The world of social media is fast gripping the world’s largest democracy, becoming an integral part of a tech savvy Indian’s daily routine of staying in touch with friends to getting business done, despite the country’s poor infrastructure and internet connectively.
India still has a long way to go as far as internet access and speeds go, with basic utilities such as a continuous electricity supply being a rare privilege for many.
As India’s billion-person emerging economy continues to grow, the reach of the internet is expanding. For many, internet and social media are a “way of life,” and due to India's huge population, websites in India have a large subscriber base and consequently a bigger audience.
According to Socialbakers, a social media statistics firm, India stands third in the world in terms of social media use. India accounted for more than 12 million users on LinkedIn this August, which makes up roughly one-tenth of the networking site’s subscriber base.
From consumer products to Bollywood movies, promotions through social media are inevitable. Be it posters for the recent Bollywood movie Ra One or the local Indian designer’s boutique, selling products on social media is becoming inevitable.
“Over the last year, businesses have either proactively adopted social media in their plans or have got a shock that got them to take note of this medium seriously,” says Amit Bhartiya, general manager of Mobile & ViziSense at Komli Media India
According to Vizisense, India’s online audience measurement and analytics platform, Facebook and Orkut top the ranks among the social media websites in the country, followed by Twitter and LinkedIn.
“Most have realized that social media has changed the rules of the game where brands would rely on traditional media to facilitate one-way interactions,” added Bhartiya.
For a larger section of urban youth, smart phones are the way to keep them in touch with everything in their neighborhood and the world.
Amol Dethe, a 29-year-old journalist from India says he couldn’t agree more. “Keeping tab on the biggies in my beat was never so easy,” Dethe said. “Many crucial announcements are made on twitter and it definitely makes life easy.”
This year has so far turned out to be the “year of scams” for India. Various anti-corruption campaigns in support of Anna Hazare, the social activist against corruption, were launched online through Twitter and Facebook and were quite successful.
The India Against Corruption page has more than half a million subscribers, raising youth awareness to sticky corruption stories and added to the success of such anti-corruption initiatives in the country.
Since cabs and auto rickshaws are an important part of commute for most urban Indians, “meter jam” a social media campaign, played a big role in setting things right between the cab drivers and commuters. With less cabs and auto rickshaws on the road, it turned out that commuters were being cheated on fares or were taken for a “ride” more often than not. Social media spread helped curb this practice as commuters fixed days when they refused cabs.
So, India is getting “social” on the net, and the country offers a big market out there for those wanting to spread their wings in the emerging economy.
Photo Credit: paulswansen