How Shifting of Power in the Media World has Changed a Lot
“He spoke to me for like 5 minutes. And he wasn’t even rude”, one of my colleagues excitedly said to me when she spoke on the phone with a media member who was infamous to behave weirdly and often impolite, almost to the point of being bi-polar-ish. But this was eight years back. When the only way we could communicate with media on a daily basis was through calls.
In 2016, we can clearly see the seismic change in the way people communicate with each other. We chat away to glory to people on chat applications while we have not heard their voices in months and definitely not seen them in years. Sometimes that one face-to-face meeting awkwardly happens and we wistfully realise how different we have become- physically, mentally and priority-wise. It often ends with “Let’s do this more often” and we very well know how that goes. We want to accommodate so many people in our lives that we don’t have time to meet each one personally and we assign the same time that we could have invested in one person, to 10 different people on chat groups and have access to 10 different kinds of information.
‘Access to information’ being the operative phrase here. The media industry got their arrogance from exclusive access to data which was not available in public space. And even if it was, it wasn’t decipherable by the ‘lesser mortals’. And let’s say even if they had access, there was no outlet to publish it because it was only meant for the privileged few who worked in newspapers and channels. In today’s time where there are multiple publishing outlets for everyone, we don’t have a limitation in that regard. For instance, some technology blogs are even more well-read than conventional newspapers and sites in that space. It gave a rise to a platoon of self-appointed bloggers and thought leaders who chose to put their opinion out there without depending on someone else to publish it or whet it. Salman Rushdie first novel published when he was 28 and Arundhati Roy’s ‘The God of Small Things’ published when she was 35. Now, if you browse through Amazon books, many writers are 20–21 years old; some of whom are former bloggers. Clearly, they had all the utilities to put out their novel pretty early in their life and publishing houses even backing their endeavour.
The rise of power of self-publishing is across sectors- be it politics, entertainment, social media or marketing. Some of the big ones like Perez Hilton, Pete Cashmore, Casey Neistat, Malini Agarwal, Nikhil Pahwa, Superwoman have really changed the game the way media functions. They made conventional platforms to sit up and take notice, even lure them with acquisition.
Power comes from the realisation of things that you know you’re good at and how it could not be done by others with the same finesse or precision, and eventually making you feel arrogant about it. I often wonder if the same thing would have happened before urban civilisation existed. To hide things from the subjects and making them beg to be provided with any information so that those sitting at the top can feel more powerful and important. Now with everyone having a level playing field with the same access to information instantly via social networks, whats’app groups and blogs, it’s to be seen how things evolve in the coming years. But again, power has shifted to digital influencers and they are certainly not handling it well or let’s say they are taking it the same way conventional media folks took. :)