About INgene blog : First ever Indian Youth trend Insights blog

About INgene : First ever Indian Youth trend Insights blog:
This blog explores the detailed characteristics of Young-India and explains the finer & crucial differences they have with their global peers. The blog also establishes the theory of “adopted differentiation” (Copyright Kaustav SG,2007) and how the Indian & Inglodian youth are using this as a tool to differentiate themselves from the “aam aadmi” (mass population of India) to establish their new found identity.

The term youth refers to persons who are no longer children and not yet adults. Used colloquially, however the term generally refers to a broader, more ambiguous field of reference- from the physically adolescent to those in their late twenties.
Though superficially the youth all over the world exhibits similar [degree of] attitude, [traits of] interests & [deliverance of] opinion but a detailed observation reveals the finer differential characteristics which are crucial and often ignored while targeting this group as a valued consumer base. India is one of the youngest countries in the world with 60% of its population less then 24 years of age and is charted as the most prospective destination for the retail investment in the A. T. Kearney’s Global Retail Opportunity Report, 2007. With the first ever non-socialistic generation’s thriving aspiration & new found money power combined with steadily growing GDP, bubbling IT industry and increasing list of confident young entrepreneurs, the scenario appears very lucrative for the global and local retailers to target the “Youngisthan” (young-India). But, the secret remains in the understanding of the finer AIOs of this generation. The Indian youth segment roughly estimates close to 250million (between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five) and can be broadly divided (socio-psychologically) into three categories: the Bharatiyas, the Indians & the Inglodians (copyright Kaustav SG 2008). The Bharatiyas estimating 67% of the young population lives in the rural (R1, R2 to R4 SEC) areas with least influence of globalization, high traditional values. They are least economically privileged, most family oriented Bollywood influenced generation. The Indians constitute 31.5% (A, B,C, D & E SEC) and have moderate global influence. They are well aware of the global trends but rooted to the Indian family values, customs and ethos. The Inglodians are basically the creamy layers (A1,A SEC) and marginal (1.5% or roughly three million) in number though they are strongly growing (70% growth rate). Inglodians are affluent and consume most of the trendy & luxury items. They are internet savvy & the believers of global-village (a place where there is no difference between east & west, developing & developed countries etc.), highly influenced by the western music, food, fashion & culture yet Indian at heart.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Selfie : the power of neo-independence

Though the word Selfie is derived from “self” (a reason why selfies are linked with narcissism) but to me it also has a significant connection with “See Life”, a way to express one’s life, lifestyle and moments of living via social media. In past, had we never being obsessed with the new found beauty among ourselves, especially during adolescence? Had we never stood in front of mirror for hours? Even the step mom of Snow-white was ‘self obsessed”! Well, ‘we’ grew in an era where technology was not accessible to all (especially electronics and gadgets); otherwise, the witch-mom would have used photoshop (or access cosmetic surgery) to ‘makeover’ her image rather than hunting for her step daughter.  Moreover, there was no way to show off self (virtually, without the help of others) and anyway ‘showing off’ was considered as ‘bad manners’ (that’s why the step mom in snow white and seven dwarfs story was portrayed as a ‘vamp’) ! Imagine what a freedom it is to boost the self confidence by capturing yourself (independently) and being appreciated for appearing ‘really confident’. I don’t buy the argument that selfie is an expression of growing narcissism among youth. The selfies are instant , personal, and authentic (not made up). Selfies are fun and participatory. It captures a moment in ‘real’ and brings in an opportunity where the viewer can be part of a story, instantly. Selfies are meant to be shared. Selfies are playful. Selfies challenge social restrictions, inhibitions, gender biasness, norms about portraiture and many more.  Though Selfies are categorized based on their appeal and significance but most of the selfies are taken to ‘capture a significant moment’. Whether it’s a moment of love (‘love selfie’), a visit to dream destination, self expression (breaking the self barrier like the mustache selfie by ‘Teena’, 13years, who was otherwise socially introvert revived her self confidence when she received 150 likes in Facebook from friends and family members), boosting the friendship and exhibiting togetherness (‘dosti selfies’), remembering moments from past (‘memory lane selfies’) and supporting a cause (ie. kissing same gender friends to support LGBT movement and protest the imposition of Sec.377). other selfies are ‘post workout selfie’ (who doesn’t love their muscles?), ‘groupie selfie’ (during the shows and concerts), ‘duck face selfie’ or ‘silly selfie’(with ‘kiss the screen’ expression), ‘acquiring the newest selfie’ (after buying the newest phone, bike or car), “celeb selfie’ (to capture the accidental meet with a celebrity), ‘changing room selfie’ (well, I don’t want to buy it, but what’s wrong in taking a photo!), ‘brat selfies’ (doing things that I am not supposed to do!) et cetera.

According to a new analysis by SelfieCity  who has studied more than 3,000 self-portraits, the self-directed photos can actually reveal cultural stereotypes, and behavioural preferences in different cities around the world. Some of the discoveries include the fact that women take more selfies than men, and those in São Paulo hold the camera much higher than other women around the world. Younger people are more likely to take selfies than adults, while men in Moscow are also less likely to smile than anywhere else on the planet.

                                                     Photo source: Debanjali Haldar

Dr. Pamela B. Rutledge is in opinion that selfies are a great tool for instant visual storytelling which keeps one connected with his/ her social circle. She added ‘Selfies are self-centered. That’s the point. Otherwise we wouldn’t call them selfies. Selfies let you experience being both the photographer and the subject. You are mugging for yourself; you are celebrating yourself; you are experiencing yourself… You are in control of both sides. That’s pretty significant and quite new… Humans have long demonstrated an interest in self-exploration.  From early Greeks to present day, people have used self-study and self-observation to explore identity and sense of self.  Some view these (the selfie) self-created self-portraits as proof of cultural—or at least generational— narcissism and moral decline.  I, on the other hand, view them as a by-product of technology-enabled self-exploration… It is not new phenomenon.The selfies started appearing on the photo-sharing site Flickr and on MySpace back in 2004, but camera phones, especially those with front and back lens action, have made taking selfies faster and easier than ever”.

                                              Photo source : Facebook / Oyindrila Ghosh Roy

For youth in India, selfies are an excellent tool to virtually deal with the paradox of family bondage and self-expression. Rohith (18 years) stated it rightly, ‘why the hell posting selfie is considered as narcissism? Selfie is my self expression, independence, wickedness and an instant connectivity that allows my friends to be part of my ‘momentary fun’ without depending on others.  Yes, I want to be independent and obviously like to see me in different avatars, without affecting my parent’s social stature.” Debanjali (20 years) added “Selfies are definitely a tool of self expression, u decide how u want to express yourself through the pic and you handle the device at your own will.... Makes u feel more in control of the way u depict yourself…”. Mayadhara Das is in opinion that Selfies also represent one's alter-ego and self realization.

As Ted Polhemus has mentioned “We are the only species which consciously, deliberately alters its appearance. This has been true throughout human history and will always be so because bodily expression can communicate things which words never can”, let selfies be a tool to express such ‘visual consciousness of being human’ independently and a continuous celebration of remaining ‘real’ in this age of ‘made ups’.

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