I saw the #socialmedia
tsunami coming but could never fathom its intensity. It was around 2004-2005
when platforms like #youtube
, etc were born. Much later #instagram
came into being. #tiktok
came in as late as 2016 and when the app was banned in India, other platforms
copied its format and sent the world in a tizzy.
It was many years ago at a #motorsport event
at the race track in Chennai that I first saw an “Influencer” up close. I was
shooting in the hot sun along with my cameraperson, trying to figure out more
about the sport, I saw a young girl in shorts almost crooning in front of a
stationary race car. For a moment I thought she was a model or an entertainer
of sorts. I was told she had a social media account with around 25,000
followers. Her job was to simply pose and utter something that really did not
matter. She was an “Influencer”.
Soon, social media platforms became
a powerful tool for everyone. Whether you are a newspaper, a magazine, a
television channel, a radio channel, you just cannot get popular today without
posting regularly on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Every news that
is written or broadcast has to be mentioned on these platforms, or else your
reach remains absolutely zero. Once upon a time, the best a company could do
was have its own website. Today a website is like your pyjama, it does not
matter whether you wear it or sleep naked!
With the growth of #YouTubers, the
relevance of auto journalists hit rock bottom. Forget about auto journalism and
auto enthusiasm, today it’s a world full of entertainers, smart boys and girls,
scholars, enthusiasts, psychos, idiots, clowns, fakes and nutcases. Auto
companies started inviting influencers along with “journalists” for their
drives and junkets. There is also a“Boost” button on every platform, which
means you can buy your views, followers, likes and all kinds of appreciation
A CEO of a leading auto company in
India is so hooked on to Twitter that whatever he writes, however banal and
nonsensical it is, it becomes front-page news. Money can do wonders when it
comes to publicity. I have often wondered whether this madness for “views” has
benefitted auto companies. In contrast, auto sales have been tepid for years. #Daewoo, #GeneralMotorsIndia,
and several others have left India. Many global auto majors are bleeding. Yet,
their obsession for likes and views remain insatiable.
Social media has made us into
brilliant entertainers. The popular YouTuber Casey Neistat is right when he
sings, “Do What You Can’t”. This song has inspired me a lot.
YouTube has emerged as a great
employment provider. There is nothing wrong with being an influencer or a
YouTuber or an entertainer. At least there is no pretence here, like the way it
was always there in auto journalism! Let me dedicate my nine posts on
LinkedIn to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine. Man, you have balls!!
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