Social media has developed so fast we don’t know how to handle it
KARACHI: You may casually fling your BlackBerry on your bed or absentmindedly leave it on the dressing table, but according to Masood Hashmi, the CEO of Orientm McCann Erickson, the device was worth half a city hundreds of years ago.
Hashmi was one of the many guest speakers invited to a seminar on Tuesday titled ‘Swiss Knife of Social Media’. The event was organised by Navitus, a private management consultancy and training firm. The idea behind it was to bring together experts on the subject on a single platform. The host, Navitus’ Adil Hasan, intermittently chanted the slogan ‘saath rahay ga sari life, swiss knife, swiss knife’ (it will stay with you all through your life, swiss knife, swiss knife), hoping that it would catch on.
Hashmi was the first speaker and discussed the history and development of social media. “This is a fantastic age to live in. The media has developed so fast that we don’t even know how to handle it.” Hashmi emphasised that people take social media and technology for granted. “If you would have given a BlackBerry to the king of Delhi hundreds of years ago, he would have given you half of the city.”
Hashmi said that social media has razed age barriers: a 5-year-old can talk to an 85-year-old hundreds of miles away. International marketing horizons have also been expanded. “If you have an idea, you can sell it no matter where you are in the world.” For instance, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan capitalised on Facebook and Youtube to launch his political career and promote himself as a leader.
He also explained that old mediums could coexist with new ones. “The first newspaper was published in 1830. After that, when the radio came along, people thought that was the end of newspapers. And in 1982 when the internet came, people thought that was the end of radios. But all three mediums were able to coexist.” Towards the end of his speech, Hashmi said, “Nothing [in my speech] was original. It has all been taken from social media forums.”
The next speaker, Time and Space Media’s digital media manager, Yusuf Rashid, also talked about the salience of social meida. “You can’t approach a new world with an old strategy and social media is the world.” He also spoke about the importance of content and strategy while using social media to advertise brands.
Rounding up the morning half of the seminar, Adnan Ali talked about ROI, which in the social media circle stands for ‘return on involvement’ – the benefits accrued from being active on online forums. “Unfortunately, analytical experience needed to expand social media in Pakistan is lacking.”