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The Changing Face Of Communication In The New Digital Era: ‘National Cyber

Media Conclave ‘09’

Rajalakshmi Regunathan
Media Trainee, Batch’09
Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication

Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication organized its first National Cyber Media
Conclave (NCMC) on the 28th of March at the Institute’s Lavale campus, situated in the
outskirts of Pune. New media is an emerging trend in the digital age that is changing the
face of social expression and content publishing. The media seminar delved into the
various aspects of new media, including the reach and benefits of this medium and the
marketing opportunities that it offers.

“My friend Suman Kumar started a blog on technical writing, he went on to get three job
offers without even lifting a finger and today earns about over a lakh at Oracle!”
exclaimed Kiruba Shankar, CEO, The Knowledge Foundation, the first speaker of the
seminar, stressing on the potency and power of new media in the revolutionary digital
era. The veteran blogger spoke on “Maximising the social media content” and kept the
audience glued to their seats with his interesting anecdotes and true life experiences
involving new media. In Kiruba’s opinion social networking forums like Twitter, Face
Book and the numerous Blogging sites are strong mediums of public expression and tools
of social consciousness. Kiruba’s high energy talk laid out the platform for the audience
to engage in an interactive session on the importance of blog-o-sphere and the space
created by the new age digital prophets (i.e. the bloggers) in using cyber media to
propagate social issues.

Journalist and nationally renowned blogger Shivam Vij explored “The relationship
between mainstream media and social media”. Vij spoke about the myth that new media
is perceived as continuously replacing the old media and emphasized that both the media
are complimentary to each other. Citing the example of Tsunami health blogs and the
Global voices online media, Vij explained that new media and traditional main stream
media are to be used in congruence with each other to attain maximum benefit.
According to Mr. Shivam Vij, Campaigns like the “Pink Chaddhi” and movements like
citizen journalism which are vastly new media based, prove the need for convergence of
mainstream public opinion and cyber media generated content for the success of a social
campaign.

Shiv Bhaskar Dravid, the founder of Views, elaborated on media’s role as the fourth
estate and the journey of media from being a medium of expression to a tool of
manipulation of public opinion. He pointed out that the arrival of internet media curbed
the manipulation and encouraged individual opinion, or what he called “content
generated by public”. “Cyber media presents us with the opportunity to witness real time
news, unlike mainstream which exposes us to deferred news” Shiv explained. Shiv
emphasized that the growing power of mobile telephony as a potential media and the
economically viable nature of new media are slowly changing the face of public opinion
generation.

Jasmeen Bhatheja, the founder of the “Blank Noise” project unveiled the new facets of
cyber digital media through her experiences in dealing with sexual harassment – a
mission stated by Blank Noise. Ms. Bhateja explained that cyber media can be used to
define street sexual harassment and similar issues can be discussed on blogs to add
credibility to the efforts of social campaigns like Blank Noise. She also spoke about the
“I never asked for it” campaign which was yet another digital media based effort to curb
female sexual abuse. The morning session concluded on the summarizing note that cyber
media is a powerful tool of social content and communication and will is slowly evolving
in its role as a public opinion generator.

The theme for the afternoon was “Emergence of the web as a medium for branding and
marketing”. The speakers were Mr. Rajesh Lalwani, Founder and Director at Scenario
Consultancy Private Limited- Pitchh.com, Atul Chitnis, Senior Vice President of
Geodesic Solutions, Namit Bimbhat, and CEO of Switch Technologies, J Mahadevan,
VP- Products, Bharatmatrimony.com and Rashmi Dhanwani, Founder of the Bell Bajao
Campaign.

Mr. Lalwani expressed his views on the dynamics of marketing and the changing face of
communication using cyber media. He pointed out the effectiveness of internet in the new
age of digital communication as explained the use of Internet as a tool of Marketing.
Ms. Rashmi Dhanwani, Marketing Manager of Bell Bajao campaign, spoke on the use of
internet as a tool for publicity and mobilization. Her much acclaimed “Bell Bajao 360”
campaign was aimed at eradicating Domestic Violence through the use of the cyber
media, Dhanwani shared her experiences with the audience on the publicity that new
media helped generate for the campaign.

Mr. Namit Bimbhat, CEO, Switch Media Services India Pvt. Ltd. shared his views on the
evolving face of online video. He expressed his ideas on how online videos were a
lucrative prospect for educational institutes, destination portals, travel, radio portals and
broadcasters to reach out to a wider and more relevant audience. He stressed on the
opportunity for video enhancement in context with the cyber medium.

The next speaker Mr. J Mahadevan, VP – Products, bharatmatrimony.com expressed his


views on online customer acquisition & retention dynamics and the importance of
connecting with the cyber users to attract consumers. He insisted that it was necessary to
“speak the online language” to be on the same frequency as the cyber media users. “You
need to keep your messages simple, sensible, enjoyable, relevant and yet scream worthy.”
Mr. Mahadevan pointed out in explaining the need to communicate efficiently to the
netizens of cyber media.
The session’s last speaker was Mr. Atul Chitnis, Senior VP, Geodesic Information
Systems, who elaborated on the significance of open source software across web products
(web browser, e-books, multi-media players, Apple iPod etc). Mr. Chitnis ended on the
note that open source is a tool that depends on collaborative effort and helps produce
softwares and applications through the combined effort of the public. The session was
followed by a workshop on social media by Mr. Rajesh Lalwani, and a competition
involving presentation of business plans in the cyber medium, titled ‘Web Wunderkind’.
The involvement of the audience was in abundance. The National Cyber Media Conclave
was brought to a close with an overview by the Director of SIMC, Mr. Ujjwal Kumar
Chowdhury. The seminar was a grand success and proved as an interactive and effective
public platform to discuss the merits of cyber media, which is slowly emerging as the
face of integrated new age communication.