India has the third largest number of Facebook users in the world, according to‘Inside Facebook Gold’s 2011’.
Although the number of users, placed at 34.6 million, is negligible compared to the country’s total population of more than 1.2 billion, the market is growing fast, it said.
“The growth rate of Indian users is 162.4% second only to that of Brazil. Statistics show that the social networks and Facebook in particular would continue to grow.”
US and Indonesia occupy the first and second spots respectively.
Samir Parikh, chief psychiatrist at the Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences department of Max Healthcare, however, denied that this boom was a country specific phenomenon limited to India.
“The growth of Facebook has been universal across the globe. In India, the higher growth rates come from the much recent increase in accessibility of internet,” he said, speaking to India Abroad News Service.
He said social networking sprouted from people’s intrinsic need to stay and feel connected.
“It is all about communication,” he said.
For Facebook loyalists, the two biggest draws are connectivity and easy accessibility.
Delhi based IT professional and long-time Facebook user Vinesh Nagpal said that the social network lets him stay in touch with his old college friends.
Computer programmer Yogesh Kumar of Pune said, “I use Facebook for networking; it also keeps me in touch with friends.”
Rituparna Borah of Assam said Facebook allowed her to maintain contacts with her childhood friends and other acquaintances.
The fact that Facebook is now multilingual and available in regional Indian languages like Punjabi and Bengali, combined with the rapid increase in the number of Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) and smart phones in India can only mean a bright future for Facebook in the country.
The main competition to Facebook’s dominance over Indian social networks comes from Orkut and Google Plus. But many consider Orkut outdated, while Google’s latest offering is yet to take off.
“Orkut’s interface started getting a bit too cluttered and a lot of spam in the network drove me away, although I used to be on Orkut for several years after launch of Facebook,” said Raghav Tuli who accesses Facebook on his smart-phone more frequently than the computer.
Source: India Abroad News Servic