Gen Y and Connected Consumers – A Study of their Opinion Management in Social Media
2nd International Conference
Business & Information Management
9th and 10th January 2014
Organized By:National Institute Of Technology
Gen Y and Connected Consumers – A Study of their
Opinion Management in Social Media
Social media statistics
59% update their social status in class.
They are 3x as likely to follow a brand over a family member in social networks.
Gen y believes other consumers care more about their opinions than companies
do, which is a reason why they share their opinions in social networks.
India has 60% of Facebook users who are under the age 25, with barely 12% over
the age of 35. Facebook continues to dominate India’s social media landscape
with more than 60 million active users,
India in the third place on the global rankings by number of internet users though
and this number is continuing to rise by at least 1.5 million users per month.
Source- June 2012 IMAI ( International mobile association of India )& social baker & facebook ad planner reports
Reasons for going onlineAccording to TIMES OF INDIA 2012Two reasons for going online in India,
87% say communication, &
67% say social networking.
Characteristics of Internet•
Abruptness which makes it hugely popular among the young generation as
a tool for communication and sharing of opinions.
A free market place of ideas where opinions can be exchanged and discussed,
and thus giving rise to the concept of connected consumers of information.
The concept of public opinion is closely connected to the concept of public
sphere ,which resulted in the rise of the "public" as described by
The two-step flow had become the “dominant paradigm” of media
sociology and one of the earliest theories in opinion generation.
Kotler (1998) defined “opinion leader” as: people who can influence
members in the social community because of special techniques,
knowledge, personalities, and other uniqueness.
The Two Step Flow Theory
1.Information can be transferred not only by
medium but also by interpersonal communication
2. There is an interface between the medium and
the interpersonal communication network, And the
interface is the opinion leader; and
3. The influences of opinion leaders and
information communication and individuals’
decision are far larger
Opinion flow in social media
In case of social media opinion leadership acts in many ways. Christakis and
Fowler (2010) have identified five rules of “life in the network”:
(1) We shape our network,
(2) Our network shapes us,
(3) Our friends affect us,
(4) Our friends' friends' friends affect us, and
(5) The network has a life of its own.
– Trace the rise of social media as a tool for opinion generation.
– How the concept of public opinion and opinion leaders have created
connected consumers of gen Y in social media.
Conduct a survey of 300 random samples from a population which
consisted of Industrial area of Durgapur and a metro city Kolkata, among
the Industry Professionals and young students.
To find out the rise of social media websites as tool for opinion generation,
the researcher performed chi square analysis.
Evolution of social media as a tool for opinion generation
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development names three
basic requirements of user-generated content:
1.The content must be made publicly available,
2. The content creation must involve some creative effort.
3. The content must be created outside of professional routines and practices
Types of social media
Kaplan and Haenlein identified and described six types of social media.
Blogs and micro-blogs,
Social network services,
Virtual game worlds,
Virtual social worlds:
Social media presence and disclosure through networking
Opinion formation through networking in social media
Honeycomb of the seven building
blocks as developed by Kietzmann et
Most of the respondents were between age 17- 25 years who used social
media. Almost all of the respondents answered unanimously on the usage
of facebook, LinkedIn and twitter as the primary tool for communication
and also for opinion sharing on various issues.
On their time of usage most of the respondents answered between 2- 3 hrs
daily, while the least said less than 30 mins
Q1. How often do you consult social media sites for your need?
Q2. How often do you believe these social networking sites?
Q3. How often do you give your opinions on various issues in social media websites?
Q4. How often do you typically feel that these social media websites have helped you in
your opinion formation on various issues?
Q5. Opinion management has become an important tool in social media- what 9s your
Q6. How often opinion leaders have helped you in taking decisions in social media?
The Opinion on usage of social media platforms
Opinion sharing on issues like recent nomination of Modi as the future prime
minister, results of the Delhi rape case, price hike of onion and petrol and its
future impact on the economy has been the most discussed topic. Even
marketing related issues like opinion about a particular product or service has
been discussed before using them.
The respondents were divided on usage of social media platforms as many told
that they believed social media sites like facebook and LinkedIn as they relied
more on friends and referrals whereas many others pointed out they relied
more on blogs and micro blogs as they felt it gave a neutral point of view.
When asked who do they think are the opinion leaders in social media sites,
they said they feel that although many are from their personal contacts but
there decisions in many cases have been influenced by various experts in a
particular domain, or reviews online or even chatting with the company or
marketing heads through skype.
The opinion on opinion leaders
Somewhere the opinion leaders, who are mostly faceless, have been
successful in influencing their decisions.
Many visited company websites too to get an opinion.
Many respondents said that they too gave an opinion after the use of the
product so that the other users too get an idea.
Many respondents have even seen the number of likes on a particular issue
and had considered it as an opinion.
The respondents praised the concept of Times of India whereby people
gain points on commenting on various issues and are given names like
wordsmith, influencer, leader etc based on their acceptance of opinions
among the readers
Positively affecting factors like sentiments about the business, loyalty and
propensity to trial new products eaders and so on.
Chi-square Analysis of the result.
Value of chi square
A chi square analysis was done where the expected and the observed value
of use of social media .was calculated. The expected value of 300 random
samples was found to be 60. And the value of chi square at 5% level of
significance with 4 degrees of freedom was found to be 9.488. The
researcher has analyzed that if the value of chi square of each responses
comes out to be more than 9.488, the results will show a positive indication
towards the rise of social media websites as tool for opinion generation.
Though opinion sharing is highly popular among the young generation
through social media and the reliability quotient is also high; but the
concept of opinion leaders in social media is yet to gain acceptance.
Presented By: Mou Mukherjee Das
Journalism and Mass Communication.
Aliah University, Kolkata.