In the good old days, some of us
used to pick up the morning #newspaper
to read the latest news, whether it was on #politics, #sports, local
development or #business.
The more voracious readers amongst us spent their time reading the Edit page
where senior journalists and writers penned their views.
#Entertainment was limited to hearing songs on
and entertainment on #television
were primarily confined to #Doordarshan
which was, looking back, so primitive in its presentation.
Then came a time when the
restricted television space in India was thrown open to private parties.
Information and entertainment came in like a deluge and I remember my
generation (I am in my late 50s) could not believe it. With economic
liberalisation in 1991, came dramatic changes. I was in my late 20s when I saw
a different world through these new television channels. Even then, the news
was still broadcast in a dignified and mature manner.
Then came #Google. It helped
you to find any information around the world with a simple click of the mouse
on your computer. #Socialmedia
sites followed within a decade or so with #Facebook, #Twitter, #YouTube and #Instagram. All
rules of good old reporting were tossed out of the window. While television
channels started going berserk with their “Breaking News”, social media sites
delivered news and views at the speed of light!
Like the great Indian “#guru” or the
foreign televangelist with his or her multitude of followers, both foreign and
Indian, social media users came to be recognised for their followers, likes,
views and the fancy blue tick (in the case of Twitter). You could buy your
followers, pay to get more views, pay to get likes, and eventually land up with
a proverbial blue tick. It was as though nothing else mattered in this world
except for your social media standing.
That’s where some old school
journalists lost out big time. Suddenly they realised they had become redundant
in a system that did not bother about the veracity of news, but the velocity
with it could reach millions of people, however insignificant those millions
could be! That brings me to my profession- that of an auto journalist.
Today, all an auto company needs to
do is have its own Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts and then pay up and
get all that they want…their followers, likes, views and the tiny little blue
tick. Why send out their press releases to a bunch of #journos or #influencers? Why
get their vehicle reviewed by some bloke and spend insane money? Just get a
smart team of corporate communication guys and girls and buy your way into all
these social media channels (in fact, that is the norm today).
Pray, why do companies even bother
to entertain auto journalists and influencers? Maybe, it’s for the kicks!! Or
is there a “Car of the Year” or “Bike of the Year” award hidden
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