Just recently, Facebook went under fire for allowing app developers to access personal user data claimed to have been used by a certain company to manipulate voters in the 2016 U.S presidential election. There are also speculations that the same company was engaged to help manipulate the decisions of the voters in the 2015 presidential election in Nigeria and also to influence the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta during the 2017 general elections in Kenya.

Today, public awareness and social activism is also stronger than it ever was, with information circulated and absorbed faster through real time features. In politically volatile and conflict-torn regions of the world, New Media platforms provide activists and protesters with safer and alternative channels to draw global sympathy and raise public awareness behind encrypted walls and via real time features (like Facebook Live). As a result, there is a greater sense of community and involvement across nations as people lend their voices in solidarity and comradery. An example is seen in the global response to the humanitarian crisis in Haiti after the earthquake that claimed hundreds of lives and left many destitute.

In spite of these numerous breakthroughs via New Media, the global south remains plagued with basic connectivity issues that keep the region lagging behind its contemporaries. Internet speed and bandwidth connection across Africa still falls far below the global minimum standard of 10Mbps said to be the minimum speed required by consumers “to fully participate in a digital society” (Ofcom, UK). According to findings by Cable -a broadband, TV and phone comparison firm- which carried out a 63 million-plus broadband speed test across the globe, Nigeria ranked 7th in Africa and 95th in the world with an internet speed of 3.15Mbps. Other African countries are also plagued with issues bordering around connectivity and slow internet access. Despite this trend in the region, a few countries such as Kenya have been able to make giant strides to address this shortcoming with an impressive average of 15mbps. This move has significantly influenced the emergence of improved e-commerce, online banking, e-learning etc. thereby generating enormous social and economic benefits for Kenya.

It is clear that New Media is a central pillar for diverse sectors of the ‘new world’ and to meet its growing demand, corporations and governments need to invest more in technology infrastructure that supports New Media as it has come to stay, and all over the world, it is ‘fait accompli’.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the Spark Magazine. Find the magazine here to read more articles.

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