The potential of Social Media in Myanmar

The following article is a guest post by a Communication Arts student from Myanmar. Thank you very much for the submission. If you also want to submit your opinion, please check our contribution page. Thank you. 

I believe Social Media is the future of communication since a countless array of internet based tools and platforms that increase and enhance the sharing of information. This new form of media makes the transfer of text, photos, audio, video, and information in general increasingly fluid among Internet users. Social Media has a relevance not only for regular Internet users, but business as well.

Platforms like twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin have created online communities where people can share as much or as little personal information as they desire with other members. The result is an enormous amount of information that can be easily shared, searched, promoted, disputed, and created.

Social Bookmarking tools and news sites such as Digg, Delicious, reddit, and countless others make finding specific information, images, or websites increasingly simple by assigning or “tagging” individual sites with searchable key words.

Applications that have developed within and around these platforms, websites, and tools are endless in number and functionality, but all make online sharing and searching easier in some fashion, regardless of their niche. As nearly every type of business has an association in the non-digital world, so too does the internet offer an endless number of niche social communities where members can gather around a common topic. Topics both general and specific now have living homes on the internet; anything from colon and digestive health to security and compliance can do have active social media communities.

The key question now being addressed by an ever growing number of social media “experts” is how to best utilize the unlimited amount of information available from social media sites for business advertising, social good, and who knows what else. One thing is for certain; personal data from social media usage will continue to be tracked and logged for the benefit of any business willing to pay for it, and any company that doesn’t invest in social media now will be playing catch-up in the near future.

In our country, people are isolated from others and living outside the world since half a century ago where strict censorship has been enforced because of the dictatorship. But now, things have changed. Myanmar becomes one of the democratic countries, which is in International’s view possibly not my point of view, and they can now have access to Internet.As the Internet quickly becomes more widely available in Myanmar in recent years, the phenomenon of social media is taking off. With netizens flocking daily to sites such as Facebook, Youtube, Google+, I myself keen to know that where social media belongs in Burmese society. By my knowledge, People in Burma use one of the social media platforms, more Facebook than any others. With thanks, especially to Facebook, people in Burma are accessing more news and information than ever before. For example, many exile media groups including DVB ( Democratic Voice of Burma and BNI ( Burma News International) use social media to send news into the country so that every people who has access to internet could get news in our country.

While there are advantages of a country becoming more connected, some groups are using the web to spread hate speech, arousing religious tensions online. I understand that Social media sites were a reflection of society and human behavior. It is designed by people for people and will show how and what we think and do such as gossiping or spreading rumors. Because of this, social media would brought changes no matter it is good or bad. Meanwhile other people thought social media wouldn’t benefit society because the network could be abused but I believe it could benefit in some other way, as social media is very powerful for every reasons. As a Myanmar, if you look back into our country recently in SEA Games 2013, you will see huge satisfactory in our faces, as it had shown that we could have done it. Now, the government has opened all the windows to our people so that others can see what Myanmar is. As we are living in the era of Informational Technology, Social media plays an important role in it. People give a great coverage on TV as well as Internet.

Social media always brought disadvantages along with benefits in business, politics and even individual philosophy. It also depends on how you think of those sites or is it reliable. I strongly believe Social media is a powerful tool to change a country. But in my opinion, the people of Burma are not using social media but learning how to use it to express their opinions openly for the first time.

But this opening up always has a dark side.

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