Web 2.0 has gripped the world like never before and even India has slowly but surely welcomed it. It includes social networking sites like Orkut, Facebook, Twitter etc, blogs, podcasts, wikis like Wikipedia and other such new age media which are making it really easy for people to share, interact and converse online.
India has about 55 million Internet users at this moment. Undoubtedly most of them are in the urban areas. Orkut has about 16 million Indian users, Facebook has some 8 million Indian users, Twitter has about 1.8 million Indians on it, more and more Indians are moving onto YouTube to watch podcasts and also taking to blogging – basically a lot of exciting stuff is happening in the Indian Internet industry. Recently YouTube signed a deal with IPL to show the matches of IPL 3.0 live online. Even though it has received mixed reviews, this initiative is indicative of YouTube’s huge and growing popularity in India. There are also a large number of blogging communities in India including Blogadda, IndiBlogger etc.
Even though this field is developing at a good pace in this country, a lot of people still don’t take this too seriously. Many misconceptions regarding social media and Web 2.0 in general exist in this country. Some people think that its just a pastime, some think that it decreases work hours, some think that it only makes people inactive in all the other work in life while most of the people still don’t think that this media can be used for some useful purposes like by companies and above all, all of them feel that this is another means of decreasing the productivity of people in their work life and their daily chores.
Clearing all the misconceptions, I would like to first state one fact – every new technology or invention has good and bad qualities about itself. The onus is on us to use it for a good enough purpose. Eg : When dynamite was invented, no one thought of the bad effects of it. A lot of Indian organizations like Jet Airways, Spice Jet, Kingfisher, Indigo, Paramount Airways, Tata Docomo, Indian Premier League, Airtel, Pepsi India, Idea etc are using this media to reach out to their customers, prospective customers and also their rival customers. The strategy which they normally follow is to listen to the conversations between people on blogs, social networking sites and other media about their products / services. They then engage the interested customers by contests, promotions, schemes, discounts etc and finally converse with them. Many of these companies have started separate social media divisions to handle the complete online media space. These companies also make videos which are meant to be viral that is they could be spread from one person to two, two to four and so on. Examples of use of social media in our country include the Tata Jaago Re campaign, 26th July 2005 floods in Mumbai, 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, campaigns by different NGOs like GiveIndia etc.
A large number of celebrities like movie stars and other public figures like Harsha Bhogle, Shashi Tharoor, Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai have joined Twitter. The best part about Twitter is the fact that it is like an Online SMS service with 140 characters. Unlike Facebook or Orkut where one has to become a friend of a person to know what he / she is talking about, on Twitter one can just follow a person and read his tweets (conversations). This encourages more of a general conversation on different issues when compared to FB or Orkut which are more towards what’s happening in our friend’s lives, our lives etc. This tool has helped me network with so many different types of individuals. Even LinkedIn which is a professional business networking site has a high number of users in our country. This site is being increasingly used by companies to search for the right people for the right jobs.
But as with any kind of new technology, a large number of people do misuse this media in different ways like having false accounts on different networking sites, fooling people by acting as a guy / gal, luring people into prostitution, sex etc, presence of pedophiles’, causing security issues, wasting time on such websites while at work, spoiling one’s personal and social life due to addiction and other such kind of problems. It’s up to the person to know where to draw the line in such a scenario.
This sector is still at a nascent stage in India and is expected to be the sunshine sector in the coming years as it will require more content writers, social media strategists, executives, social media marketers, web marketers, online marketers etc. Social Media Marketing and Online Marketing are expected to be the next big marketing concepts in our country! Do keep watching this space!!
For more details on Social media and social media in India check out –
(This list is not exhaustive but just indicative)
PS – With this social media revolution, a number of indigenous social media websites have also come up like Ibibo, BigAdda etc!